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After spike in new cases, Polis urges Colorado residents, tourists to be responsible

Erin Udell
Fort Collins Coloradoan
Published 5:41 PM EDT Jun 24, 2020

After reporting its lowest number of new coronavirus cases last week, Colorado saw a spike in positive cases just days later, spurring Gov. Jared Polis to urge responsibility from both residents and Colorado tourists as Fourth of July weekend nears.

On June 15, Colorado reported 128 new coronavirus cases across the state — the lowest new case number for a single day in almost three months. Later that week, new cases started spiking — peaking at 274 new cases reported on June 18.

“I’m less worried about an overall number than I would be about a trend (of increasing cases),” Polis said during a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

If new cases continue to increase, Polis said the state’s hospitals could be in crisis in a matter of months. “(We) want to prevent that trend from developing,” he added.

When asked if recent protests across Colorado could have a part in last week’s uptick of new cases, Polis said there was some evidence that people who tested positive for the virus were at marches, but others could be linked to large unrelated gatherings and parties. 

Polis repeatedly called for residents and tourists visiting Colorado to respect social distancing and public health guidelines, wear masks and practice good hand-washing. 

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As Fourth of July weekend approaches, Polis also encouraged people to celebrate responsibly with members of their own household to avoid a spike in cases like those seen after Memorial Day celebrations in Florida and Arizona.  

During the news conference Colorado’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy also noted that since Colorado’s peak of coronavirus cases in mid- to late-April, there has been a decline in the average age of people testing positive for the virus. The downward trend indicates older Coloradans are being proactive in following public health guidelines.

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“Our 70- and 80-somethings have made great sacrifices,” Polis said, announcing that the state is now taking steps to allow outdoor visits at long-term care facilities and assisted living homes.

Visits will be able to be made under strict regulations at facilities that have been largely locked down to visitors since the onset of the pandemic in Colorado. This does not include compassionate visitation for residents at the end of their life or in palliative care, which has been allowed on a case-by-case basis, Polis said. 

While cases among older Coloradans decrease, both Polis and Herlihy noted that younger residents need to take social distancing and public health guidelines seriously. 

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“It’s important that 20-somethings also recognize that this is a significant virus for people of their age as well,” Polis said, adding that for people in their 20s, generally 1 in 15 to 1 in 20 need to be hospitalized if they contract COVID-19.

“This is not something to be trifled with.”

Erin Udell reports on news, culture, history and more for the Coloradoan. Contact her at The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. If not, sign up for a subscription to the Coloradoan today.

This content was originally published here.