DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Public Interest Research Group is call on Colorado to take what it calls as “necessary actions” to slow the spread of COVID-19.
CoPIRG said on Wednesday that it applauds Governor Jared Polis for extending a mask mandate but more aggressive action is needed, including temporarily closing indoor dining and bars, tripling the amount of testing and limiting travel.
“We know what we need to do to save lives, but we’re not doing it. Public health professionals are clear–we need to temporarily close businesses where COVID is more likely to be spread including bars and indoor dining, and encourage people to limit contact with people outside of their households until our case levels go down,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG, director. “Experts also say Colorado has to triple the amount of testing it’s doing now to effectively suppress the virus and set us up to reopen safely,” said Danny Katz, CoPIRG director.
CoPIRG said Colorado has seen a steady increase in COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks and has surpassed 1,000 daily new cases and a positivity rate of 5%. Yet indoor dining and bars–which have been flagged as high risk settings for spreading the virus–remain open. And with colder weather coming, more Coloradans will likely head indoors, where the coronavirus spreads more easily.
“In states where public officials took the necessary measures to slow virus spread and set up robust testing, contact tracing and isolation infrastructure they’ve been able to get back to some semblance of normal. We’re not there yet in Colorado, and with a forecasted high of 27 degrees on Sunday, time is not on our side,” said Katz. “When we fail to suppress the spread of COVID, we fail to save lives, we fail to keep people safe and we fail to allow our state to recover economically,” said Katz.
CoPIRG is calling on Governor Polis to work with federal, state and local leaders to:
- Triple the amount of testing in Colorado, ensure the test results come back in 48 hours and add any additional contact tracing resources to support the increase in testing
- Temporarily close bars and indoor dining and any other non-essential businesses that have high risk of spreading COVID
- Set and enforce state-level travel restrictions for anyone arriving from another state that is not currently meeting public health benchmarks, including a two week quarantine period or providing a negative test result administered in the previous 72 hours
- Limit travel within the state, especially to or from communities that are COVID hot spots
- Set lower limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings
- Ensure the statewide mask mandate is being followed
“Dozens of people are dying from COVID every week because it is spreading unchecked across Colorado. We have to prioritize saving lives. If we do that, we can suppress the virus over the next few weeks and give us a chance to see our family and friends in a safer way this holiday season,” said Katz.