DENVER — Governor Jared Polis provided an update to Coloradans on the state’s response to COVID-19 and discussed more stringent guidelines for long-term care facilities to protect some of Colorado’s most vulnerable.
Right now, the stay-at-home order for Colorado is until April 26. Polis issued a new executive order requiring workers in critical businesses, including grocery store workers, to wear masks.
“This is not a vacation, it’s a pandemic, we need to treat it accordingly,” said Gov. Polis.
The governor also urging people to stay in their local area, keep a distance, continue to wear masks and avoid congregating on trails this weekend.
“With so many vulnerable individuals and front line health care staff in close contact, we want to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our state’s most vulnerable Coloradans and stop the spread of the virus within long-term care facilities,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We can’t thank Coloradans enough for their efforts to stay home and protect themselves and their neighbors, but we have to keep it up. I know how difficult this is for many people and I assure Coloradans that we’ll get through this together.”
The Governor and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an updated public health order that will require long-term care facilities to create a detailed isolation plan and submit it to CDPHE for review by May 1. The state will also be more focused on enforcement and compliance of the public health order, as well as providing more education and training to staff to keep these vulnerable communities safe. Critical protocols include restricting visitation to these facilities and requiring facilities to screen staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19 before they come to the facility. The Governor shared a video today on how to best conduct screenings.
Gov. Polis also announced that he is deploying the Colorado National Guard to conduct testing at the three largest nursing homes in the state, and we will be deploying additional testing and human resources to other facilities as needed. By early May, the state expects there will be 200 beds in Tier 3 facilities like the Denver Convention Center for isolation of seniors if their facilities can not provide these beds with a proper level of isolation.
Gov. Polis also signed an Executive Order to further protect workers and residents in these facilities, as well as many other critical industries. Executive Order D 2020 039 orders workers at critical businesses to wear non-medical face coverings while at work and wear gloves (if gloves are provided by an employer) when in contact with customers or goods.
The Governor also announced the first round of grants from the COVID Relief Fund. Help Colorado Now has received $21 million in grant applications and will be disbursing $4.8 million during the first round of grants to 206 organizations from 62 of 64 Colorado counties. Currently, the fund is at $12.2 million including $1.3 million from almost 7,000 donors.
Beginning on Monday, April 20, gig workers and independent contractors can begin applying for unemployment insurance. In addition, $600 per week in extra federal unemployment insurance from the CARES Act will start to show up in checks this week. For more details, visit Coloradoui.gov. The Governor also highlighted the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade for their quick work in getting Colorado businesses access to the Paycheck Protection Program, which offers forgivable loans for businesses that use the money on payroll. Colorado received the 12th most grants out of all 50 states from the program.
In response to data released earlier this week, Gov. Polis today established the COVID Health Equity Response Team to address racial inequities regarding positive cases and deaths related to COVID-19. This Response Team will:
- Ensure equity as a factor in decision-making around logistics and resources,
- Increase access to testing and care services,
- Ensure racial and ethnicity COVID-19 data are accessible, transparent and used in decision-making,
- And share time-sensitive information about how Colorado communities are experiencing particular challenges related to the COVID-19 response.
This team will be headed by Web Brown, the Director of the Office of Health Equity at CDPHE.
To view the Governor’s presentation click here.
FULL PRESSER HERE: