How does Colorado’s response to the pandemic compare to other states’?

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DENVER (KDVR) — Public health officials and doctors say Coloradans must continue to be vigilant if we do not want our COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths to increase to levels like those in Texas, Florida and Arizona.

“Florida, they have a number of hospitals — over 40 — that have maxed out their ICU capacity,” Gov. Jared Polis said at a briefing on Tuesday.

The governor also discussed the situation in Texas.

“They had a period of exponential growth in early June that has not let up,” he said.

Dr. Phil Stahel, the chief medical officer at the Medical Center of Aurora says there is a reason for the spike in those states.

“It’s extremely and directly related to folks gathering in close proximity, not adhering to social distancing, and not wearing masks,” Stahel said.

So why is the situation in Colorado different than some of the other states?

Dr. John Douglas, the executive director of Tri-County Health Department said, “We could be different from them either because we are lucky, or because time hasn’t caught up with us yet, or because we are being smarter and we’ve had more gradual reopening than all three of those states, and I actually do think that is a big part of it.” 

Douglas and Stahel believe the climate in those hotter states is pushing more people into crowded indoor areas to enjoy the air conditioning. Both say we cannot let up in our efforts.

“Our curve right now looks a little bit like Texas, and Arizona and Florida did in early June,” Douglas said.

To prevent a big spike, he suggests wearing a mask, staying away from crowds, keeping social distance and washing your hands.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued the following statement Wednesday evening:

“The most likely cause for an increase in cases across other states and Colorado is that people are having more contact with each other. When restrictions are eased, an increase is inevitable. Depending on the level of preventive measures that are taken, like maintaining social distancing and wearing masks, that increase could be minimal. We aren’t able to directly compare the actions of Coloradans versus those living in other states. In order to continue to prevent the spread of the virus we need Coloradans to have at least 65% fewer interactions with people than they did before the pandemic and do their part by wearing a mask when they are out in public. The daily actions of all Coloradans are crucial in helping prevent the spread of this virus.”

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