Gov. Polis declares state of emergency in Colorado due to coronavirus

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DENVER (KDVR/AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency in Colorado amid the coronavirus outbreak.

News & Resources: Latest coronavirus updates

Five new “presumptive positive” cases were announced Tuesday bringing the statewide total to 17 cases.

“Presumptive positive” cases tested positive at the state level and are awaiting official confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Polis says he has directed the state to pursue financial measures to make it easier for health, food, nursing home and state employees to stay home if they get sick, rather than expose others to the virus because they’re worried about losing their jobs.

Polis says he is seeking more testing capacity. And he says the diagnostics firm LabCorp is performing coronavirus tests, complementing state and federal testing. 

Details on state of emergency

These are the specific items from Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order declaring the state of emergency, from the governor’s office:

  • Directs Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to engage in emergency rulemaking to ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care, and education can get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing results for COVID-19. 
  • For workers who test positive and lack access to paid leave, the governor is directing CDLE to identify additional supports and wage replacement such as access to unemployment insurance.
  • Directs the Department of Personnel and Administration to engage in emergency rulemaking regarding state employees. For employees who may be put either in quarantine or isolation and can work from home, they should do so. If these workers fall ill and cannot perform their duties, they will be able to use paid leave, and the state will be flexible with that paid leave. For impacted employees who cannot work remotely, such as correctional officers, assisted living staff, etc., the administration is working to ensure paid leave options for those who are ill.
  • Directs the Department of Revenue to temporarily allow Coloradans over the age of 65 to extend their driver’s licenses online to avoid having to congregate at DMVs at this time.
  • Starting Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment will be opening a drive-up lab at their facility in Lowry to test anyone who has a note from their doctor stating that they meet the criteria for testing. A doctor’s order is required to get tested at the new drive-up lab. That facility is located at 8100 E Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230.

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