DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis on Monday extended the statewide stay at home order to April 26 – two weeks beyond the April 11 date it was set to expire – in a statewide-televised speech, saying it was the right thing to do to stop a prolonged economic shutdown and to prevent more deaths from the novel coronavirus.
Though President Donald Trump and the CDC have said that its guidance will last until April 30, Polis said that he hoped Colorado could lift some of its physical distancing orders before then as the state works to flatten the curve of the outbreak in Colorado.
“We are not just hoping, but working hard, to be able to end as many of these devastating limitations on movement and commerce as quickly as possible limitations on movement and commerce as quickly as possible,” Polis said.
But he said that if Coloradans don’t continue to adhere to the stay-at-home order through much of the month, that the order could be extended for longer to try to stave off an overload of the state hospital system.
“The data and the science tell us that staying at home, it is our best chance, our only change, to avoid a catastrophic loss of life – the deaths of thousands of our friends, our neighbors, our family members,” Polis said.
Polis said he was “beyond furious” the state had to shut down so many parts of the economy and put thousands of people at the job and that the United States hasn’t been able to test and respond on the scale that other nations, like South Korea, have.
But he said, as did health officials earlier in the day Monday, that officials are starting to see a slight flattening of the curve from some of the earliest measures taken by the state – closing bars and restaurants and limiting the size of gatherings. He thanked Coloradans for “truly helping to turn the tide against this virus.”
And as health officials also said earlier in the day, Polis said it was time for Coloradans to keep up their efforts to physically distance from one another, to wear masks when out in public and to stay home whenever possible.
Polis noted that hospitals and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on building out more capacity at existing facilities to try to implement the tiered treatment system Polis discussed last weeks for COVID-19 patients. The state sent a letter of intent to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Monday to lease the Colorado Convention Center to treat patients during the outbreak.
And he pleaded with Coloradans for patience and for them to stick to the good-heartedness they have shown so far in staying home.
“In these dark times, we all have a light to shine. And that light is the goodness within all of us,” Polis said. “…We need everyone to do their part. We need everyone to show that light. And when we do, as I know we will, we’ll find out way out of this darkness, and into the light of a brilliant new day.”