DENVER, CO (STL.News) Following a visit with Vice President Kamala Harris, Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the State’s efforts to vaccinate Coloradans. Governor Polis was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, and Dr. Jon Samet, an epidemiologist and the dean at Colorado’s School of Public Health.
“We have made incredible progress in vaccinating our most vulnerable here in Colorado, including now having vaccinated 77% of Coloradans ages 70 and older. But until we can get more shots into arms, let’s continue to do our part to stay safe and protect others from this deadly virus and wear a mask around others,” said Governor Polis.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy shared more information about the tracking of COVID-19 variants. The State has identified four different variants in Colorado, and the State is using all tools available to protect public health including contact tracing.
Governor Polis also reassured Coloradans that vaccine appointments canceled over the weekend due to the snow will be rescheduled. Many health care providers, including Kaiser, UC Health, and SCL Health, are working around the clock to contact patients and reschedule their appointments. There is no need to contact the vaccine provider and they will be contacting individuals to reschedule.
Both Drs. Herlihy and Samet cautioned that while the state is making progress vaccinating its residents, it is not yet the time to change our behaviors around social distancing and mask wearing, and that transmission control is still important to keeping each other safe and our economy open.
“We’ve reached a high plateau of cases,” said Dr. Herlihy. “What that indicates to me is that we’re not yet at a place where we have population protection from the vaccine and we’re no longer seeing a steady decline in hospitalizations.”
“We have a ways to go,” said Dr. Samet. “We’re heading toward more and more Coloradans being immune either because they’ve had the infection or because they’ve been vaccinated. The good news is that 80% above 65 have had at least one dose of the vaccine and hospitalizations are dropping in those 70 and older.”
Governor Polis also signed an Executive Order extending the State’s disaster declaration due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado.