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Friday, July 10, 2020

Community Leaders,
Kara 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 are some updates and information that the Governor provided. We appreciate your support in helping to spread these updates to your network.

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

Topline Update

We currently have 35,525 cases, 1,706 total deaths (1,581 are deaths due to COVID), and 5,831 hospitalizations out of 374,161 completed tests. Every death is a tragedy. There are families mourning across our state today and we keep them in our thoughts.

In terms of new cases, 3 of the last 14 days have had a downward trend in the 7-day moving average of newly reported cases. And in terms of hospitalizations, 3 of the last 14 days have a downward trend in the 7-day moving average of new hospitalizations.

This case data is broken down by various categories, is updated daily and can be found here.

Cases Trending Upward

While we are concerned with the recent uptick in cases, it’s worth noting that we are nowhere close to reaching or breaching our hospital ICU capacity, which has been our top concern all along. The administration will continue monitoring the public health situation very closely and adjusting our strategy for reopening based on the trajectory of the spread of the virus. It’s why bar openings were pulled back last week — because those settings are particularly vulnerable vectors for contagion. And we will continue to be guided by data and science as we all work together to manage this crisis.

Colorado’s Unique Success

Despite the slight uptick in case numbers, Colorado continues to perform better than the national average, and continues to be a positive outlier thanks to everyone doing their part.
Individuals are wearing masks, keeping distance, staying Safer at Home or in the Vast, Great Outdoors, protecting vulnerable populations, and practicing proper hygiene.

The state is working to get more PPE and testing supplies, and providing economic support for businesses and individuals including $250 million in state CLIMBER loans.

Our local governments are stepping up on mask ordinances, repurposing space to allow for more social distancing, and enhancing local public health agency capacity.

The business community is also doing the right thing — requiring masks for customers, being flexible when it comes to teleworking, and taking steps to protect employees and patrons.

As a result, Colorado’s small businesses are performing slightly better than national averages on key metrics, including making payments like rent, payroll, utilities, and loans, the number of employee hours worked, and number of employees retained

Colorado’s unemployment rate, while still persistently and unacceptably high, is three points lower than the national average.

The key to keeping our virus transmission levels down while increasing economic opportunity is to continue maintaining our status as a positive outlier among our neighboring states and throughout the country.

*NEW* COVID-19 Interactive Modeling Website

The Governor introduced a new COVID-19 modeling website today that can help individuals, businesses, local public health agencies, and local governments, visualize their own role in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

The interactive model was created through strong partnerships across numerous Colorado academic institutions — including University of Colorado’s School of Public Health, CU Denver & Boulder, and Colorado State University. Individuals who contributed include Dr. Jonathan Samet, Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, Max McGrath, a Boulder undergraduate in the CU’s public health program, and faculty members Katie Colborne, Beth Carlton, and Andrea Buchwald.

Coloradans can use the model to see how different factors change the trajectory of the spread of COVID-19 and can see how different scenarios play out in Colorado.

Factors include:

  • Current level of social distancing for the general population;
  • Levels of social distancing for the general population starting in mid-August, about when many kids are going back to school;
  • Level of social distancing for people over 65, who may be at a higher risk of a severe outcome if they contract COVID-19;
  • Portion of the population wearing masks; and
  • Number of contacts traced for every case and how quickly those contacts are traced.

Example Scenarios

Changing the settings for each factor shows an increase or decrease in the number of overall cases, hospitalizations, ICU cases, and deaths. Based on a snapshot from the model below, an assumption of 65% average levels of mask wearing and contact tracing means that we do not come close to surpassing our health care system’s capacity, and hospital and ICU beds remain available.

This tool is available for public use online at coloradocoronavirusmodel.com.

Now, if the model is adjusted to show 50% social distancing in August — holding everything else constant, then we surpass health care system capacity in December. That’s a very dangerous scenario, where we would need to engage field hospitals, perform health care triage, and ultimately, there would be many unnecessary deaths of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

This tool is available for public use online at coloradocoronavirusmodel.com.

The bottom line is that if a higher percentage of people are wearing masks — the more we can stay open. And while these scenarios represent hypotheticals across the spectrum of COVID-19 prevention measures, the point remains that individual actions make a difference.

This tool is available for public use online at coloradocoronavirusmodel.com.

Mask-wearing & Goldman Sachs Study

Governor Polis also spent some time reiterating the importance of wearing a mask in public. Mask-wearing is not just a public health imperative but an economic imperative, and wearing masks is our ticket to keeping our state open and maintaining a level of economic activity that will allow the state to weather the storm.

Goldman Sachs recently came out with a new study that showed nationwide, universal mask-wearing would save 5% of the national GDP — about a trillion dollars of economic activity.

The Governor fully supports local mask ordinances, and is thankful for community leaders that have helped pass them. In some places, these are hard issues and hard votes, but at the end of the day it’s about doing the right thing for our communities.

It’s increasingly important to remember that the fate of Colorado — in both virus suppression and economic recovery — is largely in our hands, the people of Colorado.

PPP Loans Still Available

Governor Polis announced today that federal aid for small businesses is still available through the Paycheck Protection Program. There is still $129 billion remaining in the fund which can be used as forgivable loans, and the application deadline has been extended until August 8.

For more information about PPP funding, please visit choosecolorado.com

OEHI Telehealth Grant Recipients

Telemedicine has been more important than ever during this pandemic and we are thankful that the legislature codified into Colorado law some aspects of the Governor’s executive order promoting telehealth resources and helping Coloradans get the care they need online.

The Office of eHealth Innovation and the eHealth Commission previously announced in May, $2 million in funding for telemedicine projects in partnership with Health Care Policy and Financing from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid.

The commission is proud to announce that awardees have been selected for the first cohort of telemedicine projects through this funding.

$394,844 will be dispersed for the innovations efforts of the following partners:

  • Axis Health System, Southwest Colorado
  • Beverly Hawp & Associates, Colorado Springs
  • Clinica Family Health, North Denver Metro Area
  • Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver
  • Developmental Disabilities Resource Center, Lakewood
  • Mental Health Center, Denver

These organizations’ projects were selected for their commitment to preparing the state for the next phase of COVID-19, providing insight for key partners such as the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and helping to solidify the new normal of expanded access to virtual care.

Congratulations to the awardees! The administration is eager to learn more about these innovative efforts and how we can continue to meet Coloradans where they are.

Emergency Child Care Collaborative

One of the first executive orders signed by the Governor at the onset of the pandemic established emergency child care for health care workers on the front lines of the crisis. Recently, legislators received a report that as a direct result of the executive order the state was able to provide child care for 1,592 families in the health care sector — that’s over 2,360 children!

The Emergency Child Care Collaborative is a great example of what can happen when we come together during challenging times to help fellow Coloradans, and we would like to thank everyone involved in that effort.

We greatly appreciate your help to share information during this crisis, and we will continue to send regular updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or needs from our office. My cell phone is 720-982-5204. Thank you for doing your part.

We are all in this together!

You can view the Governor’s press briefing and hear his full remarks here.

Thanks,
Kara
Deputy Community Engagement Director

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