Polis says 150,000 tests on the way, continuing stay-at-home order would have 'negligible impact'

PROMO 64J1 People - Jared Polis Colorado Governor Politician
Published Thursday, April 23, 2020
by Derek Draplin | The Center Square

(The Center Square) - Colorado Governor/ Jared Polis said Wednesday that a state COVID-19 model indicates that extending the stay-at-home order would have a "negligible impact" on the severity of the virus' peak.

The governor also addressed concerns that there aren't enough tests available ahead of the stay-at-home order expiring, saying 150,000 tests are on the way.

"We can't just test and trace our way out of this in any model that we've seen," he said. 

The state's stay-at-home order is set to expire on April 26, with the new "safe-at-home" plan, which the governor announced on Monday, beginning on April 27.

"Maintaining the stay-at-home order for an additional two weeks or even four weeks delays the peak, but it doesn't really have anything more than a negligible impact in severity of the peak," Polis said, citing a state model. "The peak is essentially the same, it's just a little bit later."

The governor added that lengthening the order would have inflicted "very severe economic pain on people, but also hurts the will and psychological ability of the people of Colorado to be in this for the long haul in exchange for really no reduction in the number of ICU beds that we need at the peak of the crisis."

Polis went into more detail on the "safe-at-home" plan, stressing most of the current measures to reduce the virus' spread, like wearing masks, restricting public gatherings and avoiding unnecessary travel, should be continued. If the state doesn't succeed during the "safe-at-home" phase, it could mean resorting back to restrictive measures, the governor warned.

"What 'safe at home' is continuing to stay at home as much as possible," he said.

On April 27, some offices can allow 50 percent of their workforce to return to work and retail businesses can begin offering curbside service under the new guidelines. Polis said his administration is still working on guidelines for bars and restaurants to reopen.

Polis explained that local governments can match the state's new guidelines, continue current restrictions, or apply to have restrictions lifted prior to the state's stay-at-home order expiring.

The governor also announced K-12 education across the state will not reopen for the rest of the school year, a decision he said was made at the urging of school districts.

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