News and Updates 

4/27/20

Gov. Jared Polis released a new public health order and shared additional resources regarding the Safer At Home phase.

 

The Governor and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new online resource for Coloradans. For more information about the Safer At Home phase visit here

 

Read the Frequently Asked Questions document here and the Public Health Order here

 

Read the Executive Order here. The Safer at Home Executive Order is set to expire 30 days from April 27 but can be amended or extended at any time. Changes happening during Safer at Home will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1 and May 4. 

4/26/20

Gov. Polis today issued Executive Orders on Safer at Home, the New Normal Advisory Board, and Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and Procedures. 

 

“Together, Coloradans have been effective in leveling and flattening the curve, but life will remain much more dangerous than usual these next few months and we should all wear masks when in public. Safer at Home is by no means a free-for-all. My administration has acted boldly in the face of this pandemic and is focused on ensuring our state can endure on the trail ahead. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and must find a way of living that is psychologically and economically sustainable for Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis.

 

The Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 outlines a new level in Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more Coloradans to return to work. The Executive Order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27, 2020, but can be amended or extended at any time. 

 

Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible, and the Executive Order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary. 

 

Changes happening during Safer at Home will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1, and May 4. 

 

Monday, April 27

Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery. Real estate home showings can resume. Voluntary or elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols.  

 

Friday, May 1

Retail businesses can phase-in a public opening if they are implementing best practices. 

 

Personal services can open if they are implementing best practices.

 

Monday, May 4

Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity, if best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements. 

 

Colorado is a diverse state and the Governor knows each community will have different needs. The Safer at Home order outlines the options local governments will have when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities. 

  • Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer at Home to match the State.

  • Local governments can go further than the State, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.

  • Local governments can relax guidelines more than the State. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction, and elected leadership.

 

Read the Safer at Home Executive Order here

 

The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 045, which will allow medical, dental, and veterinary voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to resume as long as the health care facility or other setting is following the required safety protocols as set out in the Executive Order. This goes into effect Monday, April 27, 2020. Under this Executive Order, facilities performing these procedures must establish a plan to reduce or stop voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which they are located. CDPHE will determine the conditions that constitute a surge. Read the Executive Order here.

 

Earlier this week, Gov. Polis announced the New Normal Advisory Board. The Board will advise the Governor and CDPHE on coordinating and harmonizing policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. The Board shall focus particularly on how local jurisdictions and local public health agencies can coordinate with the State on public education efforts that aim to maximize compliance and enforcement efforts for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Executive Order B 2020 002 here

 

Gov. Polis will hold a news conference tomorrow on the State’s response to COVID-19. 

4/24/20

Gov. Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19. 

 

“The Safer-at-Home phase is not a return to normal,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This is merely transitioning to a more sustainable level of social distancing that we are going to have to maintain for the long haul -- likely months. We need to wear facial masks when in public and observe the safety guidelines at local businesses. This is difficult for everyone but we are in this together and we will get through it together. The next few weeks are even more important than the last few.”

 

Gov. Polis today announced that he would be creating an advisory board to support coordination across multiple jurisdictions on compliance and enforcement for Safer-at-Home with the goal of maximizing social distancing compliance. It will be specifically focused on how local governments and local public health can coordinate with the state on educating the public about these regulations, and maximizing compliance and enforcement efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The Governor thanked the Colorado National Guard for assisting three senior living facilities in Colorado Springs, Broomfield, and Thornton with testing for staff and residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Nearly 900 tests were administered, and of those tests, 20 were positive. The State will continue to work with these and other senior living facilities in coordination with local public health officials to protect this vulnerable population.   

 

Gov. Polis also issued guidance regarding permitting and service of telecommunications for State executive departments and agencies, municipalities, counties, and telecommunications providers within the State concerning how to safely and efficiently permit and deploy technology to keep Coloradans connected during the Safer at Home phase of the pandemic. Read the full guidance here

4/23/20

Gov. Polis today extended two Executive Orders as part of Colorado’s response to COVID-19. 

 

The Governor extended an Executive Order authorizing certain State agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date for certain licenses and other documents to limit in-person renewals and enable state agencies to better respond to COVID-19. This includes state park passes and licenses for health care facilities, Medicaid and CHIP providers, commercial drivers, and more. Read the full Executive Order here

 

In addition, the Governor amended and extended an Executive Order that suspends certain statutes concerning criminal justice to provide the Colorado Department of Corrections with discretion to combat the spread of COVID-19 in State prisons. Read the full Executive Order here

4/17/20

Gov. Jared Polis today provided an update to Coloradans on the state’s response to COVID-19 and discussed more stringent guidance for long-term care facilities to protect some of Colorado’s most vulnerable.

 

“With so many vulnerable individuals and frontline health care staff in close contact, we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our state’s most vulnerable Coloradans and stop the spread of the virus within long-term care facilities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We can’t thank Coloradans enough for their efforts to stay home and protect themselves and their neighbors, but we have to keep it up. I know how difficult this is for many people and I assure Coloradans that we’ll get through this together.”

 

The Governor and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an updated public health order that will require long-term care facilities to create a detailed isolation plan and submit it to CDPHE for review by May 1. The state will also be more focused on enforcement and compliance of the public health order, as well as providing more education and training to staff to keep these vulnerable communities safe. Critical protocols include restricting visitation to these facilities and requiring facilities to screen staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 before they come to the facility. The Governor shared a video today on how to best conduct screenings. 

 

Gov. Polis also announced that he is deploying the Colorado National Guard to conduct testing at the three largest nursing homes in the state, and we will be deploying additional testing and human resources to other facilities as needed. By early May, the state expects there will be 200 beds in Tier 3 facilities like the Denver Convention Center for isolation of seniors if their facilities can not provide these beds with a proper level of isolation.

 

Gov. Polis also signed an Executive Order to further protect workers and residents in these facilities, as well as many other critical industries. Executive Order D 2020 039 orders workers at critical businesses to wear non-medical face coverings while at work and wear gloves (if gloves are provided by an employer) when in contact with customers or goods. 

 

The Governor also announced the first round of grants from the COVID Relief Fund. Help Colorado Now has received $21 million in grant applications and will be disbursing $4.8 million during the first round of grants to 206 organizations from 62 of 64 Colorado counties. Currently, the fund is at $12.2 million including $1.3 million from almost 7,000 donors. 

 

Beginning on Monday, April 20, gig workers and independent contractors can begin applying for unemployment insurance. In addition, $600 per week in extra federal unemployment insurance from the CARES Act will start to show up in checks this week. For more details, visit Coloradoui.gov. The Governor also highlighted the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade for their quick work in getting Colorado businesses access to the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans for businesses that use the money on payroll. Colorado received the 12th most grants out of all 50 states from the program. 

 

In response to data released earlier this week, Gov. Polis today established the COVID Health Equity Response Team to address racial inequities regarding positive cases and deaths related to COVID-19. This Response Team will:

  • Ensure equity as a factor in decision-making around logistics and resources,

  • Increase access to testing and care services,

  • Ensure racial and ethnicity COVID-19 data are accessible, transparent and used in decision-making,

  • And share time-sensitive information about how Colorado communities are experiencing particular challenges related to the COVID-19 response.

 

This team will be headed by Web Brown, the Director of the Office of Health Equity at CDPHE.

 

To view the Governor’s presentation click here

 

Watch the Governor’s news conference here

 

To volunteer visit HelpColoradoNow.org

 

To stay up to date, visit COVID19.Colorado.gov

 

To learn more about unemployment insurance, visit coloradoui.gov 

 

To view the health screening demonstration, click here

4/15/20

Gov.  Polis took additional action today in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and signed two Executive Orders. 

 

Executive Order D 2020 038 provides hospitals and health care providers more flexibility to expand the trained medical personnel available to provide health care services within inpatient facilities in response to COVID-19. 

 

Executive Order D 2020 037 temporarily suspends statute concerning fire bans in order to provide boards of county commissioners with broader discretion and greater flexibility to implement restrictions on open burning. This will enable fire firefighters and other first responders to participate in the COVID-19 response efforts throughout the State. 

4/14/40

Gov. Jared Polis today signed two Executive Orders to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

 

The Governor signed Executive Order D 2020 035, amending Orders D 2020 007 and D 2020 021, which supports emergency child care for essential workers and temporarily suspends certain statutes, enabling schools and school districts to focus on delivering instruction and student services. Read the Executive Order here

 

The Governor also signed D 2020 036 extending Executive Order D 2020 005, as amended by Executive Order D 2020 008, which limits in-person contact for the 2020 elections and the secretary of state’s operations. The Executive Order is extended by an additional 30 days. Read the Executive Order here

4/10/240

Gov. Polis Provides Update on Response to COVID-19 at Colorado Convention Center

 

DENVER - Gov. Polis was joined by public health officials and members of the Army Corps of Engineers today at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19, to present and observe the construction being completed at the facility. 

 

“I come from the private sector, so convention centers were always places where we showcased our business and products and participated in commerce. If Coloradans are staying at home, wearing masks, it’s our hope that the facility will not have to be used or will be less used. The conversion of the Colorado Convention Center is an important step in creating more capacity in our health care system as part of our response to COVID-19,” said Governor Polis. “It will help protect Colorado’s ability to treat the most seriously sick by allowing hospitals to move less serious cases to the convention center and therefore make critical care available for those who need it most.”

 

Last week the Governor provided an update on the four-tier system that will ensure hospitals can provide the appropriate level of care to patients and handle the coming surge. The Colorado Convention Center will be a Tier 3 facility, meaning it will care for ambulatory sub-acute care patients. 

 

Work on the site began 48 hours ago, construction is ongoing and the majority of the workers are Coloradans. The Colorado Convention Center will be able to accommodate nearly 2,000 patients. These facilities will have the capability to treat cases that are recovering from critical care but aren’t able to return home, while hospitals can focus their attention and resources on those who are more critically ill. The facility at the Convention Center is expected to be operational in late April. 

 

If Coloradans are staying at home, wearing masks, it’s the state’s hope that the facility will not have to be used or will be less used. The Governor noted that the state is establishing a similar alternate care site in Loveland at the Ranch complex. 

 

The Governor mourned the loss of 21-year-old Cody Lyster, a baseball player at Colorado Mesa University and 13-year-old Charlotte Figi, a brave advocate for medical cannabis who passed away due to complications stemming from an illness that experts say was likely COVID-19. The Governor reminded Coloradans that this virus affects everyone differently and we all need to take it seriously and protect ourselves and others, especially vulnerable folks like 60+ and immuno-compromised. 

 

The Governor encouraged Coloradans to visit stayathomeco.colorado.gov which links to free resources that support Coloradans to stay at home, from wellness to critical services, to education, to entertainment, and so much more. If Coloradans know of free resources that all Coloradans with an internet connection can access that promote a positive stay-at-home culture and if it fits with our page, the state will add it to the webpage because the webpage gets better the more Coloradans engage with it.

 

The Governor also pointed out that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Division of Housing (DOH) awarded more than $1.9 million of emergency assistance to 19 agencies to serve low-income Coloradans in need of emergency rental and mortgage assistance due to economic hardship due to COVID-19.  

 

Two agencies will provide assistance to eligible Coloradans in all 64 counties: Salvation Army and Colorado Housing Connects. These emergency awards are expected to serve more than 2,200 Coloradans. DOH has also developed an Eviction Resources Map that can be used with 211 to help renters avoid eviction. 

4/9/20

DENVER - Gov. Polis signed an Executive Order today extending the disaster emergency declaration for COVID-19 for an additional 30 days. 

 

The disaster declaration allows Colorado to access additional resources, temporarily waives procurement statutes for purchases related to COVID-19, and authorizes the implementation of the State’s Crisis Standards of Care plan (CSC Plan). 

 

The CSC Plan was recommended by the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee on April 5, 2020, and verbally adopted by the Governor. Read more about the Crisis Standards of Care here.

 

Read the Executive Order here. 

 

The Governor also signed an Executive Order extending deadlines for state severance taxes. This is a one-time extension from April 15, 2020, until May 15, 2020. Read the Executive Order here. 

 

 

 

4/5/20

State provides COVID-19 modeling data 

 

DENVER (April 5, 2020): The state today released additional COVID-19 modeling data to the public. Governor Jared Polis first provided an in-depth analysis of the data during a press conference on March 27. The state will continue to review data as it evolves to inform future policy decisions.

 

The modeling data was produced by an expert team that the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled to assist the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in understanding the potential course of the pandemic in Colorado. 

 

Drawing on expertise from the ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and the University of Colorado in Denver and Boulder, a team of volunteer experts modeled the pandemic using approaches tailored to Colorado, updating the modeling as the disease continues to spread in the state.

 

The team uses a fundamental approach: the SEIR model. The basics of the models are intuitive: prior to infection, individuals are susceptible (S) and once exposed (E) and infected (I) they are contagious, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic; those infected may recover and become resistant (R) or become sufficiently ill to need hospitalization and possibly critical care and to die. This standard model is thus abbreviated as the SEIR model. 

 

Another important number in the model is the reproductive number (R0), that is, the average number of new cases generated per infected person at the beginning of the outbreak. (The Governor has referred to this number as the “R naught.”) If that number exceeds one then the infection will spread. Various figures for R0 have been reported at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic from different parts of the world, ranging from about 2 to 5. The reproductive number depends, in part, on the frequency of contacts between infected and uninfected individuals. The goal of social distancing, which we are all experiencing now, is to reduce these contacts and lower the reproductive number with a target value below one so that contagion ends. A critical question is: How much social distancing is needed to control the epidemic, and how long does it need to be in place?

 

The tables below provide two sets of numbers provided to CDPHE and the Governor’s Office. The numbers provided are for critical indicators and show the variation by the value of R0 at the beginning of the outbreak and the effectiveness of social distancing at reducing the contact rate, ranging from none to an 80% reduction. When these numbers were calculated, the team found that the R0 value for Colorado was likely above 3. To capture the uncertainty in R0 and the effectiveness of social distancing, estimates are provided for a range of values.

 

Model R0 3.5 4.0 with SD 0 to 80

Model R0 3.0 4.0 SD 0 to 60

 

The Colorado modeling team has continued to refine its models as the data accumulate on the course of the pandemic. There are other models that provide estimates for Colorado, but those models are not as closely linked to the state’s data.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

4/3/20

Gov. Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

DENVER - Gov. Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor discussed what is being done to support the state’s economy, including workers and businesses and called upon all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for essential functions like grocery shopping.

 

“We know that Coloradans across our state are making personal sacrifices to prioritize the public health and safety of their family and neighbors,” said Governor Jared Polis. “The better job we do at staying home and wearing facial masks whenever we absolutely must go out to contain the virus in Colorado, the sooner we can return to something resembling economic normalcy. Refusing to stay at home will only extend the state’s economic pain.”

 

The Governor announced that he is asking all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for essential functions like grocery shopping. Data suggests up to 1 in 4 people infected with COVID are asymptomatic and spreading infected respiratory droplets. Masks offer minimal protection for the wearer, but they make a big difference in helping to protect others if a person is infected and doesn’t know it. The state has partnered with ColoradoMaskProject.com, where people can find patterns for making their own masks and ideas for how to help others who can’t make their own, get one. To learn more, read the FAQ document here and visit https://www.coloradomaskproject.com/

 

Here is Nathaniel Rateliff’s PSA encouraging Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings. 

 

Gov. Polis discussed the relief the federal government is providing through the CARES Act, which offers economic assistance for the millions of Coloradans who have felt the economic pain of this national health crisis and now feel the strain of financial obligations. The measure offers $1,200 in one-time direct cash assistance; over 90% of Colorado families will qualify. It also provides $500 per child under 17 years old.

 

In Colorado, the number of unemployment claims tripled, going from 20,000 last week to 60,000 this week. The Governor encouraged Coloradans to continue applying for benefits at www.coloradoui.gov. A person could be eligible for 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits from the state of Colorado. In addition, a person could also be eligible for an extra $600 per month for the first four months of unemployment because of the federal stimulus. To learn more about different types of unemployment and how to apply, visit www.Colorado.gov/CDLE

 

The Governor also provided an update on the state’s current testing status. Colorado has the capacity to run 10,000 tests per day, but due to the lack of testing supplies such as swabs, the state is processing 2,000 tests per day. The Governor is setting bold goals of having the state running 3,500 in the next two weeks and 5,000 tests per day by May.

 

Gov. Polis also encouraged Coloradans to consider fostering or adopting pets during the pandemic. People can visit www.protectcoloradoanimals.org

 

Click here to view the Governor’s presentation. 

 

Gov. Polis will extend Executive Order D 2020 12 allowing counties to temporarily waive interest on delinquent property tax payments until May 1.  

Gov. Polis also signed an Executive Order temporarily suspending taxpayer filing requirements and property valuation schedules for certain taxable property. Read the Executive Order here

4/2/20

Gov. Polis Sends Letter to Vice President Pence

Requesting Additional PPE to Address Shortage

 

DENVER - Gov. Jared Polis discussed Colorado’s personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage at a news conference on Wednesday, April 1. On March 28, Governor Polis sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence requesting additional PPE and ventilators to address the severe shortage Colorado is facing.

 

“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Governor Polis wrote. 

 

As reflected in requests to FEMA and HHS, Colorado needs:

  • 10,000 ventilators, and associated equipment and pharmaceuticals

  • 2,000,000 N95 masks

  • 4,460,000 surgical masks

  • 720,000 gowns

  • 880,000 face shields

  • 4,300,000 pair gloves -- small, medium, and large

 

“I am asking that you increase the ventilators and PPE that is being sent to Colorado for this critical moment, to help us safely cross the bridge ahead of us until we can start to reap the benefits of our other unprecedented procurement and manufacturing efforts,” the Governor’s letter concludes.

 

Read Governor Polis letter to Vice President Pence here

© 2018 Susan Lontine