Colorado governor appeals to residents to stem virus uptick

DENVER (AP) — Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday appealed to the resolve of residents, rather than new government mandates, to stem what he called an alarming acceleration of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Colorado.

To that end, Polis announced a public awareness campaign, Step Up Colorado, designed to reinforce personal responsibility in mask-wearing, social distancing, getting tested, self-quarantining and other behaviors to stem the virus’s spread.

In a briefing on the pandemic, Polis refused to say new statewide actions are needed and suggested roughly 80% of the pandemic fight comes down to personal decisions. He insisted local health agencies, such as those in Denver and Mesa counties, which are seeing rising numbers of cases, are best prepared to address that increase with residents.

Polis cited Boulder County, where health authorities imposed drastic measures on social gatherings three weeks ago and brought down the number of new cases from 150 per day to 30 per day.


Left unchecked, the upward trends in new confirmed cases and hospitalizations could test hospital intensive-care capacity in December, the Democratic governor said.

The state reported 1,208 new cases on Tuesday and 417 virus hospitalizations. There are roughly 1,800 intensive-care beds statewide for all health emergencies, Polis said. More than three-quarters of those beds were occupied for all reasons over the previous week, the state health department said Monday.

Health officials reported there were nearly 17 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents Friday, roughly matching the state’s highest recorded rate in April.

More than 2,000 people have died of the virus in Colorado, which has reported more than 80,000 positive cases. The number of cases is probably higher because of a lack of testing and other reasons.

The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

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