"Cancel those social plans with other households," said Colorado Governor Jared Polis during a Monday afternoon press conference regarding the status of the state's fight against COVID-19.
During the press conference, Polis stated that number of confirmed of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado is now over 1,000 – the highest it's ever been. He pointed to inter-household mingling as a key factor in the increase in cases and subsequent hospitalizations and deaths.
Polis strongly urged Coloradans to avoid interactions with other households and later announced the extension of the statewide mask mandate for another 30 days.
The recent success of a Pfizer vaccine was referenced, followed by Polis calling this stage of the fight against the virus a "sprint" with the "end in sight." He called for Coloradans to "find that renewed energy," asking for them to do the following:
1. Cancel social interactions
2. Be 'Safer at Home or in the Great Outdoors'
3. Wear a mask when out
4. Wash hands with soap regularly and upon returning from public spaces
"This is going to get worse before it gets better," said Polis. "We're at the end. We're the most tired. The virus is the most prevalent it's ever been, in our state and in our entire nation."
Polis later said, "Bear with it. It's time to buckle down and successfully isolate for a few more weeks and months [...] The light is there, the end of the race is there. We really just need to do better the next few weeks and months."
Polis also said that he hopes the good news of the vaccine will inspire Coloradans to "double-down on social distancing" or risk sustaining high numbers of hospitalizations and death.
"If we can save lives – and I know we can – it's worth it," said Polis.
Polis encouraged all Coloradans to participate in viral spread-reducing tactics: "It doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter what the city or county says [...] The number one biggest thing – avoid social interactions with others outside of your household."
Polis stressed that activities like dining outside are relatively low-risk, though he also stated that "the biggest risk is who you go with."
"It's like playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun with COVID," said Polis about inter-household mingling at a restaurant.
Polis also encouraged those living alone to consider forming a small social "bubble" with two or three other people that also live alone for the purpose of socialization over the next few weeks.
It was also announced that the supplies of personal protective equipment have been increased considerably. Testing has also increased.
Polis also noted that hospital stays have shortened 1 to 2 days since the last surge with an average of around 4 days spent in the hospital per patient. This decrease should help hospitals manage patient-load more efficiently. If hospital capacity does overflow, surge capacity is ready for use, including the Colorado Convention Center.
Governor Polis announced that state employees, with limited exceptions, will be working remotely through November and into December. Polis also encouraged that other workplaces to continue to work remotely for at least another month.
"We have the tools to fight the virus, but at the end of the day, it's up to you," said Polis.