In his Wednesday press conference last week, the Governor spoke about the plan to re-open the State. He emphasized that things will be different than they were before, and implementing social distancing into our everyday lives will be necessary for a matter of months. Until Colorado builds immunity to COVID-19, whether it comes via a vaccine, herd immunity, or through scientists delivering an effective clinical treatment, the State will need to:
- Implement social distancing measures in an economically and psychologically sustainable manner,
- Ensure the capacity to care for those who are ill, both with COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related illnesses, without sacrificing the quality of care,
- Increase efforts to prevent infection in vulnerable Coloradans
The Governor outlined three stages for the State’s response to COVID-19: urgent, stabilization, and recovery. Colorado is currently in the urgent phase, but there is a plan to get to the stabilization and recovery phases, which the Governor discussed.
Working towards returning Colorado to a sustainable way of life that protects public health as well as the economy includes a strategy with key elements:
- Increasing the capability to protect Coloradans & communities through forms of testing & support for those who test positive or have been exposed.
- Increased testing
- Testing must be coupled with robust containment efforts locally, regionally, & statewide.
- Robust containment includes: expanded contact tracing capacity; increased epidemiology staff; expanded isolation support service
- Reducing the spread to vulnerable Coloradans who are at risk.
- Taking additional steps to protect nursing homes, senior care facilities.
- Action plan for responding to outbreaks as they occur
- Hospitals & health systems managing increased demand.
- Hospitals have internally increased beds
- New beds through additional alternative care sites:
- Ranch, Larimer County Fairgrounds & Events Complex
- Colorado Convention Center in Denver
- St. Anthony North in Westminster
- St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center in Pueblo
- Western Slope Memory Care in Grand Junction
- Businesses maintaining physical & social distancing.
- Non-critical businesses will need to engage in similar social distancing measures, which will be enforced, as the critical businesses are during this period of time including but not limited to wearing masks, physical distancing, staggering shifts, & allowing telecommuting to the extent practicable
Within the next few days, the State expects the data & science necessary to determine what level of suppression the stay-at-home order has achieved. Also within the next few days, the State expects to have the same data & science necessary to determine what level of ongoing social distancing Coloradans need to strive for to effectively manage the future spread of COVID-19.
The current guiding principles in our current decision-making include:
- Work to suppress the COVID-19 virus
- Create increased ability to conduct testing and containment
- Find all additional protections for those who are most at risk for COVID-19
- Enhance ability of health care system to handle increased demand
- Creating & implementing social distancing policies that can be sustainable
- Ongoing monitoring & evaluation of policies & their impact
Social distancing, closing restaurants and non-essential businesses, and the stay-at-home order have been working to help “flatten the curve” in our great State. Data is updated on the State COVID-19 website daily at 4PM.
Updates on Unemployment Benefits
Self-employed and contract workers are now able to apply for unemployment benefits starting today. Click here to file for unemployment if you are an independent contract worker, self-employed, a gig worker, or in any other similar employment situation.
The Small Business Association’s PPP program has been exhausted, and Congress has been gridlocked; therefore, the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade is pushing small business owners to this database for alternate funding resources for those in need.
Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is assisting businesses that are facing eviction. Learn more about DORA’s efforts here, and learn more about free legal aid for businesses affected by COVID-19 on Wednesday nights through the Justice Center.
Updates on Eviction Assistance
On March 20th, Governor Polis issued Executive Order 2020 012, which ordered CO state agencies to work with property owners, companies, and utility providers to limit eviction, foreclosures, and public disconnections while Colorado is in this state of emergency.
If you know you won’t be able to pay for these vital needs or are concerned about your ability to pay in the coming months, please click here to review the following steps that have been taken by both government and private industries to see how they may impact you. You can also find resources for assistance with payment of rent, mortgage, and utility bills by visiting www.211colorado.org or by dialing 211 on the phone.
Many statewide, regional and municipal utility companies have offered relief due to the current emergency, including:
● Suspension of service disconnections for delayed or missed payments;
● Waiving of reconnection fees;
● Suspension of fee accruals for late payment;
● Reinstatement of service for those recently disconnected for nonpayment;
● Implementation of low-income payment assistance program;
● Implementation of medical exemption policy to prohibit disconnections.
Thank you to everybody who has worked hard to help stop the spread of COVID-19, thank you to our first responders who are working tirelessly, and thank you to all who have volunteered and taken the time to help others during this difficult and uncertain time.
Please follow my Facebook page TracyForJeffco for daily updates, subscribe to my newsletter, and check my website for weekly updates. Do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions, comments, or concerns: