Yesterday Governor Polis shared an approach for the month of May, after the statewide stay at home order expires Monday, April 27. In the next phase, Coloradans will have to continue to move to a sustainable way of social distancing, and still keeping social interactions at a minimum. Non-essential businesses will be allowed to reopen under some restrictions to limit person to person contact. Official guidance on the restrictions is yet to come – we will send as soon as released. Here is a Denver Post article on the press conference.
The Next Phase—Safer at Home
Once the Stay at Home order is lifted at the end of the month, businesses will be allowed to reopen and people should still limit going out of their homes. At risk populations including older Coloradans, pregnant women and those with pre-existing conditions are encouraged to treat May as they did April and stay at home, with no outside contact. Nursing homes will remain under strict orders. Coloradans will need to keep social interactions down 65% for several months. During the stay at home order, social interactions have been down around 75-80%.
- Retailers will be able to open May 1 as long as they follow strict social distancing policies, and safety measures
- Offices can open May 4 at 50% capacity with strict safety precautions and checking temperatures
- Telecommuting is highly encouraged and expected to be maximized.
- Companies that need to have employees physically present will need to consider multiple shifts and other ways to limit contact among employees.
- K-12, and higher education institutions will remain closed in the next phase.
- Personal services like hair cutting salons will be able to open as long as they follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks.
- There will be a process for local governments to modify standards based on local conditions.
- Goal of May 15 for phased in opening of restaurants
- No parameters have been developed for how restaurants will open and follow social distancing.
Eagle County Seeks Exemption from Stay At Home Order
- Eagle County is working with CDPHE to develop a plan for Eagle County to have some relief from the statewide stay at home order. In Eagle County there is scaled up testing for COVID and they are creating parameters for certain stores to operate under in order to remain safe.
- Eagle County could be a model for lifting some state restrictions in communities.
- Later this week, Governor Polis will announce the outcome of this negotiation.
Multiple Strategies Are Required to Lower Needed ICU Beds
Rachel Herlihy, the State Epidemiologist discussed a number of strategies moving forward to prevent a health care system overrun with COVID patients. These include:
- Maintaining a sustainable number of social distancing by the public
- Social distancing by vulnerable individuals and older adults
- Mask wearing
- Case detection and isolation
- Combinations of these strategies
The approach taken should ensure the number of needed ICU beds stays below the number of ICU beds available. Social distancing along is not enough. The more of these strategies used together, the more effective it is at reducing the number of ICU beds needed. The best approach is to use all of these strategies.