Mar 25, 2020
Colorado Governor Coronavirus Update March 25: Jared Polis Issues Stay-At-Home Order
Governor Jared Polis: (00:05)
Thanks everyone for being here. According to latest numbers, and these numbers will go live shortly on our updated website, with regard to the COVID virus in Colorado, we have 1,086 diagnosed cases, likely thousands undiagnosed. We have 148 hospitalizations, that number has doubled since yesterday. 36 counties, and we have 19 deaths. And, as we always do when we make our remarks, we are all expressing our condolences and hold the hearts of those families and their friends who are suffering loss in our hearts at this time.
Governor Jared Polis: (00:45)
These numbers are continuing to grow here in Colorado. Moments ago, I signed a letter to the President asking him to declare a major disaster area for the state of Colorado to help us deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s been granted for California, Washington, and New York, and we have made the request for major disaster status because Colorado is near the top in terms of cases per capita with a uniquely high situation unfolding in our mountain communities as well as for those who have recently visited many of our mountain communities that are ground zero. This major disaster declaration, when granted, will open up additional federal resources for medical care and housing and disaster management that we need. And I call upon President Trump to grant this immediately.
Governor Jared Polis: (01:34)
To every thing there’s a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to break down, and a time to build up.
Governor Jared Polis: (01:50)
Many of you who are watching here today know these wise words as chapter three of Ecclesiastes. Others know them as the basis of a lyric for a Pete Seeger song. What’s important is, is that we’re a diverse state here in Colorado. And while some people recognize the power of these words as the Bible, others recognize it as a Pete Seeger song, others recognize it as both and others recognize it as neither. It’s important for you to know that I’m speaking to all of Colorado when I say that now is the time to stay at home.
Governor Jared Polis: (02:27)
The numbers are telling us and the data is telling us that while we’ve made progress on increasing social distancing, that progress is not enough. And that’s why I’m acting today to issue a stay-at-home order that begins Thursday, March 26th at 6:00 in the morning and last until Saturday, April 11th, 2020. This full order will be released by midnight tonight to take effect tomorrow morning. This means that we are taking every step we can to limit the spread of the virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (02:59)
Why now? Look, we requested that Coloradans follow this step and we cut down workplace density. And while social isolation has increased and distancing has increased, it’s not yet reached the number that we need to save lives and contain the spread of the virus, which is why we are resorting to this measure, this extreme measure, at this time, to make sure that people know that they need to stay in their homes whenever possible.
Governor Jared Polis: (03:27)
Many county health departments are acting in different ways proactively to contain the crisis. As county health departments act, it creates a regional and a statewide issue when more and more people are going to fewer and fewer stores and retailers and work in fewer and fewer locations, creating a greater public health crisis.
Governor Jared Polis: (03:46)
We saw a similar issue in our mountain communities where after Alterra and Vail resorts announced their decision to close, we couldn’t have a situation where more and more people were going to fewer and fewer smaller resorts to recreate without creating a public health crisis. Finally, we need time. We need time to build a hospital capacity, acquire the ventilators that we need to save lives. We also are acting to minimize the disruption to jobs and the economy.
Governor Jared Polis: (04:16)
By acting boldly now, we can limit the duration of this economic crisis rather than have to suffer through additional restrictions on workplace and free commerce for a long period of time, we can effectively contain this virus by engaging in these measures now and returning to normal sooner rather than later.
Governor Jared Polis: (04:37)
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, we’re issuing the stay-at-home order to save lives. To save lives. Could be your aunt or your uncle, could be your parent, could be your grandparent, could be your own life that is saved by these strong actions that we are taking now. And by the way, when we’re talking about saving lives, we’re not talking about one or two lives, we’re talking about thousands of Coloradans lives, perhaps tens of thousands of Coloradan lives that will be saved by these actions that we are taking today.
Governor Jared Polis: (05:20)
Now, what does this mean? The stay-at-home order means that individuals should only interact with your own households and only leave your household when you absolutely need to. That means that, of course, the facilities that we need to access are staying open. That means, of course, grocery stores just as in Denver. It also means liquor stores. You don’t need to rush those. They’re staying open throughout this. Restaurants are continuing to deliver and do take out. It just means that those nonessential stores, many of which have been closed for days, will be closed across our state as will the workplaces that are not critical for this effort.
Governor Jared Polis: (05:58)
In order for this effort to be effective, this is going to need to be clear and concise for all Coloradans to obey. Whether you read and contemplate Ecclesiastics, whether you listen to and contemplate Pete Seeger, whether you don’t like either of them or whether you like both of them or whether you don’t even know who either of them are, we all need to obey this public health order. The rule of law is the foundation of our society. This order is now the law. Temporarily and under extreme circumstances and without any pleasure on my behalf for enacting it, it’s the step that we need to take because it is the season. The season for staying at home to save lives.
Governor Jared Polis: (06:55)
Coloradans, of course, can leave their homes for activities that you need to live by. That means obtaining food, household necessities, going to and from work if you’re an essential employee, seeking medical care, caring for dependents, family members, pets, caring for a vulnerable person in another location.
Governor Jared Polis: (07:18)
And again, I encourage you to contact vulnerable people you know because we are also, as we did several days ago and last week, requesting that all Coloradans who are vulnerable, Coloradans in their sixties seventies and eighties, those who have respiratory issues, please stay at home at all times unless you are seeking medical care. And again, that means that if you know people in your community that meet that criteria, please offer to shop for them, leave the groceries at the doorstep and do what they need so that they can remain isolated. They are at higher risk. But to be clear, we are all at risk from this virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (07:57)
Over 7,000 Italians of all stripes of society from famous, wealthy Italians, to day laborers, to the very young, to the very old, have all fallen victim to this virus, and we can’t allow thousands of Coloradans to meet the same fate. Generations ago, our forefathers made great sacrifices, the greatest generation, on the beaches of Normandy, Iwo Jima, for mothers who sacrificed for country by turning in their pots and pans, children turning in their toys, farmers turning in their farm equipment to be melted down for the war effort. Now, our generation is being called upon to sacrifice to save the lives of our fellow Coloradans and our fellow Americans. And that sacrifice is staying at home. And that is a sacrifice for those who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
Governor Jared Polis: (08:49)
And we can take this action today knowing that the federal government has taken action or will take action shortly. They’ve reached an agreement to ease that burden. I’m proud to say that they’ve taken action that will every family earning up to $75,000 a year, $150,000 for a couple, will receive an immediate cash payment. In addition, we will make sure that there’s unemployment that was added by $600. So, they have stepped up. The federal government has stepped up to say, “Look, if you can’t go to work because of this, we know that that’s what we need to do for a few weeks, and you will be compensated for that sacrifice.” But you need to stay home and do your part. I need to stay home and do my part. We all need to stay home and do our part wherever possible and only leave under the circumstances that we need to for the essentials that we need to get by.
Governor Jared Polis: (09:44)
The personal responsibility piece is critical. We have a responsibility to ourselves, our fellow Coloradans and our fellow Americans to reduce the spread of the virus and to save lives. And I’m proud of everybody who’s taking this seriously. The patriotism of those who are taking this seriously will save the lives of countless Coloradans. Coloradans you may never see or know, and your friends, your relatives, your neighbors, and perhaps yourself. And when you must go out, we want you to be safe when you’re doing it.
Governor Jared Polis: (10:20)
At the state level, we’re focused on keeping all Coloradans and safe. Yesterday, I sent a letter to grocery executives. Today, I had conversations with the top executives at Safeway and King Soopers about the specific steps that they’re taking to prioritize the health and safety of customers and workers and do their part to reduce the spread of the virus. That means providing the appropriate personal separation devices, screens, masks and gloves to workers at grocery stores as soon as they’re available. It means expanding grocery delivery services and drive-by and pickup services. It means the daily-designated time periods where if the most vulnerable have to go out, they can go out in a less crowded environment. It means establishing the controls around the crowds-
Governor Jared Polis: (11:03)
Crowded environment. It means establishing the controls around the crowds and distancing to make sure people stand in a line or at least six feet apart at all times. It means prioritizing that our state law enforcement resources will be available to help keep those grocery stores safe and support the presence of local law enforcement officials at those locations. It also means our grocers are acting to make sure that their own employees that might be more vulnerable, their older employees and those with preexisting conditions can be in positions in the back room and stocking and not as exposed as others.
Governor Jared Polis: (11:35)
I’m also calling upon municipalities in our state to temporarily suspend plastic bag fee ordinances for 30 days because we want to encourage the use of plastic bags as opposed to reusable bags, to help further reduce the spread of COVID-19. As this pandemic continues, we look forward to the federal government completing their work on the bipartisan package that includes $600 additional per week, unemployment benefits, as well as extending the time that individuals can collect unemployment benefits to 39 weeks.
Governor Jared Polis: (12:14)
There’s also $300 billion in loans and grants to small businesses across the country, including those whose temporary closure is necessitated under this order. Individual Americans also receive $ 1,200 indirect payments, up to $150,000 in income for a couple with an additional $500 per child. There’s a sliding scale it actually goes up to $200,000 of household income with some direct payments.
Governor Jared Polis: (12:42)
So again, stay home. You will get that check from the federal government, they’ve reached a bipartisan deal. It’s a formality, it will pass. It might’ve even passed the Senate or will soon it’ll pass the house. When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump agree you know that it’s important. And that’s what I’m also saying with this stay at home order. It doesn’t matter what your political persuasion is, what your geography is, the virus doesn’t care, but we all care about the lives of our loved ones and we need to do every thing that we can to reduce its spread in Colorado.
Governor Jared Polis: (13:19)
In addition to the disaster I’ve also called on the president of Grand Colorado dual-status commander authority, which we hope to receive soon. This designation will ensure unity of command allowing regular federal military units to be under the control of a single commander and help eliminate confusion and conflict to better deploy the people who are already on the ground.
Governor Jared Polis: (13:40)
And I also want to thank the army Corps of engineers. I just talked to their commanding general hours ago. They’re on the ground in Colorado helping to build and expand hospital capacity. The steps that we are taking to delay the spread will give us that time and buy us that time that we need to increase the supply of medical services to the 10% or so of those who contracted Coronavirus, who require medical intervention to save their lives. At the peak of the crisis, we expect any thousands more hospital beds, and we hope that by reducing the spread of the virus and by you staying at home, we’re having the time that allows us to do that.
Governor Jared Polis: (14:23)
The Army Corps Of Engineers is also helping with planning and integration of department of defense medical assets that are becoming available and we’re very grateful for that help. As many of you know, we are also working hard on acquisition and distribution of personal protection equipment and I’m proud to say that Coloradans are rising to that challenge. Over the weekend, Coloradans donated 30 pallets, four truckloads of personal protective equipment. Thank you to Colorado House, majority leader, Alec Garnett, house minority leader, Patrick Neville, the Denver Broncos, Project Cure and Colorado Concern for helping to generate those donations.
Governor Jared Polis: (14:58)
Over 7,000 volunteers have signed up at helpcoloradonow.org. And I encourage you to go to helpcoloradonow.org. If you can sign up to help with your time, you list your specialty, your expertise, not just those in the medical professions, of course, if you’re in the medical professions and retired or in a different field, please sign up, but we need people across a variety of sectors.
Governor Jared Polis: (15:21)
But also if you have a company that can help, if you’d like to make an individual contribution or to expand resources, the COVID-19 Relief Fund is already over $6 million and you can donate at helpcoloradonow.org. Top priority, providing childcare to those who are in the essential workforce to make sure that first responders and medical personnel are able to go to work with the schools out because we need them to save lives.
Governor Jared Polis: (15:53)
I’m proud to announce that the state lab in Colorado has eliminated it’s testing backlog. We’ve tripled our testing capacity. I want to thank Dr [ Trevante 00:16:00], Dr [Totem Shannon Emansiger 00:05:02] and Dr Eric France and everyone at the lab for their hard work, but we know that no one lab is enough. We’ve conducted seven mobile testing sites to date. There’s new labs coming online rapidly. CU, CSU, university hospital, children’s.
Governor Jared Polis: (16:21)
We’re in the process of distributing 4,500 test kits to local public health agencies and we’re doing additional community based testing sites and supporting them in Fort Collins, in Grand Junction and Colorado Springs and we are in talks in real time every moment about scaling up testing in Colorado, which is why this last Sunday we stood up the innovation response team task force to develop a statewide system for mass testing and rapid results, to develop mobile and other technologies to track the spread of the virus and support infected citizens and citizens under quarantine for exposure. To create a suite of services for citizens under isolation and quarantine. To develop locally sourced, manufactured alternatives and to secure critical medical supplies in the global supply chain. These are private sector folks that we brought in at the highest level that are doing an amazing work for our state and I want to thank them.
Governor Jared Polis: (17:21)
On Sunday, we announced that OraLabs, a personal care products company and Parker has retooled their business to make hand sanitizer, and yesterday they already made a delivery to Children’s Hospital and they’re making 20,001 ounce units of sanitizer a day. I also showed you an example of the face shields being manufactured by Genesis Plastics in Greeley and the 3D printed headbands that can be made with 3D printers across our state.
Governor Jared Polis: (17:46)
I want to give a special shout out to CSU and CU Boulder who have committed to organize testing of personal protection equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations. As we push through those global supply chains and as we seek to manufacture here at home, thank you to CU and CSU for stepping up to test all of those masks, all of those gloves, all of those gowns, so we can make sure that they meet the requirements that are needed without having to go through a federal bill, federal bureaucracy, to be able to be deployed immediately in the field.
Governor Jared Polis: (18:19)
CSU and a network of academic labs will be testing newly made personal protection equipment. And right now the turnaround time at FDA for testing is months, so that’s not a viable option, we need it now. Our Colorado labs can test equipment within hours, eliminate federal red tape and make sure that we can get this material into the hands of medical professionals and after that need is met the broader population including the grocery stores and others as soon as possible.
Governor Jared Polis: (18:47)
Speed is of the essence as the number of cases continue to grow. We surpassed 1000 cases today diagnosed, many thousands undiagnosed in our state, staying at home will reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. I’m proud of the work that’s already being done, and I’m proud that we brought in additional expertise. In addition to Brad Feld who’s coordinating private sector activities, Noel Ginsburg who’s focused on manufacturing, I want to introduce two new members of the team.
Governor Jared Polis: (19:19)
Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder of the National Center For Women Information Technology. Lucy, who I’ve known for many years is going to head up isolation services, to provide people who are in self isolation or home quarantine, both the critical supplies, that might mean food, it might mean their prescription drugs, it might mean access and also ancillary services to make their at-home experience as comfortable as possible to increase compliance.
Governor Jared Polis: (19:47)
Also, want to say that we’re proud to have the efforts of Tim Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Rally Software who’s heading our software development team on an emergency basis. The objective is to build applications and websites for both government and citizens to manage all aspects of the crisis and provide the key data we need to track and adjust our response as needed.
Governor Jared Polis: (20:09)
In fact, part of the very decision making process around the stay at home order is from the mobility data that Tim has been able to put together a working model in very short time to see the steps that we are taking, how much they are increasing social distancing in a real time basis. What closing down the bars and restaurants accomplished, what Denver’s emergency order accomplished, what the additional steps of closing down salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors has accomplished and what these steps will accomplish. It’s just important from a backward looking perspective as a forward looking perspective, as we all look forward to easing these restrictions and ending these restrictions as soon as possible.
Governor Jared Polis: (20:55)
One area that continues to be on my mind as a challenge is acquiring enough ventilators. Right now we’re several thousand short of what we need for the peak, the peak that we are seeking to delay by engaging in these emergency actions, but the peak that will nevertheless be upon us. Unfortunately, our latest delivery from the national stockpile had zero ventilators.
Governor Jared Polis: (21:19)
My innovation response team is working as hard as they can to identify manufacturers and supply chains, but consider this a call to arms for the private sector, we need your creativity. We need your help to be able to beat these goals. We need manufacturers in our state to join this cause and help us produce ventilators and acquire ventilators through the supply chain that can save the lives of our neighbors, our friends, our parents, our grandparents, and maybe even yourself. Look, Americans have been called on to serve our country time and time again. You have the chance to be a hero and save thousands of lives by staying at home.
Governor Jared Polis: (22:03)
… sense of lives by staying at home. The lives of many Coloradans, the lives of your neighbors, your friends, your family, and perhaps your own, hinges on your ability to be able to stay at home for the next couple of weeks to the most of your ability. That’s what we are asking and we want to occur across the state of Colorado. That goes for everyone.
Governor Jared Polis: (22:28)
We’re all in this together. We’ll continue to look for both public and private sector solutions that allow us to address the public health crisis and minimize the disruption to our economy by easing these restrictions and returning to a normal market economy as quickly as we possibly can.
Governor Jared Polis: (22:49)
The most important and responsible thing for you to do for your state, for your country, for the lives of those around you, and because it is now, the law of Colorado, is to stay at home unless it’s absolutely necessary through April 11th.
Governor Jared Polis: (23:08)
“To everything there’s a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die.” And I want to share with my fellow Coloradans that now is not the time to die and we will not let it happen on our watch.
Governor Jared Polis: (23:26)
Happy to take questions.
Speaker 1: (23:28)
Governor, I guess the question is, why today? What changed between Sunday and this afternoon when you issued this order? You did this after the mayor of Denver issue disorder and virtually every major health department in Metro Denver. What changed between Sunday and today?
Governor Jared Polis: (23:46)
We have real data of the measures that we’ve taken with regard to closing bars and closing restaurants, with regard to closing salons, and now with regards to the 50% reduction in the workforce, which went into effect yesterday, has had a positive effect on increasing social distancing and decreasing social interactions. However, it is not as had a sufficient effect that is needed to reduce the spread of the virus such that we have the time that we need to scale our response capacity in hospital beds and ventilators to ensure that Coloradans don’t die for lack of equipment.
Speaker 2: (24:24)
Is there a timeline that you have that you are hearing for when we could see the peak of the number of cases? When you talk about we could be short thousands of ventilators and thousands of hospital beds, is there a timeline that health experts that you’re speaking with are telling you about when that could happen?
Governor Jared Polis: (24:39)
We will need to see the impact of this data, of what happens with this order in the next few days. The more that we can push it out and the more that Coloradans comply, the better position we’ll be in to meet the healthcare needs of Coloradans. The steps that have been taken to date are important. This step is also important in being able to put off that date. We’ll have data on the compliance with this in the next few days, how much it reduces those social interactions. The more Coloradans can stay at home, the more time it buys us to be able to get the beds we need to experience the needs that we know are on their way here in Colorado.
Speaker 2: (25:16)
From what you’re hearing, are you hearing from talking with the hospitals, from talking to health experts? Are you hearing days, weeks? What are you hearing until those hospitals are overcrowded to capacity?
Governor Jared Polis: (25:26)
It’s not simply a matter of overcrowding. We need lifesaving equipment including ventilators as well as health care professionals. We’ve called upon those, and I call upon again those who have medical training but are out of the field or retired. Now’s the time to contact your former employer or sign up at helpcoloradonow.org to be able to make sure that you’re able to redeploy.
Governor Jared Polis: (25:47)
It’s space, it’s equipment, it’s personnel. We need time for all of those, and that’s what this order buys us. It buys us the time that we need to save lives in our state and reduce the spread of the virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (26:03)
We’ll go to a phone after this. Yeah, go ahead.
Speaker 3: (26:05)
When you’re talking April 11th, it makes it sound like you’re expecting a peak to be sometime between now and April 11th, is that true? And if it is so, are the doctors or the experts in the hospital field telling you what they think will be the peak?
Governor Jared Polis: (26:20)
April 11th is the date in this order. If we can ease these restrictions sooner, no one, no one would be happier than me to roll off these restrictions earlier and let people return to earning a living and running their businesses and supporting themselves. It’s also possible that it could take longer, and we’ll make that call based on the real data that we receive up through that date.
Governor Jared Polis: (26:44)
Telephonic question, please.
Gary Brode: (26:49)
Governor, Gary Brode, Denver 7 News. You have [inaudible 00:26:53] however you not make that mandate yet. Will you do that across the state? And if you do, what will you do to help out some of the larger landlords but all business landlords including [inaudible 00:27:04]?
Governor Jared Polis: (27:12)
Okay. I had a little trouble hearing that. We’ll try and get that fixed for the next one.
Governor Jared Polis: (27:17)
There is help in the federal bill and we’ve issued guidance where no eviction notices are to be enforced in the state of Colorado for the next 30 days. We also think there’s time for that check. That $1,200 check. It could be a $2,400 check. If you have kids, it could be even more from the federal government to arrive. That should hopefully go a long way towards making people whole, who aren’t able to go to work for a week or two.
Governor Jared Polis: (27:43)
But look, this is a real tough economic challenge, but you can’t separate the economic challenge from the health challenge. If we don’t take these actions that we are taking today, and frankly, if you don’t stay home, this will create a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption, greater loss of jobs, for a longer period of time.
Speaker 4: (28:07)
Governor, on Sunday you said there is no law enforcement authority that has a position in any city or state enforce these. How are you going to enforce this? And then also with that statement, make it more difficult for you to get people to pay attention to this because you’re saying it’s not their [inaudible 00:28:21] enforcing it?
Governor Jared Polis: (28:22)
I think that people care most about their lives and their lives of their loved ones and that’s why we are making appeal to do the right thing. Just as in World War II, families did the right thing by melting down their household appliances, farmers turning in their farm equipment. We’re asking you to do the right thing because it’s the right thing, because it saves lives and because it’s the law of the state of Colorado. Please stay at home.
Speaker 5: (28:48)
Governor, there are nine outbreaks in the state, yet the state is not releasing where those outbreaks are. Can you explain to Coloradoans why the state is not releasing where outbreaks are and should that be public information?
Governor Jared Polis: (29:04)
Our goal is to release as much information as we can. Our COVID website updates at least daily with regard to, not only the cases, but a very easy to access a case map. Covid19.colorado.gov is that website. As we have time to be able to provide more information, we certainly will. And of course, the people that are in and around anybody who might be exposed has the proper protocols in place to be warned and for that awareness to be generated. And of course, to the extent we can be more transparent, we’ll be happy to put that in motion to do so in the coming days.
Speaker 6: (29:43)
You said it was two weeks ago that you hope to have seven to nine drive-up testing sites around Colorado. What happened to that?
Governor Jared Polis: (29:51)
We have been so disappointed by the lack of testing supplies. This is so frustrating because the only real way to address this virus in a way that we can return to life’s normal, sooner rather than later, and that means socially normal, it means economically normal for your jobs, is what South Korea has done and it’s what Taiwan has done. And it’s what we need to do here as soon as possible, and that is scale up testing.
Governor Jared Polis: (30:16)
Testing has four functions and we’re really only meeting two of those four today. One is clinical testing. If you’re admitted for a medical reason, yes, you need the test. And by the way, if you have flu-like symptoms at home, you do not need a test. You need to isolate at home. You only need the test if you need to be hospitalized because you’re having difficulty breathing or other symptoms that require immediate medical attention.
Governor Jared Polis: (30:41)
One is clinical. The second is epidemiological. That’s we’ve had drive-thru test sites throughout the state. There’s been other county health departments who have stood them up. The third is screening and the fourth is mass testing. Those are the two that we need to gear up to be able to do thousands, and then tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of tests every day, every week for a screening, which is the next step. That means healthcare workers, grocery workers, those who account or others could be screened for the virus.
Governor Jared Polis: (31:10)
We currently screen in some areas for proxies for the virus. For instance, when you enter this facility, our emergency operations center, your temperature was taken. We have implemented that. That was one of the first executive orders for assisted-living facilities and senior facilities. They’re administering similar protocols for temperature. But we’d rather move from a proxy to an actual test with regard to screening, and then of course the only real solution mass testing. That’s why we brought this top level team on board at the innovation center to be able to scale Colorado to be the first state in the nation, or one of the first, to be able to lead the way to a return to normal activity by having screening and testing for the virus.
Speaker 7: (31:52)
Governor, what is the state doing now with local jurisdictions shelter those without homes and combat the virus among that population?
Governor Jared Polis: (31:59)
We support all of our local jurisdictions in supporting the needs of the homeless at this time. We’re in coordination through our Department of Human Services with the food banks, with other emergency service providers. There, of course, many in the homeless community that also are particularly at risk because their preexisting health conditions, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to support our nonprofits and our frontline local communities and helping to meet that need. We’ll go to a telephone question.
Speaker 8: (32:31)
Governor, this is John [inaudible 00:32:32] down here in Pueblo for Polk, Colorado. Coloradoans are frustrated that the state has not provided [inaudible 00:32:46] six or seven days and they can not get a clear picture of what’s happening down here. What can you tell local public health directors how quickly can we get the results and when can they start to get a real picture on the ground of what’s happening here?
Governor Jared Polis: (32:58)
Yeah. We just sent-
Governor Jared Polis: (33:02)
Yeah, we just sent 4,500 tests out to local health care providers. In addition, some of them are doing their own drive-through testing. And then we have the mobile lab, which has been in Montrose, it’s been in Gunnison, it’s been all over. So there are dozens of facilities across our state that are doing testing every day. That’s increasing by the moment. The state lab has at least tripled its processing capacity. Those test processing are being brought on board with UC health and CU and CSU Children’s and others. So that is rapidly increasing.
Governor Jared Polis: (33:37)
What is important is that if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, you stay at home. Now, let me tell you two things here. If you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, the folks we’re testing, about 15% or so … 15% have coronavirus, the other 85% have other ailments. So if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, if you have not directly been exposed to somebody who has corona virus, there’s probably about an 80, 85% chance you have something else, about a 15% chance you have corona virus. It doesn’t matter, but call for medical attention if you need it. Whether it’s because you have influenza or corona virus, if you need medical attention, please call. In the meantime, isolate at home, including separating yourself from other family members to avoid contagion.
Speaker 11: (34:21)
Governor, there’s such a mosaic now of different orders coming out and so forth. Can you explain to Coloradans [inaudible 00:34:30] Arapahoe County or San Miguel. How are people suppose to [inaudible 00:34:34]?
Governor Jared Polis: (34:34)
Well, it’s certainly part of the order is we are encouraging local health departments to do what they need to do with regard to the community with the situation on the ground. There has been this effective kind of stay at home order that closed your retail stores in Colorado for over a week. In counties like San Miguel, Gunnison, other counties have added it like Pitkin and Denver. This is now a statewide need. Because of the confusion around jurisdictions, because of people who live in one area and commute to another and not knowing what they’re supposed to do, because of the conflicting actions that are taken and also because of the controversy around the way that the Tri County action was taken, we want to set that aside. And people can talk about whether the what they did was correct or how they did it or how they wanted them to do it, but what we really want to say, unambiguously, is stay home whenever possible for every Coloradan to save lives. We’ll go to a phone question.
Kate Schimel: (35:37)
This is Kate Schimel with CPR News. I’m wondering what data did you look at beyond state [inaudible 00:35:44] to make the decision to revise the stay at home order? What told you that the measures weren’t working anymore as needed?
Governor Jared Polis: (35:53)
We of course are seeing over a thousand cases in Colorado. We’re also looking at the data that’s available, metadata, which means data through data partners that include things like people that are moving around with cell phones and how much they’re moving when people are pinged, real time traffic data, the department of transportation is able to provide. So various sources of metadata including some that have been reported on by New York Times and others, some of which are available through subscriptions that we are increasingly refining our ability to integrate into our state model to find out what the real impact is of these social distancing measures. But the bottom line is, I don’t have the comfort level that the existing extreme measures that we’ve taken to date are enough to buy us the time we need to save lives here in Colorado.
Speaker 9: (36:47)
Governor, just as you provided guidance around order on evictions, we also haven’t seen anything from you with any teeth dealing with prisons reducing populations or how those facilities should be managed. [crosstalk 00:37:01].
Governor Jared Polis: (37:01)
There was, on jails yesterday, I believe. [Adio 00:04:06], Maria, did that go out, jails yesterday? So we’ll get that to you. There’s a lot of paperwork coming through right now, so if you missed it, I apologize. Yeah, it got announced. There was a press release in your inbox. If you were omitted, it’s our fault. If you missed it, it’s not your fault cause I know you’re getting a million things, Alex, but it did go out. Phone, please.
Matt Mauro: (37:36)
Hi, Governor. It’s Matt Mauro with Fox31. Quick question. How will you know when Colorado is over the hump and in a state to ease it forward, whether it’s before the 11th or after that?
Governor Jared Polis: (37:47)
Yeah. I really hope that it’s before April 11th. I fear that it could be after April 11th, but let us all be hopeful. Let us share the President’s vision of us being able to, on Easter Sunday, be able to go to our places of worship and join in fellowship. That’s an aspirational goal. That’s a hopeful goal. But whether or not we reach that won’t be determined by our dreams and aspirations. It will be determined by the hard data about the mobility, about the spreading of the virus, about the better realtime testing results that we have here in Colorado. And we’ll make an informed decision to end restrictions on the economic activity and social activity of our residents as soon as we possibly can consistent with the goal of preventing loss of thousands of lives here in the state of Colorado.
Speaker 10: (38:39)
Governor, you said that we are thousands of ventilators short. [Inaudible 00:38:51].
Governor Jared Polis: (38:50)
We are working on the timeline for those ventilators. So it’s not a question of if this virus will peak here in Colorado, it’s a question of when. We need the time to be able to acquire thousands of ventilators and build out the beds we need and activate the workforce we need to support the medical intervention that’s necessary to save the lives of about one out of every 10 people who contract this virus. Take one more question from the telephone and then one more from the room. Telephone.
Kate Schimel: (39:22)
This is Kate Schimel from CPR News again. I’m wondering is you could share any more information on the outbreak? Are we seeing any concentrations of death the way we did in Seattle in senior nursing facilities?
Governor Jared Polis: (39:36)
Our heart goes out to every one of the families of the 19 Coloradans who have passed away from this virus. We took early action in Colorado to do what we can to protect our senior nursing facilities. While it certainly could happen, we haven’t had the kind of thing in Washington where 17 people at one facility died. We have reduced the likelihood of that occurring here, but that is still a threat. That’s why we’re again saying that the most vulnerable population needs to stay at home at all times unless absolutely necessary. Final question from the room. Jesse?
Governor, there’s a lot of scared Coloradans out here right now and people who don’t know what to do, don’t know what to think. Any message for the people about how we should feel, what they can do to stay calm?
Governor Jared Polis: (40:24)
It’s not about fear. It’s not about anxiety. We are going to get through this together. We want to get through this sooner rather than later. We want to make sure that we can assure you that if you get the virus, we’ll have a bed for you and we’ll have a ventilator for you and we’ll do our best in the hospitals and the nurses and the doctors will do their best to save your lives. And all we’re asking is for you to stay at home to the extent you can, as much as possible for the next couple of weeks to buy us that time we need.
Governor Jared Polis: (40:55)
Since we opened with Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, I’ll end with the Pete Seeger version. To everything turn, turn, turn. There is a season turn, turn, turn and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap, a time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time of love, a time of hate, a time of war, a time of peace. A time to gain, a time to lose, a time to rend, a time to sow. A time for love, a time for hate, a time for peace. I swear it’s not too late. And to all Coloradans, it’s not too late to act now, to stay home, to save lives.
Governor Jared Polis: (41:53)