Polis, state leaders give update on Colorado COVID-19 transmission


DENVER — About 1 in 115 Coloradans are currently contagious with the coronavirus, according to the latest modeling by the state of Colorado.

Gov. Jared Polis and State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy presented the newest models in a press conference Tuesday.

Herlihy said the number of cases has trended steadily downward since the holiday season. However, rates continue to be high, and Coloradans should continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing.

Colorado has fewer coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents than most other states, according to Herlihy. Herlihy said Colorado is ranked 11th in states with the lowest rates of COVID-19.

“Colorado has done quite well, our hospitalizations rates are much lower than U.S rates overall” she said, “Our decline in hospitalizations started sooner than the overall decline in U.S hospitalizations. Obviously it’s great to see the U.S has turned a corner.”

Despite the encouraging trends, Herlihy says there is still a ways to go. Transmission control, such as masks and limiting interactions with others, will remain to be a more powerful tool to control COVID-19 until at least summer.

“We’re not yet at a point where we have herd immunity or population-level protection so, while individuals who have been vaccinated are protected, we really aren’t going to see the full effect or benefit from the vaccine for many months to come.” Herlihy said.

Projections from CDPHE modeling shows that vaccinations will save some lives, but not as many as transmission control until June 1.

With that data in mind, Polis says it’s more important to practice good public health behavior while the supply of vaccine continues to roll in.

“That choice is up to Coloradans,” he said, “Whether we can continue to wear masks, avoid socializing, keep the diseases contained. Or, if people relax, it will have time to re-surge before the vaccine has a chance to kick in.”

Polis said Tuesday that residents and staff of 97% of Colorado’s skilled nursing facilities have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The remaining 3% are expected to begin their vaccination programs, which are coordinated through a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens, this week.

Polis also said the state remains on track to vaccinate 70% of Coloradans over the age of 70 by the end of February.

Can’t see the video? Watch on the governor’s Facebook page.

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