‘Tough days ahead’: Gov. Polis again urges Coloradans to avoid socializing outside household

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Nurses administer COVID-19 tests at a testing sight, Nov. 19, 2020, at Del Mar Park. Cases and hospitalizations are increasing exponentially throughout the country. Photo by PHILIP B. POSTON/Sentinel Colorado

DENVER | As the state’s COVID-19 numbers continue to climb, Gov. Jared Polis once again urged Coloradans not to socialize outside of their households during a Friday press conference.

The state saw 5,765 new cases Friday, and over 6,000 on Thursday.  There are currently 1,564 people in the state hospitalized with COVID-19.

“This is a very concerning trajectory in our state,” he said.

New mitigation measures that many counties have put in place should help, he said, but it will take at least two weeks to see them fully take effect. In at least the short term, the state will continue to see its case numbers rise.

“We’re in for some tough days ahead,” he said.

He once again said that this is the time to be extra cautious, and recommend that people take simple steps like going to the store fewer times and getting delivery instead of eating at restaurants. The most important thing people can do not to keep themselves safe is to not socialize with people outside of their households.

Don’t drop by your neighbor’s house for a drink after work. No dinner parties,” he said. “What was always reasonably safe is no longer reasonably safe.”

People should behave as if everyone they interact with is positive with COVID-19, because they potentially are. An estimated one in 49 Coloradans are now contagious with  the virus.

Dr. Michael-Alan Vargas joined the news conference remotely to discuss what it’s been like treating COVID-19 patients on the Western Slope. At the beginning of the pandemic, it was easy to see the virus as something that only affected the metro areas. Now that it’s arrived on the Western Slope in force, it’s clear that wasn’t accurate.

He asked people to be responsible with their holiday plans this year.

“Loving from a distance this season will matter,” he said.

Marisa Duran, who works at Grand River Health Clinic in Garfield, contracted COVID-19 in October and recovered. Vargas treated her while she was sick.

Duran said she doesn’t know how she contracted the virus, and that the illness was grueling. She described herself as a healthy woman and “it really took the best of me through the whole process.”