DENVER — Strong words from Gov. Jared Polis in his coronavirus address on Tuesday. Polis said going to large gatherings right now is extremely irresponsible. He even said it was akin to driving drunk.
“No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid,” Polis said. “But, I’m calling on Coloradoans to not be stupid.”
“This is more like drunk driving than it is like juggling knives the privacy of your own home. Two examples right? Juggling knives in the privacy of your own home, not the brightest thing to do. You might hurt yourself, but you’re just hurting yourself,” Polis said. “When you’re drunk driving you are putting yourself at risk but you are also putting innocent life at risk.”
The governor said he and the state’s top public health experts look at four metrics when thinking about the next steps:
- Predictive Model from the CU School of Public Health
- Hospital capacity
- Growth in cases
- Testing results
Polis said he’s trying to balance facets of the economy like tourism while also managing public health.
“A health setback is an economic setback,” Polis said. “We act to save lives and we act to ensure a robust economic recovery.”
He said he is working with local jurisdictions.
Polis showed the below map and pointed out several counties in red, including El Paso County, are on turn around status. He said this is already taking into account the population in each county.
“The biggest part of whether we turn it around is what Coloradoans are doing,” Polis said.
The University of Colorado’s predictive model shows that social distancing is needed at a level of at least 55%, preferably 65%, to avoid overwhelming our hospital system.
The state health department said Colorado is seeing hospitalizations tick back up, and as of July 16, the state’s ICU bed capacity is stabilizing at 22% to 30%. Currently, Colorado’s new case average has exceeded 500 each day.
Several days last week showed new case counts of more than 600, close to what the state saw in April. These are all critical factors that are considered when making decisions about what Colorado needs to do to mitigate the spread of this virus, according to the state health department.
Watch the governor’s full press conference: