News and Updates
Governor Polis issued Executive Orders memorializing verbal disaster declarations due to the Lefthand Fire, East Troublesome Fire, and Calwood Fire. These Executive Orders enable State agencies to coordinate, and make resources available for fire suppression, response, consequence management, and recovery efforts.
The Governor also extended an Executive Order authorizing the executive directors of certain State agencies to promulgate and issue emergency rules extending the expiration date of licenses and other documents.
Governor Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and made several significant announcements.
“I will never give up on Coloradans and I know we have the resolve to do what is necessary to defeat this virus. Cases and hospitalizations have continued rising with over 1100 Coloradans currently hospitalized for COVID,” said Governor Polis. “We simply must do a better job of wearing masks, physically distaning and avoiding social interactions with those outside our households. It’s up to us, Colorado, the time for change is now.”
The Governor announced that given the rise in cases across our state, he has ordered the State Emergency Operations Center to return to level 1. This is the highest level of operation and brings together all state agencies, federal partners and the voluntary organizations that serve the State’s communities in crisis. At this level, the EOC can better coordinate and synchronize the State’s response to the pandemic.
In addition, the Governor shared that he has signed an Executive Order that will clarify the order of operations for surging hospital capacity for the State of Colorado. The first line of defense is for hospitals to increase their capacity internally by opening up unused space and augmenting their staffing. If further capacity is needed, then hospitals must scale back elective procedures. If patient load continues to surge after these steps the state will support the Colorado Hospital Association to address the interhospital transfer system, and if caseload further exceeds these strategies, alternative care sites will be utilized as a last resort. Hospitals need to exhaust all of their resources before alternative care sites are utilized.
This Executive Order directs all general hospitals to submit a plan to the state with their maximum surge bed count by Wednesday November 18th and a complete surge plan to CDPHE by November 20th, 2020, and must include:
A detailed plan to potentially increase bed capacity by at least fifty percent (50%) and provide staffing and medical equipment for such increase;
Strategies to increase the number of ICU beds by transitioning medical and surgical beds to ICU beds if needed.
A detailed staffing plan, sufficient to provide adequate care for all beds, including those in use or available to patients other than COVID-19 patients.
A mandate for elective procedures to be actively managed, reduced and/ or delayed if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which the Facility is located.
It also directs that all hospitals report the maximum number of staffed ICU beds that can be made available for patients in need of ICU level care, as well as the maximum number of staffed medical and surgical beds available for non ICU hospitalization at 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. each day. Hospitals and medical providers are encouraged to continue utilizing telehealth and virtual visits as much as possible.
Under current public health orders, hospitals that are at more than 70% capacity or have less than a two-week supply of PPE must actively manage their elective procedures to ensure they have adequate capacity for a surge of patients, which has been the law of Colorado since July. Governor Polis shared that he plans to update both the executive orders and public health order to make it clear that hospitals experiencing stress and strain serving patients must begin a mandatory scale back of elective procedures in anticipation for a surge of patients in the coming weeks.
The Governor extended an Executive Order increasing the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminating cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. The Governor also extended an Executive Order related to criminal justice. Finally, the governor amended and extended an Executive Order concerning multiple fires statewide.
Governor Polis announced the good news that more than one million Coloradans have opted in to receiving the Colorado Exposure Notification technology which went live on all Android and Apple phones last month. Coloradans can visit addyourphone.com for more information or to sign up.
In order to scale up testing, the State is partnering with COVIDCheck Colorado, part of Gary Community Investments, who has launched seven testing sites around the metro area that are now open to the general public.
“Through our partnership with the State of Colorado, COVIDCheck Colorado has made fast and accurate COVID-19 testing available to all Coloradans, free of charge, through December 2020,” said Mike Johnston, CEO, Gary Investments. If you are symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19 - Test Now. If you are working in a public facing capacity - Test Regularly. If you feel you need a test for any reason - Test As Needed.”
CovidCheck Colorado test are available at the following locations:
All City Stadium
1495 S. Race Street, Denver, CO 80210
Cherry Creek High School
4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Instructional Support Facility
5416 S. Riviera Way Aurora, CO 80015
North High School
3125 Eliot Street, Denver, CO 80211
Mountain Range High
12500 Huron Street Westminster, CO 80234
St. Vrain Valley Schools Innovation Center
33 Quail Road, Longmont, CO 80504
Aurora Public Schools Professional Learning Center
15771 E. 1st Ave, Aurora, CO 80011
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will bring on an additional 100 AmeriCorps members to serve in the COVID-19 Containment Response Corps (CCRC) in staggered nine month terms over the next year. AmeriCorps members will support case investigation, contact tracing, resource coordination, test result notification, isolation and quarantine monitoring, and other activities to contain the spread of COVID-19 within Colorado.
"The CCRC is an important part of Colorado's COVID-19 response and the addition of 100 AmeriCorps members will help boost capacity," said Governor Jared Polis. "Coloradans should cancel their social plans for the month of November and the services provided by CCRC like case investigation and isolation and quarantine monitoring are an important resource in the fight against the spread of this deadly virus.”
Conservation Legacy and Community Resource Center will recruit and help onboard the AmeriCorps members, who will all serve remotely. Each will receive a living allowance and an education award of $4,336.50 upon completing their service. Priority will be given to interested candidates who apply by November 13 to start on November 30 or December 13 to start service on January 6, 2021. Interested individuals can find more information and apply at colorado.gov/servecolorado.
“We are so proud of the service AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps Seniors have provided, and will continue to provide to the State of Colorado,” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera. “These individuals stepped up to provide critical support during a challenging time. Because of their service, more Coloradans have received timely information and resources to protect themselves and their loved ones.”
The CCRC is a statewide effort created in June 2020 through a partnership between AmeriCorps, a federal agency; Gary Community Investments; Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service; and CDPHE. Since June, more than 472 AmeriCorps members and 165 AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers have served in the CCRC.
CDPHE provided funding for the program and will train all AmeriCorps members. Gary Community Investments secured the technology and equipment necessary for the virtual service. Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, is hosting the webpage for CCRCs national service efforts, creating a single point of entry for individuals interested in signing up to serve.
“The COVID-19 Containment Response Corps (CCRC) team owes a huge part of our success to our AmeriCorps members. Since the beginning of this pandemic, they have supported Coloradans by providing knowledge and wherewithal to the general public. During this unprecedented time, they have been essential to assisting the State of Colorado and the COVID response,” said Sarah Tuneberg, COVID-19 Innovation Response Team Lead and
Senior COVID-19 Advisor.
CDPHE partners with the Colorado Public Health Workforce Collaborative to provide training for the national service corps members and volunteers. The collaborative consists of non-profit advocates, governmental agencies, hospitals, and university organizations coordinating efforts to hire, train, and deploy a comprehensive contact tracing and navigator workforce. For more information please contact the collaborative via email at ContactTracing@trailhead.institute.
Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service, administers the AmeriCorps program in Colorado and promotes community service throughout the state to build a culture of citizenship, service, and individual responsibility. AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov
The Governor’s presentation can be viewed here.
Today, Governor Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19.
“Colorado is issuing a requirement to wear a mask indoors for the next 30 days, and as hospitalizations increase everyone needs to do better by socializing only with those who you live with, wearing a mask and staying six-feet apart, so we can get our numbers under control. Early in the pandemic you heard me talk about using a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer -- and that’s exactly what we’re doing now,” said Governor Polis. “Each community in Colorado is experiencing this pandemic differently and we want to be precise in our methods. We also have significantly more information and better tools at our disposal than we did in March, and people know what to do, we just need to do it. Together, I know we can get our state back on track and save lives.”
Throughout the pandemic, the State has developed better understanding of how the disease is transmitted, including the efficacy of masks in preventing transmission. The State has also increased access to testing, like that available at one of the State’s free, quick and easy testing sites, increased its supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers and scaled up hospital capacity while consistently working to update safety guidelines and restrictions around the data and science.
As mask wearing is a scientifically proven way to help slow the spread of the virus and help save lives, the Governor announced that the State would be extending Colorado’s statewide mask order for an additional 30 days.
The Governor continues to urge all Coloradans to take three key steps to help save lives and prevent the spread of this deadly virus:
Interact with only those in your household - This means all Coloradans need to do their best to avoid any social interactions with friends and family outside of their homes throughout the month of November.
Keep your distance - Just because an individual is wearing a mask doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk if they are interacting with others in close proximity. Coloradans have to do a better job of staying six or more feet away from others.
Wear a Mask - The numbers are clear. If an individual wears a mask, they have a much lower risk of getting or transmitting the virus.
Governor Polis emphasized that progress has been made in preventing and treating the virus, and discussed the recent announcement about a vaccine. Colorado submitted the State’s COVID-19 vaccine plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October. Coloradans must continue to exercise caution and follow public health best practices.
In an effort to do its part to change the trajectory of this virus, state employees, with limited exceptions, in counties with orange or red level incidence will be working remotely through at least the end of November. The Governor also urged local governments and businesses across the state that can do the same to please do so to help slow the spread of the virus.
Colorado Continues to Bolster Testing with Addition of Free, Quick, and Easy COVID-19 testing kiosks
Testing kiosks to open at University of Northern Colorado, DIA, pop-ups in communities across Colorado
GREELEY - The state is launching new COVID-19 testing kiosks across the state. The first two COVID-19 testing kiosks will open in Greeley at UNC, Denver International Airport (DIA) and based on demand will be strategically deployed to additional communities. CDPHE has partnered with Curative to increase testing in long-term care facilities and in our rural and frontier communities. The testing kiosk at the University of Northern Colorado is at Nottingham Field and will be open from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, starting on November 7th at the University of Northern Colorado campus.
“Colorado has ramped up our testing capacity and supply procurement throughout this pandemic. We are acting swiftly and strategically when it comes to testing and these new kiosks will help us get more people tested in our communities,” said Gov. Polis. “Testing is a critical tool as is avoiding socializing outside of your home or family unit, steering clear of large gatherings, wearing masks, physical distancing, and washing your hands regularly.”
The testing kiosk in Greeley is a prototype and is quick, easy, and free for all students and staff, as well as the surrounding Greeley community. Walk-ups are welcome, but Coloradans can sign up ahead of time at cur.tv/unc.
In addition, the state is continuing to support mobile test sites and pop-up community testing events communities across the state. There are more than 50 free community testing sites across the state, as well as dozens of locations offered by private providers. The state’s website has a list of locations. The state will continue to work with local partners to meet community testing needs in a manner that best serves their residents.
The state is encouraging all Coloradans with symptoms to get tested immediately. Symptoms include: Fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.
While testing is an important tool in the COVID-19 response, the state cautions that a negative test doesn’t mean it’s OK to meet in large gatherings or ignore other public health orders, like wearing a mask. All Coloradans need to mask up, physically distance, avoid large gatherings, and stay home while sick. Anyone who gets tested because of symptoms or because of a possible exposure should be in isolation/quarantine while waiting for the test result. All individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine for a full 14 days, even if they have testing done and that testing is negative.
The specific test is an easy to administer oral-fluid swab test that tests for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. The self-collected oral fluid swab involves having the person cough first, which releases the virus from the upper and lower respiratory tract. The virus is caught in the saliva, and then the patient swabs the inside of their cheeks and the roofs of their mouths. Once complete, the patient seals their test within a secure container and returns it to a medical professional to be administered in the lab. Curative provides an end-to-end testing service, managing everything from the supply chain to processing and delivering results. Patients should expect to receive test results within 48 hours via text or email. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.
Governor Jared Polis took action to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Polis today extended Executive Orders to provide boards of county commissioners with broader discretion and greater flexibility to implement restrictions on open burning, providing relief to public utility customers, and expanding the health care workforce for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities.