On Monday night, in his first televised statewide address as Colorado governor, Jared Polis announced he was extending the state’s stay-at-home order—which would have expired next weekend—through April 26. He also gave an update on the spread of COVID-19, which has killed 150 people in Colorado and hospitalized nearly 1,000. While the situation remains dire, Polis did offer some good news: According to the most recent data, stay-at-home orders and voluntary isolation have been working, slowing the spread of the virus and flattening the curve.
“The sheer size of this crisis has forced us to take a series of drastic measures that we would have thought unthinkable, unimaginable just a month ago,” Polis said during his address. “And in order to save lives and prevent more widespread economic damage, we must continue to take bold action….The reason for the April 26th date is very simple: Because the data and the science tells us that staying at home, it is our best chance, our only chance, to avoid a catastrophic loss of life—the deaths of thousands of our friends, our neighbors, our family members.”
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Polis’ announcement on Monday night followed a similar decision by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who extended the city-wide stay-at-home order through April 30 and expressed his appreciation to Denver residents who have been taking social distancing seriously. Here are several other major updates from the past few days:
Denver Public Schools, in conjunction with 13 other metro-area districts, announced Friday that in-person learning would not resume before the end of the school year, meaning remote learning will continue through the spring. The superintendents of Colorado’s five largest school districts were part of the announcement, which followed similar decisions by districts in Loveland, Fort Collins, and Gunnison the day before. Polis had ordered all schools to remain closed for in-person instruction through at least April 30.
As of Sunday, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) stopped collecting fare on trains and buses throughout Denver and started allowing passengers to board from the rear door, which is something drivers were calling for, in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19. RTD also announced it was temporarily suspending service on the 16th Street Free MallRide as well as the Free MetroRide. In other transit news, Denver’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure announced last week it was temporarily closing certain streets to cars so that pedestrians and cyclists would have an easier and safer way to get outside amidst the stay-at-home order.
If you were out running (hopefully essential) errands or walking this weekend, you may have noticed an increasing number of Coloradans donning masks—some high-tech, some homemade. That’s no coincidence. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention issued recommendations for all Americans to start wearing non-medical protective masks, or really anything (think: a bandana) over your mouth to prevent the spread of germs. On Friday, Polis held an unconventional press conference in which he took to the podium and spoke with a Colorado-themed mask on—an act that made national headlines—and urged Colorado to make mask-wearing the cool thing to do.
According to Colorado Public Radio, Fort Collins-based Woodward, Inc. was tapped by Gov. Polis to build low-cost ventilators in an effort to add to Colorado’s short supply. Woodward is an aerospace and industrial manufacturer best known for creating control systems for airplanes. This news comes as the state’s COVID-19 task force struggles to secure high-end ventilators from the federal government.