Why another statewide lockdown is unlikely, even as Colorado’s coronavirus situation worsens each day
The Colorado Sun interviewed Gov. Jared Polis about his thinking on how to handle the latest surge of COVID-19 in the state. “We’re learning a lot more,” he said.
Coloradans are more likely to encounter someone with coronavirus now than at any point during the pandemic, state health officials say. Hospitalizations because of COVID-19 have surged to a new high. The state’s health care capacity is at risk of being overwhelmed in a matter of weeks.
Yet Gov. Jared Polis has declined to place Colorado under statewide lockdown status as he did in the spring, when the prevalence of coronavirus appears to have been less than it is now.
“This is not about lockdowns. It hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive, balanced approach that’s not being implemented,” Polis said in an interview with The Colorado Sun, echoing Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force.
Polis said he feels it’s a matter of ensuring Coloradans follow the public health recommendations he’s been harping on for months and taking action on the local level.
“At this point, people know what they need to do to contain the virus,” Polis said. “How do we know that? They did it in August. We avoided that second wave that hit the Sun Belt.”
The Sun interviewed Polis and Colorado’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, about why they aren’t pursuing another statewide lockdown and how they plan to tackle the most recent surge of COVID-19 in the state. Here’s what they said:
Why Polis feels a statewide lockdown isn’t appropriate now when it was in the spring
Another lockdown — or so-called stay-at-home order — isn’t warranted, Polis said, because of the advances Colorado and the world have made toward understanding and managing coronavirus.
“We’re learning a lot more,” Polis said. “In March and April, we had very little testing. Negligible testing relative to the size of the infection rate. Quite literally, it was impossible to find out who was contagious. It was impossible to screen asymptomatic people out from working in nursing homes and as first responders.”
Now, Colorado has the capacity to test tens of thousands of people a day between the state’s own lab and private testing providers.
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Moffat County is requesting a move to the less-restrictive Level Green: Protect Our Neighbors in the COVID-19 dial from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.