Governor announces at-home testing & preparations for booster shots

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Case spread and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are significantly lower in Colorado than the rest of the nation and on Tuesday, Sept. 21, Governor Jared Polis announced a new program to bolster the progress against the pandemic.

The state has purchased $2 million worth of Binax Rapid COVID-19 tests with plans to deliver them to homes and organizations who want them across the state.

“I’m just excited to get demand going because I know if these tests are in the field, being used, people are getting results back earlier, spreading the virus less, it will save lives and help end the pandemic,” Governor Polis said.

People can request the tests on the state’s website now, with a limit of 8 per household, though the Governor intends to keep meeting demand.

“If we go through these tests in three, four, five weeks we are absolutely going to look into how we might be able to continue the Binax at Home program,” Governor Polis said.

Colorado’s case spread is the sixth-lowest in the nation with hospitalizations also significantly below the national rate.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy pointed out a start trend of counties in Colorado that have high vaccination rates have low hospitalization rates. Weld, El Paso and Pueblo counties are the three of the problem areas along the Front Range.

A chart comparing vaccination rates and hospital rates in Colorado Counties from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Last week, Herlihy noted the beginning of a decrease in hospitalizations and says this week that patients admitted with COVID are indeed on the decline, though a slight one.

“We’re interpreting the data cautiously knowing this plateau that we’re seeing, this decline we’re seeing, could of course lead to an increase as we move back indoors as the weather changes here in Colorado,” Herlihy said.

A chart from CDPHE showing the current number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado.

The state prepares for major changes in the nation’s vaccination program as booster shots for older Americans and Americans who are immune-compromised are going forward at the same time as the Food and Drug Administration weighs emergency-use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged five to eleven.

“That is also a major way the virus continues to spread in our state because of a much lower level of protection [for younger children],” Governor Polis said, after announcing 8 children under the age of 11 have been hospitalized with COVID across Colorado.

The state is bolstering and setting up mass vaccination sites at several areas preparing for the demand of those programs, as well as an anticipated increase in people seeking the vaccine due to employer requirements.

It includes increasing the amount of vaccine at the Polis is urging the FDA to make that authorization a priority, should the Administration agree with Pfizer’s data.

“They need to review that data expeditiously meaning, look through it, schedule those meetings quicker. A difference of a few weeks can save lives,” Governor Polis said.

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