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These days, Gov. Jared Polis is more like a firefighter than an executive. He spends his time trying to keep the coronavirus blaze at bay, dousing the flames before they can flare out of control.
“There’s about a million fires every day,” he says. “Every moment there’s something going on, because it’s a constant race for the protection equipment we need for our workers—to make sure we have the plans in place for people to be safe and not become a huge outbreak spot.”
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On April 16, he spends most of his day trying to plan for the future, when Coloradans can get back to work and back to some semblance of normalcy. Polis is working to scale up testing by securing more swabs and reagents and putting together safety protocols to prevent COVID-19 from spreading out of control once restrictions start to be lifted.
The public health officials in his administration have made clear that they don’t want to loosen restrictions on Coloradans’ movement until more testing is available. Polis says he wants to get people back to work as soon as possible, calling his own mandates “severe.”
“I’m just making calls and working on the computer all day,” he says.
Those calls include ones with President Donald Trump about reopening plans, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about how to keep kids learning through the pandemic, and the head of the Food and Drug Administration about testing. Polis also speaks with Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and Fort Collins Mayor Wade Troxell to, he says, keep track of what’s happening on the ground.
But he’s also still a father and husband, too.
He makes spaghetti for the family while his dog, Gia, barks in the background as he speaks to a reporter. Like most Coloradans, he’s stuck inside, only leaving the house to brave the snow to take Gia for a walk.
“She did her business,” he says.
And like the rest of us Polis is making himself comfortable while working from home. He helps his kids with their distance learning. He walks around his living room while taking work calls. He wears shorts, putting on a shirt and tie for important video calls and television news interviews. —Jesse Paul / The Colorado Sun
This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. 5280 joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.