Colorado is at its worst point since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, with the highest number of cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Jared Polis and public health officials said Thursday.
Polis said 894 people are now in the hospital with the virus — the previous peak had been 888 in April — and one in every 100 Coloradans is contagious with the virus.
Polis said 3,368 new cases were diagnosed on Wednesday, also a new record. October was far worse and more deadly than previous months, and the state cannot afford to have a November like that he said.
Asked in he’s considering a lockdown like in April, Polis, instead, asked people to cancel social plans and more strictly adhere to mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing.
He also suggested people cancel getting together for Thanksgiving. “Have Thanksgiving in February or March,” when a vaccine is likely to be available, he said.
Polis called his statements Thursday an intervention, but issued no new public health directives.
Polis said Tuesday’s election and devastating wildfires may have kept people from focusing on the resurgent coronavirus recently,
The virus has “taken second or third place” to those issues, he said, and “now is the time to return the focus to being responsible and having the resolve we need” to save lives in Colorado.
He also dismissed another “stay at home” order. Many counties are looking at additional mitigation steps, Polis said, but added that more people are catching the virus in the last few weeks than predicted by any model.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said trends show cases among older age groups — those over the age of 40 — are increasing significantly, especially in the last few days. That translates into more hospitalizations, Herlihy said. Eventually, that will lead to more deaths in the coming days and weeks.
Hospitalization trends, courtesy Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, November 5, 2020.
“There is more COVID-19 circulating in Colorado now than in the beginning of the pandemic,” she said. “We see no signs” of it slowing or reaching a plateau, adding she believes this trend will continue into the near future. “We are moving in the wrong direction.”
The situation is deteriorating quickly, Polis said. “We need to live in November like we did in August,” after the second wave had peaked.
Polis, who recently met with Dr. Deborah Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Polis quoted Birx, who said, “We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of the pandemic.”
“We are going to do our part as a state.” Polis said.
This content was originally published here.