2 different perspectives on reopening Colorado

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DENVER (KDVR) — As the president and governor talk about easing stay-at-home guidelines and reopening the state, there are concerns it could happen too soon or too late.

“If we’re smart and we do the right things, both in the health care industry and in all industries…if we phase back in one step at a time…I think we have a good chance of not having to use some of the crisis and contingency plans,” said Dr. Steve Cobb, chief medical officer of Centura Health’s Denver Metro Operating Group.

Cobb said Centura’s hospitals have not been overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients yet and hopes if social distancing continues, they won’t be.

It’s a similar situation at Denver Health Medical Center. The hospital has more than doubled the number of intensive care unit beds, which are just about 1/3 full right now.

“Our concern would be that if we start relaxing now, we may be jumping the gun before we get on the other side (of the coronavirus curve) and that it would really stress hospital resources if we suddenly see a surge of patients,” said Dr. Thomas MacKenzie, Denver Health’s chief quality officer.

But there are some who say the state should have never been shuttered in the first place.

‘”Overstepped is an understatement,” said Victoria Reynolds, the chair of the Colorado Libertarian Party.

Reynolds is helping to organize Operation Gridlock, an event on the state Capitol steps Sunday afternoon, as well as another event happening at about the same time that the Libertarian Party of Colorado is organizing. As of Thursday evening, nearly 400 people on Facebook said they would attend and almost 2,000 were interested.

“While the virus is real, the effect on the economy is also very real,” Reynolds said. “Shutting us down is going to hurt more people than not shutting us down will.”

Reynolds said people who go to the event will be told the keep their distance from one another and wear masks.

Denver’s Joint Information Center said it is aware of Operation Gridlock and understands people’s frustrations, but adds this: “Operation Gridlock would be a wholly irresponsible and reckless way to express those frustrations.”

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