COVID-19 roundup for April 27: Safer-at-home begins

Colorado’s stay-at-home order expired Sunday, and Monday afternoon Gov. Jared Polis outlined the safer-at-home executive order, which is now in effect. 

At the briefing, Polis also presented some of the scientific data the state considered when deciding to let the order expire.

“Our modeling shows that we can handle the caseload and that we need to figure out how to do this in a sustainable way for many weeks and months,” he said.

But Polis cautioned that while the stay-at-home order has appears to have succeeded in flattening the curve and easing the potential burden on Colorado’s health care system, the sacrifices people made during the order will “amount to nothing” if they don’t keep social distancing through the safer-at-home period.

“This is not a mission accomplished moment,” Polis said. “It just means we’ve avoided catastrophe.”

Polis said the purpose of the safer-at-home period is to:

• continue to manage the spread of the coronavirus;

• ensure every Coloradan that gets sick — not just with COVID-19 — has access to world-class health care;

• find a more sustainable way for residents to live with social distancing;

• minimize secondary health effects of the virus, both physical and mental;

• help Coloradans earn a living while protecting health and safety; and

• protect the state’s vulnerable populations.

Polis also gave more information about how the state will reopen.

Polis’ safer-at-home executive order outlines a new level in Colorado’s response — moving to a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more individuals to return to work.

The order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27, but could be amended or extended at any time.

Coloradans are to continue staying home “as much as possible”, and should keep taking precautions such as wearing masks when out in public and maintaining social distancing.

Polis’ order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to keep staying home, only leaving when it’s absolutely necessary.

“The stay-at-home order has done just what we wanted it to — slowed the spread of the virus and bought us time to expand the capacity of our health care system,” Polis said. “We are in this for the long haul, and Coloradans need to be prepared to follow social distancing requirements in the weeks and months ahead.

“If Coloradans let up over the next few weeks, if we fail to take this new phase seriously — we might have to face staying at home again and all of our gains will be lost. I cannot stress this enough — we must continue to stay home as much as possible, wear facial masks when out, and be cautious and careful. We are nowhere near being back to normal, but we will get through this together.”

Colorado’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 706 as of April 26, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment.  There have been 13,879 cases statewide, 2,485 hospitalizations, and 66,341 people tested.

El Paso County has recorded 886 cases, 200 hospitalizations and 68 deaths, according to El Paso County Public Health.

Reporter

Zach Hillstrom is a Colorado Springs native and graduate of Colorado State University-Pueblo. He has worked as a reporter for Southern Colorado print outlets since 2015.