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Gov. Polis Cancels Large, Public Gatherings To Curb Spread Of COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis speaking to reporters about coronavirus spread in Colorado on Friday, March 13.
Scott Franz
Capitol Coverage
Gov. Jared Polis speaking to reporters about coronavirus spread in Colorado on Friday, March 13.

Gov. Jared Polis is urging the cancellation of large public gatherings as several more COVID-19 cases are reported around the state.

Polis says gatherings of more than 250 people should be cancelled unless organizers can prove attendees will be at least 6 feet away from each other.

He's also calling on retired doctors and nurses to re-enter the workforce to help handle an expected surge of coronavirus cases.

"Many Coloradans are going to get it. You're gonna get it or a friend will get it or a family member. Somebody you know is going to have coronavirus," said Polis. "They are very likely to have minor symptoms. They will have to remain isolated in their home."

At Friday's press conference, Polis said there were 72 confirmed cases, 8 people are in the hospital with 3 of them in critical condition. In a later press release, the governor confirmed the first death from COVID-19 in Colorado. The woman, who lived in El Paso County, was 80 and had underlying health conditions, according to the press release.

The governor said there are likely hundreds if not thousands of other residents who have the virus who have not been tested.

The Colorado National Guard has been activated, Polis said, to train for testing and help create mobile labs. He's also taken steps to cut red tape on getting doctors, nurses and pharmacists licensed in other states to be able to practice here. Polis said the state is also monitoring case loads at hospitals.

Polis urged residents to take precautions and look out for their most vulnerable neighbors.

"This is a shared recognition that the public health consequences, the human consequences, need to remain our primary focus," said Polis. "This is how we're going to weather the storm, protect our most vulnerable and prevent a catastrophic overload of the health care system and prevent deaths."

Copyright 2020 KUNC

Scott Franz is a government watchdog reporter and photographer from Steamboat Springs. He spent the last seven years covering politics and government for the Steamboat Pilot & Today, a daily newspaper in northwest Colorado. His reporting in Steamboat stopped a police station from being built in a city park, saved a historic barn from being destroyed and helped a small town pastor quickly find a kidney donor. His favorite workday in Steamboat was Tuesday, when he could spend many of his mornings skiing untracked powder and his evenings covering city council meetings. Scott received his journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is an outdoorsman who spends at least 20 nights a year in a tent. He spoke his first word, 'outside', as a toddler in Edmonds, Washington. Scott visits the Great Sand Dunes, his favorite Colorado backpacking destination, twice a year. Scott's reporting is part of Capitol Coverage, a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.
Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.
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