Gov. Polis COVID-19 response update 

Bottom line: Your social bubble is a lot bigger than you think. If you have to think about whether it’s a good idea, odds are it’s not.
Office of Governor Jared Polis   


 We know that these are challenging times for our small businesses and many Coloradans who need relief now. That’s why on Tuesday, in partnership with legislative leadership, Governor Polis announced a special session to address urgent economic issues. This session focused on providing COVID-19 relief due to the absence of federal assistance or aid.  


 The United States reached a grim milestone earlier this week, with more than 250,000 Americans losing their lives to COVID-19 since the pandemic began — more than twice the number of Americans lost in World War I. In Colorado, more than 2,700 lives have been lost, and more than 12,000 people are currently hospitalized with the disease.  

Currently, Colorado has twice as many deaths per day as at the previous peak, as well as nearly twice the number of hospitalizations than at the previous peak. 


  • The latest data shows us that 1 out of every 41 Coloradans is infected with COVID-19. Not just in Denver, not just in Adams County — this is statewide.  
  • Last week, nearly 6,000 new cases were reported.  
  • Our positivity rate is over 12%. This is the highest level of transmission we’ve ever had in Colorado. 

Hospitals Capacity & Hospitalizations:  

  • Over the last two weeks, the number of facilities anticipating staffing shortages nearly tripled.  
  • We’re starting to approach nearly double the number of daily hospitalizations reported than we did in the Spring. More people in Colorado are hospitalized due to COVID-19 than ever before.  
  • In red-level counties, ICU capacity reached 87% as of last week. 
  • If the rate of increase of hospitalizations continues, we could fill our ICU capacity in Red counties this week.   

This link to a map of Colorado’s counties shows you a time-lapse of where we were in October, and where we are now. In the span of just one month, the severity of our public health situation has increased rapidly and dramatically. 


 Today, Governor Polis was joined by two frontline healthcare workers from Garfield County as he provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19.  

Garfield County avoided a large wave in the Spring, but is currently seeing cases and transmission rates skyrocket much like the rest of our state.  

Dr. Alan-Michael Vargas, Chair of Board of Directors for Colorado Rural Health Center and Physician at the Grand River Health Clinic shared his perspective as a practicing physician: “Living and practicing medicine in rural Colorado, it would have been easy to imagine COVID as something that only plagues urban areas, but even though our neighbors can be separated by acres of land, we’re seeing it spread through our communities,” said Dr. Vargas. “I’ve spent hours of the last weeks wearing a rubber gown in our respiratory clinic. What works to prevent this is minimizing our individual risk through mask wearing and social distancing.” 

Marisa Duran, Clinic Manager at Grand River Health Clinic shared her experiences as both a health care worker on the front lines of this virus, and as a COVID survivor:  

“It’s very hard to say where I got COVID – the grocery store, work, a friend. My symptoms hit me really quickly, without warning. I never thought that I had COVID or that my test results would come back positive,” said Ms. Duran. “I’m a pretty healthy woman and it really took the best of me through the whole process.” 

It’s critical that we remember that this virus isn’t just something you hear about on the news or read about in the paper.  

Some are fortunate, like Marisa, to have fully recovered. Others are still living with the effects of the virus months after having tested negative. And some pay the ultimate price, losing their lives to this insidious virus.  

As we head into the holidays, the Governor strongly urges Coloradans to avoid personal gatherings at all costs, wear a mask, and physically distance. Let’s do these three things to protect our friends, our family members, and our front-line workers who are working every day to keep our communities safe. 


 To see a change in these trends, we need a change in our behavior. Earlier this week, Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health released updates to the COVID-19 Dial in response to the rapid spread of the virus. By Sunday, 19 counties will be moving into the Red Category. 

Now is the time to be extra cautious, and any activity is safest when you do it only with the people you live with.  

Coloradans should not gather with anyone who does not already live in your house. This includes all activities. 

Coloradans can do more to protect themselves and their families by: 

  • Limiting grocery store trips to one per week; 
  • Ordering take out from your favorite restaurant;  
  • Avoiding social contact with people outside of your household 
  • Connecting with friends and family virtually.  

 There are too many unknowns at this point. When we invite a couple of friends over to dinner — we invite everyone they have interacted with, and exponentially increase our risk of exposure.   


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