DENVER (KRQE) – Colorado Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s COVID-19 response Wednesday. He was joined by Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, a lead epidemiologist at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and Adrianne Maddux, Executive Director of Denver Indian Health and Family Services according to a news release. They addressed how the pandemic is affecting Colorado’s American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
“Our health officials are concerned about the recent increase in virus transmission across our state. The increase is most pronounced in 18-25-year-olds, who have a much lower hospitalization rate, but sadly the rate is also increasing in Coloradans of all ages and we need to turn that around,” said Gov. Polis in a news release. “As a state, our success is measured by our collective efforts to support and protect each other. We all must do a better job of wearing face masks, avoiding large crowds, and physically distancing ourselves.”
According to the same news release, American Indian and Alaska Native populations have been overrepresented in hospitalizations and deaths.
“Our partnership with the American Indian Tribes and communities that call Colorado home strengthens the fabric of our state,” said Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera in the same news release. “I’m proud to work directly with the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Ute Mountain Ute Tribe through the Colorado Commission on Indian Affairs, as well as the numerous organizations who are working to support American Indians/Alaska Natives living off of tribal lands. Together, we are working to identify and address the barriers that many community members are facing. While I’m proud of the work we’ve done, there’s still much left to do and I look forward to building on these partnerships to continue improving outcomes for Colorado’s American Indian/Alaska Native populations.”
In a news release, Gov. Polis and Dr. Herlihy also addressed the rising number of cases among young adults, as well as all other age groups and the potential danger for community spread. They emphasized the importance of avoiding large crowds and not attending parties in order to minimize the transmission of the virus. Overall, Colorado has seen an increase in cases in all age groups.
Gov. Polis also announced that Colorado would be implementing mandatory furlough days for all state employees, unless they are considered exempt, due to the budget shortfall according to the news release. Lastly, Gov. Polis also amended and extended an Executive Order providing assistance to residential and commercial tenants at risk for eviction who have been harmed or affected by COVID-19.