BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
As of March 13, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis had held four press conferences to address the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on Coloradans. His emphasis was on mitigation and protection of the state’s most vulnerable residents.
“This is no successful effort in the United States of America to contain this virus. It’s here,” said the governor. Mitigation, as described by Polis and the nation’s foremost expert on the nature of this pandemic disease, Anthony Fauci, M.D., head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, is the goal once containment of the disease has failed, which is the case for COVID-19, according to all authorities. Mitigation is the set of acts taken to spread out the most serious cases of a disease over a period of time so as to allow affected patients to be treated “without potentially creating catastrophic overload to our statewide hospital system, including the number of available ventilators.” Polis continued, “When our public health system is overloaded, all of the other life-saving services that they provide are compromised. It affects their ability to other infectious diseases and even heart attacks and strokes.”
The state has taken several actions to support seniors. Those over 65 can renew their driver’s licenses online. Additionally, the state Department of Insurance has made provision for all seniors to get an extra month of their medications so as to avoid emergency trips to pharmacies, which could contain contagions from other patients. The governor also issued a general reminder that all patients should call ahead before reporting to a health care facility so as to protect health care workers and other patients.
After a few days with limited hours of drive-through testing in the Lowry area of Denver for patients whose doctors had confirmed that they met criteria for testing, Polis reported that 90 percent of those tested were negative for COVID-19.
Although there is widespread agreement that there are still an inadequate number of tests available nationwide, it appears that our state has fared better than others. The governor reported that “Over 10 percent of the tests given nationally have been given in Colorado.” There were 72 positive cases, eight of which required hospitalization, with three of those patients in critical condition as of noon on March 13.
Polis said that a hot spot for community spread is in the mountains, particularly Pitkin County, where 9 cases were all related to a single visitor from Australia. He advised travelers over 60 or with chronic conditions to avoid the high country, which has limited health facilities compared to the Denver area. Still, he pointed out several times, “Fully 80 percent of those who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms.”
Polis closed his fourth press conference with, “Leadership means telling the truth and making the calls that are scientifically indicated to protect our health, public safety, and the lives of our fellow Coloradans. Coloradans are resilient. We will get through this.”
Update: At a Mar. 16 press conference Gov. Polis announced that all Colorado restaurants and bars will be required to close beginning Tues. Mar. 17 and the order is in place for the next 30 days. The governor said “I am ordering no dine-in restaurants and bars but delivery, takeout and drive-thru will still be available.”
The governor mandated that all theaters, gyms, casinos in the state also close for 30 days.
Denver restaurants and bars will close all seating areas for the next 9 weeks, through May 11.
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