Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 as well as information on declining traffic patterns in Colorado and other developments.

Gov. Polis was also joined by Dr. Marc Moss, head of pulmonology at the University of Colorado - Anschutz Medical Campus and a doctor at UC Health who came to represent the thousands of medical professionals working on the front lines in Colorado.

"While the virus is still spreading rapidly in Colorado, our community will start to see the effects of the recent steps we’ve taken in the coming days and weeks. In the near-term, it is crucial that we all stay home whenever possible to avoid jeopardizing the health of their friends, family, and community,” said Polis.

“During this challenging time, though we must be distant physically from one another for our health, I encourage Coloradans to remain close to our loved ones through different forms of communication like telephone and video chat and through acts of kindness,” he said.

“As a pulmonary specialist, I have been on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re seeing this virus significantly impact Coloradans of all ages and we are now caring for an unprecedented number of critically ill patients,” said Dr. Marc Moss. “Our health care system is preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. We continue working alongside our fellow health care workers to ensure we are doing everything we can to care for our patients.”

The governor continued to urge Coloradans to stay home. Gov. Polis discussed the supplies that the state Colorado has requested from the federal government, what has been distributed thus far and what the remaining need it currently has and what is needed for Colorado to effectively slow the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Coloradans.

The governor also discussed state traffic data as an important proxy to demonstrate the impact of recent social distancing and stay-at-home measures. Colorado has seen a 60% reduction of cars on the road over the last four weeks. This data was collected across the state on interstates, U.S. and state highways, and other roads from a network of more than 50 automatic traffic recorders (ATRs).

These ATRs provide traffic count data that can be analyzed hourly, daily, and weekly and used to compare current traffic levels to baseline levels. Traffic levels can show changes in behavior, whether that’s a reduction in weekday work commuting, and changes in weekend driving that may be associated with errands or recreation. Between March 1-25, the average daily volume of vehicles is decreasing by 400 cars per day. View the presentation here.

On Saturday, March 28, the federal government approved a Major Disaster Declaration request for Colorado, unlocking access to more federal resources for the state. This designation, combined with the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President, is welcome relief on both the emergency management front and the economic front. The governor has held daily calls with Colorado’s federal delegation.

On Sunday, March 22, Gov. Polis announced the creation of the Innovation Response Team. Today he announced the appointment of Sarah Tuneberg, an entrepreneur and emergency manager with more than a decade of public health and emergency management experience, as the director of the IRT.

The IRT is building a mass testing program for the COVID-19 virus, creating a suite of services for citizens under isolation or quarantine, developing mobile and other technologies to help track the spread of the virus and support infected citizens, and developing locally-sourced alternatives for constrained critical medical supplies.

From our sister paper The Chaffee County Times at www.chaffeecountytimes.com

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