Gov. Polis provides update on Colorado’s COVID-19 response & vaccination progress

DENVER – Today, Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the State’s efforts to vaccinate Coloradans. Governor Polis was joined by Dr. Kit Kieling, President & COO of Orderly Health. 

In an effort to continue making the free COVID-19 vaccine as accessible as possible, today Governor Polis signed an Executive Order ensuring that the vaccine is free for Coloradans, and insurance status will not be used to deny or deprioritize any patient from getting the vaccine. The state wants to ensure there are no barriers to accessing the vaccine. The executive order directs the Colorado Division of Insurance to enact a rule regarding rates for COVID-19 vaccine administration. 

“The vaccine is free and there should be no barriers to receiving it when that time comes,” said Governor Polis. “Vaccines are the path back towards the Colorado we all know and love, and to ensure that can happen as quickly and easily as possible, our State must make sure the vaccine is accessible to all.” 

“We should all be proud of Colorado for hitting our target goal of vaccinating the majority of those in Phase 1A, meaning that a majority of our State’s high-risk healthcare workers have received at least their first dose of the vaccine,” said Governor Polis. “This victory means that our front line healthcare workers who have worked day in and day out to care for COVID patients have the protection they need to continue their commendable work until all of Colorado is vaccinated. Our State has also made significant efforts towards vaccinating our seniors ages 70 and older, who are at the greatest risk of dying from COVID and they now become our top focus.”

Governor Polis provided an update on how Colorado businesses experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic can receive the support they need. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs is continuing to manage the Small Business Relief Program. Through this $35 million program, local governments have been able to distribute grants to small businesses hurt by the pandemic. Small businesses that are interested but haven’t applied should reach out to their local government soon, as most applications are closing at the end of January. Visit cdola.colorado.gov/small-business-relief for more information.

“Orderly Health received $130,000 in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and with that, we took five full-time employees and expanded our company by hiring more Coloradans and creating a diverse talent pool,” saidDr. Kit Kieling, President & COO of Orderly Health. “Governor Polis, I appreciate the opportunity to share our experience and am thankful for the Paycheck Protection Program.” Orderly Health is a provider of a data management system that helps clients improve the accuracy of their healthcare data. 

Applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) reopened earlier this week. Colorado’s Office of Economic Development is working with the federal government to make sure our State’s businesses are getting access to these funds. Businesses can visit oedit.colorado.gov/covid19 for more information on how to apply. 

View today’s presentation and press conference

Gov. Polis provides update on Colorado’s COVID-19 response & vaccination progress

Governor Polis statement on CDC’s recommendation to expand COVID-19 vaccine to include 65 year olds or older

DENVER – Governor Jared Polis today reiterated Colorado’s commitment to vaccinating 70% of the state’s residents who are 70 and older by February 28th, 2021 along with completing the vaccination of our healthcare workers and first responders. 

The state is reviewing the announcement from the Trump administration of their updated guidance as well as actively engaging the incoming Biden administration to understand how they will approach prioritization and supply flow. 

Colorado will not be making any changes to our vaccine program until we can get concrete details on supply quantities, timelines for receiving that supply and engaging our partners who are on the ground administering the vaccine. While the state is not making any changes today, the Polis administration is actively planning how we can scale up and expand eligibility in anticipation for receiving more supply of vaccines.  

“I am very excited with the announcement that states will be receiving more vaccines in the near term. Here in Colorado, we have a broad current eligible population of over 562,000 people over 70 years of age and based on data-driven goals of saving lives and ending the pandemic, protecting this vulnerable population will have the biggest impact. Our broad focus on vaccinating those over 70 has been one of the reasons that Colorado is one of the top states for the vaccine to be successfully administered,” said Governor Polis. 

The Governor agrees that risk-based criteria saves lives. The Polis administration hopes to announce by next week updated plans based on information we do not yet have on new supplies the state of Colorado will receive. Governor Polis remains hopeful that the quantity of vaccines in the state will allow for expansion of the age criteria within a few weeks.

Governor Polis statement on CDC’s recommendation to expand COVID-19 vaccine to include 65 year olds or older

Gov. Polis, health care providers provide update on state’s COVID-19 response, vaccine administration

DENVER – Today, Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing mass vaccination process. Governor Polis was also joined by Peter D. Banko, President & CEO Centura Health; Dr. Richard Zane, Chief Innovation Officer, UC Health and Chair of Emergency Medicine, CU School of Medicine; and John Santistevan, President & CEO, Salud Family Health Centers. 

“Right now, our top priority is to continue to be a national leader in ensuring vaccines are being rapidly distributed and put into the arms of as many Coloradans as possible,” said Governor Polis. “Partnerships with healthcare providers across the state, including those who joined us today, are one highly effective way Colorado will be able to vaccinate all Coloradans and finally beat this crisis. Every day, we are vaccinating more and more people age 70 and up and making notable progress towards ending the pandemic and returning to a normal way of life. But until the vaccine is widely distributed, we all must make an even greater effort to practice good social distancing including wearing masks and staying six feet away from others. We can end this, but to do that as quickly as possible, we must all stay committed in this fight.”

“Thank you, Governor Polis for your leadership during this time. Health systems including Centura Health are ready and capable of scaling our operations to vaccinate all those who need a vaccine. We are thrilled to partner with the State and other health providers to make mass vaccination possible across Colorado, ” said Peter D. Banko, President & CEO Centura Health. 

“We are beyond proud to vaccinate Colorado and we are prepared to do so. We are ready to put COVID-19 in our rearview mirror,” said Dr. Richard Zane, UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer and Chair of Emergency Medicine at the CU School of Medicine.

“We are stepping up to vaccinate as many people as possible as we can in the communities we serve. We will continue to be there for the state of Colorado and look forward to helping out in any way we can,” said John Santistevan, President & CEO Salud Family Health Centers. 

Colorado is currently expecting around 70,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses every week through January from the federal government. But the number of doses allocated to the state can change depending on what the federal government is able to provide Colorado during a given week. However, even with this uncertainty, one of the state’s top priorities is to vaccinate 70% of Coloradans ages 70 years and older by February 28. 

Governor Polis provided an update on a recent mass vaccination clinic held at Zion Baptist Church in the Whittier neighborhood. At Zion Baptist Church, 150 congregates ages 70 and older were vaccinated. Colorado will continue to search for similar venues like Zion Baptist Church so that Coloradans who might not have access to a medical facility can still get the vaccine. 

Governor Polis also amended and extended an executive order related to licensure requirements. The amendment removes permit and certification expiration date extensions that are no longer necessary. 

View today’s presentation and press conference.

Gov. Polis, health care providers provide update on state’s COVID-19 response, vaccine administration

Governor Polis takes action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

DENVER –  Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Polis today amended and extended an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes and rules to expand healthcare workforces for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities due to COVID-19. The amended executive order expands the healthcare workforce in order to administer COVID-19 vaccinations in outpatient settings. 

Governor Polis takes action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

CDPHE: State released updated public health order Jan. 4

REMOTE, (Jan. 5, 2021): Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released an amended public health order that provides updates to the COVID-19 dial framework. 

The new changes were effective Monday, January 4, 2021, and will expire in 30 days unless extended, rescinded, superseded, or amended in writing.

The main changes include: 

  • Adding the 5 Star State Certification Program to the order. The program requires businesses to implement safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. In doing so, certified businesses are able to expand operations. 
    • Depending on the county’s level and metrics, certified businesses may be eligible for less restrictive capacity limits. A 5 Star certification reassures employees and customers that businesses are adhering to enhanced guidance in other areas. The program is completely voluntary for local governments.
    • Counties that moved from the Red to Orange levels this week will need to maintain a 7 day Orange Level average incidence trend in order to operate under Yellow Level restrictions. Counties must engage in a consultation process with CDPHE, which may entail moving to a more restrictive level, when they are out of compliance with any of the metrics for more than seven days.
    • 5 Star certified businesses currently in Orange Level counties may be eligible for less restrictive capacity limits outlined in Yellow Level, after engaging in a consultation and approval process with their local public health agency.
  • Additional flexibility for professional performing arts in Level Red.
  • Increases the capacity restrictions for gyms, aligning with restaurants.
  • Review the summary of changes.

The Colorado COVID-19 dial is a tool that allows Colorado to balance the urgent need to contain the virus with the need for localized guidance during the pandemic. Learn more about the dial.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

CDPHE: State released updated public health order Jan. 4

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

DENVER – Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Polis extended an executive order providing relief to public utility customers impacted by COVID-19 and executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes and rules to expand healthcare workforces for hospitals and other inpatient treatment facilities due to COVID-19. 

The Governor also extended an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes to maintain eligibility for Coloradans enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Basic Health Plan. 

The Governor extended an executive order expediting unemployment insurance claim processing to provide relief to Coloradans affected by COVID-19 and an executive order related to learning pods. Gov. Polis also extended an executive order allowing for the operation of alternate care sites in response to COVID-19. 

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

DENVER – Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gov. Polis issued and extended the following executive orders:

  • An executive order temporarily suspending certain regulatory deadlines to allow the state to continue to use federal funds designated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act of 2020 (CARES Act). 
  • An executive order directing the expenditure of federal funds pursuant to the CARES Act. 
  • An executive order extending the State’s disaster declaration. 
  • An executive order requiring mandatory furloughs for certain state employees.
  • An executive order preventing late fees for residential and commercial tenants. 
  • Nine executive orders regarding the following ballot initiatives: 
Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Polis and state public health officials announce first case of COVID variant of COVID-19 in Colorado

DENVER – On Dec. 29, Gov. Polis and state health officials announced Colorado’s first case of the of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7, the same variant discovered in the UK.  The Colorado State Laboratory confirmed and notified the Center for Disease Control (CDC) of the case.

The individual is a male in his 20s who is currently in isolation in Elbert County and has no travel history.  Public health officials are doing a thorough investigation. The individual is recovering in isolation and will remain there until cleared by public health officials. The individual has no close contacts identified so far, but public health officials are working to identify other potential cases and contacts through thorough contact tracing interviews. 

“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels,” said Governor Jared Polis. “I want to thank our scientists and dedicated medical professionals for their swift work and ask Coloradans to continue our efforts to prevent disease transmission by wearing masks, standing six feet apart when gathering with others, and only interacting with members of their immediate household.” 

The Colorado state lab was the first in the country to quickly identify the variant through sophisticated analysis of testing samples. The lab initially performed the diagnostic PCR test on the sample and found that the sample was positive for COVID-19 with strong signals for the N gene and ORF1ab (both are detected when a person has COVID-19), but the signal for the S gene was not detected. When the S gene doesn’t register in the testing, it is called an “S Drop Out Profile,” and it is considered an essential signature for the variant. The sample was flagged for further investigation. Scientists then sequenced the viral genome from the patient sample and found eight mutations specific to the spike protein gene associated with this variant. Genome sequencing is a molecular profiling of the entire viral RNA sequence. 

Scientists in the United Kingdom believe the B.1.1.7 variant to be more contagious than previously identified strains of the SARS-CoV-2 variant, though no more severe in symptoms. In addition, the currently approved vaccines are thought to be effective against this variant.  

“The fact that Colorado has detected this variant first in the nation is a testament to the sophistication of Colorado’s response and the talent of CDPHE’s scientist and lab operations,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “We are currently using all the tools available to protect public health and mitigate the spread of this variant.” 

Governor Polis and State officials will provide further details at a press conference tomorrow morning. 

Gov. Polis and state public health officials announce first case of COVID variant of COVID-19 in Colorado

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic

DENVER –  Governor Polis took action in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The governor amended and extended an executive order concerning the 2020 election and the Secretary of State’s operations, extending two provisions which will enable political parties to continue utilizing remote operations to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19, and allowing all other provisions to expire.

Gov. Polis also extended an executive order that authorizes the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) to make one-time direct cash stimulus payments to qualifying individuals facing financial difficulties due to COVID-19. This extension makes funds available to CDLE until February 28, 2021.

Governor Polis takes action in response to COVID-19 pandemic