Statewide stay-at-home order underway through April 11

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DENVER  |  A statewide stay-at-home order went into effect in Colorado on Thursday in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that he was taking the “extreme measure” because the restrictions taken to date haven’t been enough to reduce the spread of the virus.

“If we don’t take these actions that we are taking today, and frankly, if you don’t stay home, this will create a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption, greater loss of jobs for a longer period of time,” the Democratic governor said.

Under the order, which is in effect until April 11, people should only leave home for necessities like grocery shopping, seeking medical care or exercise, or taking care of a vulnerable person. People who work for a business considered essential can travel to work.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

As of Wednesday, 1,086 people in Colorado have tested positive and 19 have died. The number of people hospitalized doubled between Tuesday and Wednesday, and about 15% of people who were tested after showing symptoms have the coronavirus, said Polis, who has requested President Donald Trump declare the state a major disaster area.

In other developments:

— Mesa Verde National Park joined other national parks in closing because of the outbreak on Wednesday night. The decision was made in response to guidance from local health officials.

— State oil and gas regulators decided Wednesday to temporarily stop work on new rules mandated by state lawmakers to prioritize protecting public health, safety, welfare, the environment and wildlife. The commissioners decided the rules were too important to be developed in virtual meetings, The Daily Sentinel reported. During its online meeting, the commission said it would continue issuing new permits.