Governor, health leaders urge Coloradans to stay home this holiday season

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DENVER (KDVR) — The holiday season is underway and during a year many have spent in isolation, there is a desire for people to travel to visit their loved ones. With the health department saying the state has seemingly reached a high plateau, the governor wants everyone to build on that momentum.

The governor and health leaders agree that it is too soon to know if we have completely avoided a post-Thanksgiving spike but the numbers are looking better than first expected. That does not mean we can let up now, they say.

“Hopefully, we are doing a little better, at least things aren’t getting worse. But we really want things to get better so we can go back to living our lives as normal and all those wonderful things,” Gov. Jared Polis said at a press conference Friday morning.

Colorado’s COVID-19 numbers are still not great, logging nearly 4,700 new cases Friday. That is about 1,000 more than this time last month, but less than the 6,000+ cases Colorado saw two weeks ago.

Polis is reminding the public that vaccines’ arrival does not mean people can get together.

“We have to really double down on getting these numbers down so we can return to more meaningful life and socializing,” the governor said. “But we have to show progress on the numbers so it is reasonably safe. As we get closer to the winter holidays, people just need to be very careful this Christmas.”

For some, that’s easier said than done. While the holidays are usually hard for people who have lost loved ones, the pandemic adds almost 300,000 more American families to that list. Plus, there are millions struggling with not being able to see their loved ones. An expert said one way to fight depression is to help others.

“It’s always important to have purpose during your day, no matter how simple that purpose may seem compared to your prior life when your purpose over the holidays was to go to Jamaica with your family for Christmas or going to Europe. Now, your purpose may be shoveling snow for somebody, walking someone’s pet, walk your own pet,” said Dr. Patricia Westmoreland, HealthONE behavioral health and wellness center psychiatrist.

The governor is calling on us to resist gathering a little longer as people in Colorado could start getting vaccinated as early as next week.

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