News and Updates 

1/12/21

Governor Jared Polis today reiterated Colorado’s commitment to vaccinating 70% of the state’s residents who are 70 and older by February 28th, 2021 along with completing the vaccination of our healthcare workers and first responders. 

 

The state is reviewing the announcement from the Trump administration of their updated guidance as well as actively engaging the incoming Biden administration to understand how they will approach prioritization and supply flow. 

 

Colorado will not be making any changes to our vaccine program until we can get concrete details on supply quantities, timelines for receiving that supply and engaging our partners who are on the ground administering the vaccine. While the state is not making any changes today, the Polis administration is actively planning how we can scale up and expand eligibility in anticipation for receiving more supply of vaccines.  

 

“I am very excited with the announcement that states will be receiving more vaccines in the near term. Here in Colorado, we have a broad current eligible population of over 562,000 people over 70 years of age and based on data-driven goals of saving lives and ending the pandemic, protecting this vulnerable population will have the biggest impact. Our broad focus on vaccinating those over 70 has been one of the reasons that Colorado is one of the top states for the vaccine to be successfully administered,” said Governor Polis. 

 

The Governor agrees that risk-based criteria saves lives. The Polis administration hopes to announce by next week updated plans based on information we do not yet have on new supplies the state of Colorado will receive. Governor Polis remains hopeful that the quantity of vaccines in the state will allow for expansion of the age criteria within a few weeks.

1/12/21

Today, Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing mass vaccination process. Governor Polis was also joined by Peter D. Banko, President & CEO Centura Health; Dr. Richard Zane, Chief Innovation Officer, UC Health and Chair of Emergency Medicine, CU School of Medicine; and John Santistevan, President & CEO, Salud Family Health Centers. 

 

“Right now, our top priority is to continue to be a national leader in ensuring vaccines are being rapidly distributed and put into the arms of as many Coloradans as possible,” said Governor Polis. “Partnerships with healthcare providers across the state, including those who joined us today, are one highly effective way Colorado will be able to vaccinate all Coloradans and finally beat this crisis. Every day, we are vaccinating more and more people age 70 and up and making notable progress towards ending the pandemic and returning to a normal way of life. But until the vaccine is widely distributed, we all must make an even greater effort to practice good social distancing including wearing masks and staying six feet away from others. We can end this, but to do that as quickly as possible, we must all stay committed in this fight.”

 

“Thank you, Governor Polis for your leadership during this time. Health systems including Centura Health are ready and capable of scaling our operations to vaccinate all those who need a vaccine. We are thrilled to partner with the State and other health providers to make mass vaccination possible across Colorado, ” said Peter D. Banko, President & CEO Centura Health. 

 

“We are beyond proud to vaccinate Colorado and we are prepared to do so. We are ready to put COVID-19 in our rearview mirror,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer and Chair of Emergency Medicine at the CU School of Medicine.

 

“We are stepping up to vaccinate as many people as possible as we can in the communities we serve. We will continue to be there for the state of Colorado and look forward to helping out in any way we can,” said John Santistevan, President & CEO Salud Family Health Centers. 

 

Colorado is currently expecting around 70,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses every week through January from the federal government. But the number of doses allocated to the state can change depending on what the federal government is able to provide Colorado during a given week. However, even with this uncertainty, one of the state’s top priorities is to vaccinate 70% of Coloradans ages 70 years and older by February 28. 

 

Governor Polis provided an update on a recent mass vaccination clinic held at Zion Baptist Church in the Whittier neighborhood. At Zion Baptist Church, 150 congregates ages 70 and older were vaccinated. Colorado will continue to search for similar venues like Zion Baptist Church so that Coloradans who might not have access to a medical facility can still get the vaccine. 

 

Governor Polis also amended and extended an Executive Order related to licensure requirements. The amendment removes permit and certification expiration date extensions that are no longer necessary. 

View today’s presentation and press conference.

1/11/21

Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Governor Polis 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. 

 

Gov. Polis amended an Executive Order regarding the order of operations for surging hospital capacity for the State as it relates to elective surgery. The amendment changes reporting requirements for hospitals. 

1/8/21

Today, Governor Polis provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, who shared an update to the state’s modeling. 

 

“As we start a new year, and see the vaccine being administered in our communities it can feel like the pandemic is behind us but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We must continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and physically distance ourselves from others,” said Governor Polis. “We are distributing the vaccine to providers across our state to ensure this crisis ending and life saving vaccine is being administered efficiently and equitably. We’ve come so far during the last 10 months, and it will take all of us working together to come out of the other side of this pandemic stronger than before.”

 

Dr. Herlihy provided an update on the state’s modeling, sharing that there are early signs of an increase after the holidays and that hospitalizations remain high. However, infection rates are down from their peak due to the efforts of Coloradans. An estimated 1 in 105 Coloradans estimated are currently contagious. 

 

Governor Polis urged Coloradans to keep up their good work wearing masks in public, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. The Governor pointed out that yesterday was the deadliest day of this global pandemic in the United States to date. 3,685 Americans died yesterday due to the virus, and the death toll is more than 364,000 nationally. 

 

Coloradans 70 and older are now part of Phase 1B in the state’s vaccination distribution plan, and in many parts of our state these Coloradans have access to vaccines. This group represents 78% of COVID deaths in Colorado. Coloradans over 70 should visit: https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans to find links to contact providers like UC Health, Denver Health, Centura, and for information about how to get the vaccine.

 

The Governor shared that the state will be distributing its share of the vaccine across different kinds of healthcare providers. These allocations will help distribute the vaccine to providers across Colorado to ensure the vaccine is being administered efficiently and equitably. Hospitals will receive 50%, federally qualified health centers will receive 20%, community partners and local public health agencies will receive 20% and retail pharmacies will receive 10% of the vaccine supply.

 

Governor Polis took action today in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by amending an Executive Order related to the COVID-19 disaster declaration to allocate an additional $48 million to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local public health agencies for testing, vaccine distribution, and other COVID-19 response activities. 

 

The Governor also signed an Executive Order that redirects underutilized resources to nursing facilities and selected Home and Community-Based Services. This redirection of resources will help providers address the impacts of the pandemic, including severe staff shortages and substantial reductions in the use of these services.

 

View today’s presentation and press conference.

1/8/21

Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Gov. Polis today amended and extended an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes and rules to expand healthcare workforces for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities due to COVID-19. The amended Executive Order expands the healthcare workforce in order to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in outpatient settings. 

1/4/21

Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

Gov. Polis extended an Executive Order providing relief to public utility customers impacted by COVID-19 and Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes and rules to expand healthcare workforces for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities due to COVID-19. 

 

The Governor also extended an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain statutes to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan. 

 

The Governor extended an Executive Order expediting unemployment insurance claim processing to provide relief to Coloradans affected by COVID-19 and an Executive Order related to learning pods.

 

Gov. Polis also extended an Executive Order allowing for the operation of alternate care sites in response to COVID-19. 

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House Democrats hosted over 100 town halls in April and May to hear from Coloradans directly about how we could help our state get through the COVID-19 pandemic and recover. We passed a relief package to help Coloradans get back to work safely and make ends meet, enacting legislation to offer direct assistance to Coloradans, guarantee paid sick leave, and protect workers from retaliation when they report health concerns.  

We provided $20 million to create a small businesses grant program and established a $250 million small business loan fund; channeled $20 million in federal funds for direct housing assistance; and provided $4.8 million for utility assistance. We allocated $500,000 to food pantries to help them meet the increased needs of their communities. 

Demand for critical health and safety services has grown, so House Democrats put $15.2 million towards mental health and substance abuse programs, $500,000 towards programs that serve survivors of domestic violence, and $500,000 toward the 2-1-1 hotline that has been expanded as an information hub for Coloradans during the pandemic.

In the early months of the pandemic, House Democrats hosted over 100 town halls to hear from Coloradans directly about how we could help our state get through the COVID-19 pandemic and recover. Then in May, we passed a relief package to help Coloradans get back to work safely and make ends meet, enacting legislation to offer direct assistance to Coloradans, guarantee paid sick leave, and protect workers from retaliation when they report health concerns.  

We created a small businesses grant program and established a small business loan fund; channeled federal funds for direct housing assistance; and provided utility assistance. We allocated funds to food pantries to help them meet the increased needs of their communities. We also put millions towards mental health and substance abuse programs, programs that serve survivors of domestic violence, toward the 2-1-1 hotline that has been expanded as an information hub for Coloradans during the pandemic.

As months went by without further assistance from Washington, we knew it was up to Colorado to act. First, House Democrats took action with the Governor to direct $168 million in direct assistance to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans who have been hit hardest by the economic impacts of the pandemic. Then, we returned to the Capitol for a short and laser-focused special legislative session.

During the special session House Democrats delivered on direct relief for restaurants, bars and other struggling small businesses. We approved a package of bipartisan bills that will help families stay in their homes, put food on the table and keep the lights on and the heat going. These bills will also help working parents stay in the workforce with enhanced child care opportunities and expand broadband access so students and teachers can continue to learn through the months ahead.

Demand for critical health and safety services has grown, so House Democrats put $15.2 million towards mental health and substance abuse programs, $500,000 towards programs that serve survivors of domestic violence, and $500,000 toward the 2-1-1 hotline that has been expanded as an information hub for Coloradans during the pandemic.

© 2018 Susan Lontine