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Colorado's COVID-19 positivity rate surpasses 5%, Polis calls trend 'very alarming'

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Posted at 12:59 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-14 07:30:03-04

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday said Colorado's three-day positivity rate for COVID-19 testing has exceeded 5%, a key threshold health officials have warned would be too high in the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Polis called the data — more than 1,000 new cases Tuesday, a three-day positivity rate of 5.4%, and a one-day positivity rate on Tuesday of 6.4% — "very worrisome" and "very alarming."

The new cases Tuesday — an exact number will be released later in the afternoon — marked Colorado's highest daily caseload since March, Polis said, and the state also had more than 1,000 new cases on Saturday.

Polis also said Colorado was at 290 hospitalizations from COVID-19, the highest number the state has seen since May.

"We need to get this under control now," Polis said. "We have to get these numbers down. If these trends continue, our hospital capacity will be jeopardy."

Polis said Colorado is at "a critical juncture" with rising cases ahead of the holiday season, when families are likely to gather in larger groups. Polis urged Coloradans to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering in public. Polis this week is extending the state's mask mandate.

The governor's concerns Tuesday echoed those of Denver city officials, who warned Monday that Denver restaurants and businesses could face tighter restrictions again if city COVID-19 trends don't change.

Denver is also experiencing higher case counts, similar to those seen earlier in the pandemic, officials said.

Polis on Tuesday said the biggest COVID-19 increases have been seen in Adams and Denver counties. Boulder County's cases — where an outbreak of COVID-19 forced the University of Colorado Boulder to move to remote classes for two weeks — have seen a steep decrease, Polis said.