December 22, 2020

COLORADO VETERANS RECEIVE VACCINE

Today, Governor Polis provided an update on the State’s response to COVID-19 at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons as residents became some of the first seniors in Colorado living in a long-term care facility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Colorado has a proud military history and with that history comes a responsibility to care for our Veterans, many of whom are older — especially in the face of a pandemic that has put many at highest risk of becoming severely ill, or sadly, losing the battle to COVID-19,” said Governor Polis. “We are now able to vaccinate those whose legacy has been risking their own lives in the line of duty to save ours, and I was honored to be in Aurora today as our residents and staff of the Fitzsimons facility start to receive the vaccine. Together, we can start climbing out of this public health crisis.”

Today’s event took place outside while the residents received the vaccine inside the facility. The Governor and family members of the residents provided remarks and greeted their loved ones via video.

The first two residents of Fitzsimons to receive the vaccine today were Melvin Menard, a Marine veteran, and Phil Ross, an Army veteran.

Melvin Menard is an 88-year-old Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient who served in the Korean war. When he was presented the opportunity after the Korean War to go home he stated, “I decided to stay in the Marines until they officially signed the peace treaty.”

Melvin said that he was looking forward to receiving his vaccine and interested in obtaining an effective vaccine so that all the residents who have not been able to see their relatives, except virtually, outdoors, or through windows for months now, can come and go on their own.

Phil Ross is a 73-year-old army veteran, who served in Vietnam. When Phil was asked what getting the vaccine means to him, he said, “I would do anything to help anyone during this pandemic. I am passionate about making things better for everyone.”

Both Phil and Melvin have been able to take advantage of seeing family through glass windows. Last week, when it was below freezing temperatures, Phil was thrilled to have an outdoor visit with his wife, Maria, even six feet apart.

The Governor held a moment of silence to honor the memories of friends and family members who are no longer with us today due to COVID-19, including 25 residents at Fitzsimons. Fitzsimons serves veterans, veterans’ spouses, and Gold Star parents.

VACCINE UPDATE

Governor Polis shared today that Colorado began receiving our first shipments of the Moderna vaccine, which was approved by the FDA last week. Shipments began arriving yesterday and we will receive more shipments today:

• This week, we are receiving 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
• Yesterday,18,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine were shipped to 35 providers.

To date, we have received 56,160 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and are expecting another 39,780 doses, including 25,740 doses to long-term care facilities this week.

In an effort to be as transparent as possible through this process, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched the vaccine data dashboard last week as a tool for Coloradans to track information on Colorado’s current phase of distribution and the number of vaccines providers have administered.

The Governor is proud to report that 40,259 vaccines have been administered to Coloradans in Phase 1A, which is focused on our frontline health care workers. This number will continue increasing as we receive more vaccines.

SEVERAL DISTRICTS RETURNING TO IN-PERSON LEARNING

Last week, Governor Polis announced that the Back-to-School Working Group made recommendations that will guide a return to in-person learning for Colorado’s kids. Multiple school districts will be welcoming students back to classrooms in January, including:

• Denver Public Schools
• Adams 12
• Aurora Public Schools
• Cherry Creek Public Schools
• Boulder Valley Public Schools

By returning to in-person learning safely and as soon as possible, we set our kids up for academic and social success and begin to close the learning gap widened by this public health crisis.

SPREAD HOLIDAY CHEER, NOT COVID-19

With the holiday season upon us, Governor Polis reminded Coloradans to continue following the public health guidance by:

• Wearing masks,
• Avoiding social gatherings with people outside your homes, and
• Staying at least six feet away from others.

Being socially distanced in the great Colorado outdoors is an excellent way to follow COVID safety protocols and still get some much needed fresh air and exercise, but it’s important that Coloradans continue to recreate responsibly.

The State is also sharing information for those partaking in backcountry activities; there have been 132 avalanches since Friday, 49 of which were triggered by people unsafely recreating in Colorado’s backcountry. Tragically, this past weekend there were three fatalities and nine people caught in slides.

Visit colorado.com/winterbackcountrysafety for tips, a directory of backcountry guides and trainings, and to take the backcountry winter safety pledge.

For holiday tips to celebrate safely, visit covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/winter-holiday-tips.

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