Gov. Polis to Colorado: Cancel your plans; don’t socialize

Precautionary COVID-19 signage is affixed to the front entrance of North Middle School, Oct. 27, 2020.
Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

DENVER | Gov. Jared Polis is asking Coloradans to avoid socializing with people outside of their households for the next couple weeks as the state reaches its highest-ever level of COVID-19 incidence.

“This is going to get worse before it gets better,” Polis said during a Monday press conference.

The probability of encountering an infected person is greater than it has ever been since COVID-19 arrived in Colorado, according to a press release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In some counties, including Denver, 1 in 100 people are estimated to have the virus.

The state has also reached its greatest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations it has seen since the beginning of the pandemic, the release said. According to current models, the state will exceed ICU capacity by late December.

To prevent this, Polis asked people to reduce their social interactions as much as possible for the next few weeks, to work from home if possible and to wear masks in public.

“Now is the time to buckle down,” he said.

He acknowledged that after eight long months people are tired of the virus, but said that reducing transmission is vital to ensure that more Coloradans don’t lose their lives.

Surge hospital capacity can be brought online, including at the Colorado Convention Center. That is not yet necessary, Polis said, but it is ready to go.

Polis did not announce any new statewide orders except another 30-day extension of the mask mandate. In response to questions about whether he would take more statewide action, he said that Coloradans have all the information they need to slow the spread of the virus, they just need to act accordingly. 

“The grim reaper is the ultimate enforcer,” he said.

Counties across the state have implemented their own measures as case numbers continue to rise. On Saturday, Adams County implemented a curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. as a ‘last resort’ option instead of a stay at home order, and the Cherry Creek School District is transitioning to online learning this week.

Adams County currently has a 14-day incidence rate of 871.8 per 100,000 people and a three-day average of 316 new cases a day, according to the Tri-County Health Department. Neighboring Arapahoe County has a 14-day incidence rate of 593.3 and a three-day average of 318.3.