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Wednesday, July 29, 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

The State currently has 45,314 cases, 1,807 total deaths (1,679 are deaths due to COVID), and 6,319 hospitalizations out of 509,012 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, 4 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, 8 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.

Moving Forward

The Governor relies on data and science to make decisions for our state. Having accurate data and objective benchmarks ensures that Colorado is managing this crisis in a way that balances our public health needs with our economic needs.

There are 4 metrics that the state takes into account when making decisions:

  • The CU Predictive Model (and other modeling): The University of Colorado’s predictive model tells us where we are heading and the window we have for course correction. The current modeling shows our healthcare capacity becoming overwhelmed by September if we don’t take drastic action. We also know that social distancing is needed at a level of at least 55%, and preferably 65%, to avoid a catastrophic breach of our hospital system.
  • Hospital Capacity: Care should be available for anyone who needs it, so the Governor is closely tracking how many hospital beds we have and how quickly we are filling them. We are now seeing overall COVID hospitalizations rise back up again. Thankfully, we are not close to the extremely high hospitalization rate that we had back in April, but we are continuing to monitor this concerning trend.
  • Growth in Cases: We need to keep case growth at a level that our public health system can handle, and the administration is concerned not only at the consistently high growth in cases, but the rate at which cases are growing. The current case growth is getting dangerously close to what we saw during the first spike in April.
  • Testing Results: As a state, we know we are doing sufficient testing if the percent of positive test results is 5% or lower. If positivity is above 5%, we know that the disease is spreading faster than we are testing. Right now, we’re right on the edge.

Despite our rising cases, we still have time to turn things around. State health officials are working hard to determine how we can get the rate of the virus’ spread back down to a manageable level, so we can avoid another devastating economic shutdown.

The Governor has taken a number of recent steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including:

  • Instituting a statewide mask order
  • Pausing variances for counties
  • Keeping bars closed for the time being
  • Recommending that all Coloradans reduce their social interactions by 55% or 65%

It is essential that the people of Colorado continue to do their part, including:

  • Keeping a safe distance of 6 feet from others;
  • Masking up when leaving the house, and connecting with each other virtually when possible;
  • Protecting the most vulnerable, including older Coloradans and essential workers;
  • Practicing proper hygiene including washing hands regularly

We also need our local governments and local public health agencies to reinforce these life-saving behaviors.

The state is not monolithic. Different counties and communities are having different experiences with this virus, and the best way to respond to this crisis is at the local level.

From the beginning we’ve worked with counties on a more tailored approach so that we are making sure that we suppress viral spread where we need to while avoiding economic devastation in areas where COVID-19 isn’t that prevalent.
The state has provided variances, state and federal funding, tech grants, personal protective equipment, testing supplies, support for setting up testing sites, and other resources.
We need swift, targeted action at the local level if we want to avoid drastic action at the statewide level.

If counties with high case counts are not taking measures to mitigate the spread, then the only choice will be to reimpose statewide restrictions that are extremely harmful to the economy.

Right now, 15 counties that have been granted variances are in danger of losing those variances if they are unable to reverse their climbing case counts within two weeks. In order to reverse these trends, counties need to follow their own mitigation plans that the Governor’s administration required. These plans include strategies such as social distancing orders, increased testing and contact tracing, enforcement of social distancing and mask wearing, and increased education.

Colorado’s key to success has always been and will continue to be, a stronger response at the local level. The Governor implores our local public health agencies and local governments to take more ownership over the local response. We have to work together to control the spread of COVID-19 until there is a cure or a vaccine.

New Food Benefits for Families

The Governor announced that Coloradans with children enrolled in school will receive food benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which began last week.

More than 360,000 Colorado children are eligible for P-EBT benefits, which reimburses families for the free and reduced-price meals that students missed while schools were closed in March, April and May due to COVID-19.
Hunger is one of the most dire issues facing families impacted by this pandemic. This is a life-saving benefit that will help keep food on the table for those hardest-hit.

Parks and Wildlife Employee Appreciation

It’s important that we recognize and thank Colorado’s Parks and Wildlife Employees, who have kept our public lands open since the beginning of this pandemic.

Thousands of Colorado families have taken advantage of our amazing public lands during this crisis as a way to get some physical activity, improve mental health, and spend quality time with loved ones. This massive uptick in park usage has put a strain on our Parks and Wildlife Employees. The Governor would like to thank them for going above and beyond to help Coloradans access our public lands at a time when we need them most.
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.

Deputy Community Engagement Director

200 E Colfax, State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203