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Rising death toll tops Gov. Polis’ update Tuesday on COVID-19 response in Colorado

DENVER -- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis provided an update Tuesday on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as over a dozen counties enact stricter guidelines aimed at decreasing the spread of the virus.

Watch below:

The most sobering revelation of Tuesday's news conference came from Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state's epidemiologist, who said that deaths from the virus could at least double to 5,600 -- and at worst, rise to 7,400 -- by the end of the year if the current spike in cases doesn't decrease.

The state's current total of around 2,800 deaths came during the first 8 1/2 months of the pandemic.

"Our current trajectory would take us to 6,600 deaths by Dec. 31," she said. "That's given our record COVID transmission rare. If we have a worse spike after Thanksgiving, we'll see even more deaths. That's why we're emphasizing our message to wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid travel and spend Thanksgiving only with the immediate family you live with."

Polis said the latest statistics show that 1 out of every 41 Coloradans is contagious with the virus, and that people who are infected have a nine-day window for transmitting COVID to others.

"That's why it's so important to follow the recommendations," he said. "That goes for whether it's Thanksgiving celebrations or Black Friday shopping. We hope that people will follow their conscience. If you have loved ones who get sick or die because you decided to have a large family gathering, that's on your conscience. You'll have to live with it."

In a glimmer of optimism, Herlihy said that the number of statewide COVID cases has stabilized over the past few days but it's too soon to say whether that's the beginning of a trend that could avoid the projected number of deaths.

The governor also announced the formation of an education task force that begins meeting on Wednesday, with a goal of returning most students to in-classroom learning for the next semester in January.

"We'll work with school districts and parents," he said. "Looking at protocols, examples of what works. We're going to move backwards from January to make sure that we have a sequencing and timeline with what's needed. As you know, we pushed out $15 million just last week to help schools be able to have the additional protocols that they need, to be able to meet."

Polis called schools "safe, regulated environments" because of the dedication to wearing masks, social distancing and being proactive in COVID-related isolations and quarantines.

"We want the next semester to be as uninterrupted as possible," he said. "We don't want education to be a casualty of the pandemic."

Another key topic of discussion was the state's restaurant industry, as some owners decided to close instead of trying to endure a 10% capacity limit and others threaten to ignore the health orders.

Polis insisted that the health orders for restaurants will be enforced.

"Any type of business that violates a health order -- whether it's hepatitis, salmonella or COVID -- could lose their license to operate at that retail outlet, and lose their liquor license," he said. "That would be a devastating outcome for many small businesses.

Among other matters touched on by the governor and Herlihy: transferring patients to and from hospitals as bed space threatens to run out; Colorado's role in a nationwide test of delivering a COVID-19 vaccine; and what's being done to address large COVID outbreaks at numerous county jails and state prisons.

For information about which counties are in Safer At Home: Level Red guidelines and what the guidelines entail, click here.

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    1. Well if we take back control of our federal, state, county, and municipal governments from the corporations and banks this can be easily managed and remedied. If we continue down the Corporate American path we are currently on, yeah we will lose the majority of our local businesses and all that will remain will be corporate employment.

      The choice is simple, the work is hard.

      United we Stand, Divided we Fall!.

      1. Did you know that many small businesses are “Corporations”? Just saying when you speak about corporations its 90% of businesses and to get away from that in a free market economy is suggesting communism/socialism.

  1. Did he or Not, “Three COVID-19 hospital overflow sites prepare to open in Colorado” As Stated Nov. 13,2020??
    More than 99.96% of people who catch this virus RECOVER! Of those that catch it, Most have at least 1 or more conditions that complicate the illness, and of those that die, Only 6% of Those, do so Solely OF COVID. Sad, yes, but Not Even 1% of humanity has caught this virus, and Not Even 1% of those who have, have died from it, and those numbers are really, really small!

  2. So only 1/4 million people have died in the USA alone and that’s meaningless to their families? many more will die soon after this holiday period cuz they will attend gatherings! preliminary research has shown this virus has long term issues for covid patients And what about the eonomic effect You don’t think insurance companies aren’t gonna jack health insurance rates sky high after this? Mostly cuz folks can’t be patient a bit longer so vaccines become available! btw many folks have preexisting conditions so if they aren’t careful, they die! the death rate isn’t the way to approach this virus

  3. So like in an other article. Many deaths are due to a person with an severe illness and then it is complicated by COVID resulting in death. The preexisting condition already was 90% sure to result in death.
    The recovery rate has vastly increased since spring as they now know how to effectively treat the virus.
    This is not something that you can close you eyes and hide and it will go away. Scientists have already said and have since the beginning the virus will infect a majority of the population. That number will also hinge on an possible vaccine. The virus will have to run its course, one way or another.
    You look at other countries that are also engaged fighting with this virus and their different approaches. Even with vastly different approaches (i.e Lockdowns, regulations) The infection rate is very similar.
    Remember when they were saying we needed all the ventilators and that was the best way to treat the patient. Then they find out the worst thing you can do is put a COVIDS patient on a ventilator. So it is now a last resort treatment.
    People not going out when they are sick is the biggest factor. Because the economy is shutting down they are more desperate to work to stay afloat and not lose everything.
    Keep the economy open. Let people make their own choices. Give a stimulus and that way the pressure to go out or push through working when you are sick is less of a blow. There is less desperation and the sick(98.9% who don’t need medical care) will stay home and then gain their immunity and go back to work.

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