DENVER (KRDO) -- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is announcing new state guidelines during a press conference Tuesday as more counties grapple with two-week COVID-19 incidence rates that are well above the current framework for a return to stay-at-home orders.
As of Monday's data reporting, there have been a total of 167,713 positive COVID-19 cases in the state since testing began earlier this year; 2,276 people have died due to the virus.
At least 1,378 Coloradans are hospitalized with COVID-19, according to data released by Governor Polis Tuesday.
El Paso County and Pueblo County are currently in Safer At Home: Level Orange, which is the third level of safer at home guidelines. Under these restrictions, indoor capacity at most businesses is cut to 25%, and remote work is encouraged where possible.
During Tuesday's news conference, Polis announced that several counties will be moving to a new phase on the COVID-19 dial dashboard. He said that "Phase Red" would be the next step up and means no indoor dining, and last call for alcohol would be at 8 p.m. There would also be further restrictions on gyms and retail stores limiting capacity. Offices would be limited to 10% capacity.
Previously, Level Red meant that a county would have to enact a stay at home order. According to Polis, the distinction between Level Red and Level Purple is based on three factors, COVID-19 cases per 100,000, positivity rates within a county and number of hospitalizations.
"We're saying that cases per 100,000 and positivity are in the red, and the purple or the most severe stage, is literally your hospitals are being overwhelmed," Polis said.
Polis added that there are 10-15 counties that could be moved to level red. This would be determined in partnership by city and county officials.
According to a public health order issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Tuesday, the following counties have been notified that they will move to Level Red on Friday, November 20, 2020:
- Clear Creek
- La Plata
Polis also announced a special legislative session so the Colorado General Assembly can work on legislation to assist Coloradans amid the pandemic. That includes housing and rental assistance, support for child care providers and businesses, among other financial relief measures.