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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Community Leaders,

Analysse here with the Governor’s Community Engagement team! In an effort to continue to provide you with an official update from the Governor’s office, below includes the latest steps we are taking to respond to the Coronavirus threat. As the Governor mentioned today, this situation grows more serious by the day, and we must adjust our response accordingly. Scientists and public health experts continue to tell us that we are facing a choice between people’s livelihood and their lives. If we do not do more to slow the spread of this virus, our health care system will be overwhelmed, and doctors will not be able to treat every patient who needs it. The most valuable resource we have is time and we need to do more to slow down the spread of the virus. We appreciate your support in helping to spread these updates to your network.

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

Topline Update

As of this today we have 591 cases, 6 deaths, 58 hospitalizations out of 5,436 completed tests.

We are grateful for the hardworking men and women from the Army Corps of Engineers that arrived this weekend to help support our healthcare capacity surge and to the hardworking men and women from FEMA who are finally on the job here in Colorado and working with our Emergency Operations Center.

Executive Order of 50% reduction for all non-critical workplaces

Today the Governor announced an executive order for all non critical-workplaces to reduce their in-person workforce by fifty percent (50%). The order directs all Colorado employers to implement tele-work capabilities to the greatest extent possible. If tele-work is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of workers during work hours and to keep employees on payroll as we endure this temporary disruption to commerce together.

This Executive Order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours.  The Governor has directed CDPHE to develop and issue a certification method, with appropriate penalties for supplying false information that allows employers to demonstrate that they are in compliance with this directive. For more information on obtaining the certification, please email COVIDresponse@state.co.us with the SUBJECT as “Business Exemption Request.”

Here are the critical workplaces that are exempted:

  1. Healthcare Operations
  2. Critical Infrastructure, Including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, orgs that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain
  3. Critical Manufacturing, Including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture
  4. Critical Retail, Including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout, marijuana dispensaries but only for medical or curbside delivery, hardware stores
  5. Critical Services, Including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues,
  6. News Media
  7. Financial Institutions
  8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations,
  9. Construction
  10. Defense
  11. Public Safety Services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair
  12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical gov’t services
  13. “Critical Government Functions”

Please see FAQs document that we have developed on this order – CLICK HERE

Additional Social Distancing Guidance

The Governor’s Executive Order also contains even more guidance for social distancing. Coloradans are urged to stay home except for the following reasons:

  • To obtain necessary services or supplies,
  • To deliver those services or supplies to others who need assistance
  • To engage in outdoor recreational activities while still following social distancing protocols, staying 6 feet away from other parties
  • To perform work
  • Or to care for a family member, a vulnerable person, or pet in another household, or to care for livestock kept at a location other than an individual’s home.

Additionally, the executive order urges Coloradans to try to limit those essential activities outside of their homes as much as possible. For instance, instead of going to get groceries twice a week, folks should go out and get twice as much food once a week. It will help limit everyone’s exposure and save lives.

Call for Donations

This is a time when we all need to do our part to protect our fellow Coloradans. Thank you to all who are stepping up already. Some ways that you can help:

  • Post your photos of practicing social distancing or helping your neighbors with the hashtag #DoingMyPartCO to participate in our social media challenge.
  • Donate to COVID-19 Relief Fund at HelpColoradoNow.org
  • Signed up to volunteer at HelpColoradoNow.org
  • Donated blood; visit vitalant.org to find a location to donate near you.
  • Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the state or your local public health department.

To donate PPE keep the bare minimum amount of supply you need to conduct essential or life saving functions, and contribute the remainder to our state’s COVID19 response. If you have small quantities of supplies to contribute, between 1-25 boxes of personal protective equipment  (i.e., six boxes of protective eye glasses) we ask that you donate these supplies to your local public health department, local community health center, community clinic, or local hospital.

If you have more than 25 boxes, or the pieces of larger equipment such as anesthesia machines or ventilators, we ask that you fill out THIS FORM, so we can determine if these items are needed in our state’s emergency supply. Once we receive your form entry, we will follow up with you to determine next steps. Please complete the form as soon as possible, but no later than March 26.

Innovation Response Team Task Force 

The Governor announced today that we are standing up a new division in our Emergency Operations Center to help us continue to develop innovative plans to respond to COVID-19. The Innovation Response Team Task Force, will be tasked with the following objectives:

  • Developing a statewide system for mass testing and rapid results,
  • Developing mobile and other technologies to help track the spread of the virus and support infected citizens,
  • Creating a suite of services for citizens under isolation or quarantine,
  • And developing locally-sourced alternatives to secure critical medical supplies so we can keep our frontline workers safe.

The IRT is being led on an interim basis by Matt Blumberg, a technology entrepreneur who founded and led Broomfield-based email technology company Return Path for the past 20 years.  Sarah Tuneburg, CEO of Geospezia, a company that deals with risk assessment, will eventually be the leader for the team. An important component of the IRT’s work is private sector partnerships, which is why Boulder-based Venture Capitalist Brad Feld has been appointed as the Chairman of the IRT’s Private Sector Task Force. Feld will coordinate corporate and private-sector volunteer activities in a series of specific areas, including Manufacturing, TeleMedicine, and at-home Service delivery. Additionally, Noel Ginsberg has stepped in to help by using his entire network and his companies to start manufacturing PPE right here in Colorado to keep our health care workers safe and save lives.

 

If you are a private sector company who wants to partner with this team on acquiring testing, critical constrained medical supplies, technology, or support services for people who are isolated go to HelpColoradoNow.org for information on how your company can be part of the solution and save the lives of your neighbors, your loved ones, maybe even yourself.

Clarity on Testing

We know other countries have fared far better than the U.S. on being prepared to combat this virus, and they have done it through mass testing and isolating those who test positive, versus quarantining a whole society which is what we are seeing in Italy and in some states in the U.S.

Our mass testing strategy will rely upon the most clinically relevant tests. There are two ways to test for COVID-19.  One method, known as RT-PCR, tests for the presence of the virus using a nose swab. The other, known as serological, tests for the body’s response to the virus, often with a prick of blood. RT-PCR tests can tell if a person is infected much sooner than a serological test, making it relevant for clinical decision making, diagnosis, and isolation.  While Serological tests will play a role in public health surveillance and epidemiological investigation, we will need to use the RT-PCR based tests — nasal and oral swabs — to keep people safe and limit the spread. Our teams are working hard at procuring and coordinating deployment of both kinds of tests.

We greatly appreciate your helping to share information during this crisis. We will continue to send these regular updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or needs from our office. My cell phone is 210-385-7556. We are here to help!

Thanks,
Analysse Escobar
Deputy Community Engagement Director

200 E Colfax, State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203 
https://www.colorado.gov/governor/