After we saw declining numbers in May, COVID-19 cases rose rapidly again in Colorado in late June and July, just as businesses across the state started reopening and residents emerged to enjoy the summer. By late July, the state was seeing more than 600 new cases per day—higher than the previous peak in April—which led Gov. Polis to implement a statewide mandatory mask order and institute a 10 p.m. last call on alcohol for bars and restaurants.

Based on the most recent case data, it appears those measures are paying off. In his latest press conference on Tuesday, August 4, Polis announced the state had seen 426 new cases that day, signaling a downward trend. In total, 48,988 Coloradans have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and 1,717 have died due to the virus.

“The way you’ve lived the last two weeks, that’s what we have to have inside of us for the long haul,” Polis said. “Not the way June and July went, but more like the way May went.”

(Read More: The First Wave: Inside Colorado’s Initial Response to COVID-19)

While Polis did credit his own policies for encouraging case data, he noted that about 80 percent of the result depends on individual responsibility and whether or not Coloradans make safe choices. He also stressed that this is not a time to celebrate the success and relax—a mindset he says led to the last resurgence. “Just because we are plateauing doesn’t mean we’re still not in a very precarious situation,” he said. “It’s like a boulder sitting on top of a hill. One wrong move and it could go into a rockslide.”

The transmission rate of the virus in Colorado is now around one, Polis suspects, meaning that for every sick person, only one other person is being infected on average—a significant drop from what the state saw in March and April.

Colorado remains in the Safer at Home phase of its reopening, the details of which you can find here.

Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard
Jay Bouchard is a Denver-based writer and a former editor on 5280's digital team.