COVID-19 Response Update from Governor Polis

  • Newsroom
  • >
  • COVID-19 Response Update from Governor Polis

Today, Governor Polis was joined by State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy to provide an update on the latest COVID-19 modeling from CDPHE, and emphasized the importance of taking three important steps to slow the spread of the virus during the month of November: 1) Interact with only those in your household 2) Keep your distance 3) Wear a Mask.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Governor has been proud of Coloradans’ response. By no means have these last few months been easy, but we have risen to the challenge. Colorado was one of the first states to reopen our economies and by many standards, we have fared better than our neighboring states throughout the year.

However, we are experiencing a shift. We have now surpassed the hospitalization level we fought in March. And unfortunately, it is likely that we will surpass peak hospitalizations seen back in April over the next 24 hours.

The data provided a stark reminder to Coloradans that cases and hospitalizations continue rising at alarming and unsustainable rates:

  • Colorado has had three waves of illness:
    • Spring
    • Summer
    • Fall (current)
  • At this point, we are at our highest case count since the beginning of the pandemic:
    • Yesterday, over 3,000 (3,369) new positive cases were reported, the highest number reported in a single day.
  • As of today, we have exceeded our Spring peak of hospitalizations.
  • Disease rates vary by county, however, most counties in the state have experienced a rise in cases:
    • 53 Counties in local mitigation efforts
    • 28 Counties with Stay at Home levels of incidence
  • Every week our hospitalizations have increased faster than the previous week. 

Our healthcare system will be put at-risk if we remain on our current path of disease transmission, which projects that we could surpass our ICU hospital bed capacity in late December. At that point, hospitals would need to go into surge capacity.

We need to get back to doing what we know works best. Each of us has a responsibility to do our part by wearing masks, avoiding gatherings with people outside of our household, physically distancing, and washing our hands. So, let’s do it.


It is painfully apparent that Coloradans have become complacent over the last few weeks. Factors like lapses in following guidelines, more time indoors due to approaching colder weather, holiday season travel, and flu season, means that we must renew our commitment to taking life-saving precautions.

As part of the State of Colorado’s “Step Up” campaign, Governor Polis previewed a video that is out online and on television, sharing three key steps that Coloradans need to take during the month of November in order to slow the spread of this virus:

  1. Interact with only those in your household: This means we all need to do our best to avoid any social interactions with friends and family outside of our homes throughout the month of November. Of course Coloradans will continue essential activities like going to work.
  2. Keep your distance: Just because you’re wearing a mask does mean that you are not at-risk while interacting with others in close proximity. We need to do a better job of staying six or more feet away from others.
  3. Wear a mask: The numbers are clear. If you wear a mask, you have a much lower risk of getting or transmitting the virus.

In the video, Dr. Herlihy mentions the statistic that about 1 in 145 Coloradans in Denver are contagious with COVID-19. Today, that number is closer to 1 in 100, which demonstrates just how quickly the situation is changing. During the press conference, Dr. Herlihy also pointed out that Colorado’s hospitalizations have nearly reached the peak the state hit this Spring, and showed a visualization of the time lapse of one week incidence per 100,000 people over the past several weeks.

You can watch the video featuring Dr. Herlihy by clicking the button below, and view other
“Step Up” videos in English and Spanish here.


Governor Polis has a difficult message for Coloradans: Cancel your social plans. The Governor is tired of this virus too. There will be a day when we can all gather together again — without our masks, but we are not there yet.

The Governor encourages Coloradans to postpone social plans for the next few weeks — or even a month. This may sound like a daunting task, but if done together and immediately, we have the opportunity to change the trajectory of these trends for the end of the year.

It all comes down to the power of choice. Think twice before deciding to host a dinner party with a group of friends or choosing not to wear a mask when you’re around people from outside of your household. These decisions ultimately put yourself and others at risk, jeopardize efforts to reopen our economy, and make it that much harder for local businesses to remain open.

This is a wake up call. Let’s show the grit we need to bear down, cancel our social plans, avoid interactions with others, and get through this together.