Gov. Jared Polis is extending a statewide mask mandate for another thirty days as coronavirus cases continue to surge. More than 1,000 people were in the hospital with the virus as of Monday. Polis is also asking residents to step up their social distancing efforts.
"As long as Coloradans are cancelling their social interactions the next few weeks with those outside their household, together we can save Christmas," the governor said.
Polis says he is not considering a new statewide stay at home order despite the record number of hospitalizations. Instead, some counties with the biggest outbreaks are adopting their own curfews and restrictions to fight the virus. Pitkin County has been under an order to limit informal gatherings to just five people from two households. Eagle and Garfield counties have not added additional rules, but officials are monitoring community spread closely.
"Early in the pandemic you heard me talk about using a scalpel instead of a sledgehammer, and that's exactly what we're doing now," Polis said in a news release. "Each community in Colorado is experiencing this pandemic differently and we want to be precise in our methods. We also have significantly more information and better tools at our disposal than we did in March, and people kow what to do, we just need to do it."
Polis is also hopeful Colorado will get up to 200,000 doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 before the end of the year. The first doses would go to health care workers and those most at risk of getting the virus.
The governor is praising the early results of a Pfizer vaccine trial showing it was more than ninety percent effective.
"That’s a very good number. To put that in context, vaccines for flu virus is more fifty to sixty percent range. 90 percent plus is the gold standard for vaccines," he said. "If enough people get inoculated, that ends the pandemic."