DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis and state health officials announced the shift from the COVID-19 pandemic to an endemic response deemed “Colorado’s Next Chapter: Our Roadmap to Moving Forward.”

The plan is to gradually make the change in multiple phases that include planning for the next variant and addressing the health care worker shortage and related issues.

“Thanks to the commitment and resilience of Coloradans doing our part to get vaccinated with all three lifesaving doses, our state’s balanced approach to the pandemic, and the heroism of our health care workers and public health professionals, the vast majority of Coloradans who are vaccinated can proceed with normal life free of fear of the virus. We now have the tools to turn the page and begin a new chapter,” Polis said. “Fully vaccinated Coloradans can rest assured that you are reasonably safe to live your normal pre-pandemic life as the state of Colorado along with our partners in local public health and healthcare providers will be hard at work ensuring our readiness for whatever curveballs or variants the future throws us.” 

The phases for the shift from pandemic to endemic are as follows:

1.    Establishing hospital readiness standards, surge planning and normalizing COVID patient care in traditional medical settings: Ensuring health care systems are prepared for future response efforts and normalizing COVID-19 treatment and prevention back into traditional healthcare settings.

2.    Ensuring public health readiness and surge capacity: Building on lessons learned so the public health and emergency management fields can expand and contract for disease control and other emergency needs.

3.    Investing in health care workforce stabilization and expansion: Stabilizing the current workforce and building and maintaining a sustainable health care workforce for the future.

4.    Engaging the federal government in national endemic response, pandemic readiness and needed reforms: Striving for a national plan for pandemic readiness and response, and investing in the public health system, including an updated and interoperable national surveillance system, and flexible, non-categorical funding to allow flexibility and increase the public health workforce.

“As a nurse and frontline health care worker, I know first hand how much pressure has been placed upon our workforce. We need to do as much as possible to ensure we’re taking care of our health care workforce by developing a training pipeline and making sure we are adequately staffing our health care facilities,” Rep. Kyle Mullica said.

The governor and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said fully-vaccinated Coloradans should feel comfortable getting back to normal life. Vaccinated, immunocompromised people should continue taking steps to protect themselves. And the state continues to encourage those unvaccinated to get vaccinated.

Watch the full news conference on FOX31 NOW.