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Governor Polis COVID-19 Updates July 22, 2020

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Topline Update

We currently have 41,059 cases, 1,763 total deaths (1,643 are deaths due to COVID), and 6,110 hospitalizations out of 454,290 completed tests. Every death is a tragedy. There are families mourning across our state today and we keep them in our thoughts.  

 In terms of new cases, 2 of the last 14 days have had a downward trend in the 7-day moving average of newly reported cases. And in terms of hospitalizations, 5 of the last 14 days have a downward trend in the 7-day moving average of new hospitalizations. 

This case data is broken down by various categories, is updated daily, and can be found here.

CDPHE Model 

We are seeing distressing upward trends across the nation, and last week the Governor took action to enact a statewide mask mandate because he is concerned about our upward trend in cases. The Governor reiterated that he will do everything possible to avoid broad statewide closures of businesses, but data will always determine the decisions  made to keep Coloradans safe. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)’s early warning system of metrics is showing us that the spread of the COVID is increasing in Colorado, and this rate of increase has been speeding up.  

Last week, 15 counties were notified that these metrics had been exceeded. When this happens, the counties have two weeks to reverse their disease trend in order to keep their variance. If they are not able to reverse the trend, the variance will be revoked and the county will follow the Stay at Home order.  The department requested that counties either submit a mitigation plan or revert to the Safer at Home order.  

CDPHE is also tracking counties that don’t have a variance.  Any county that has a two-week incidence of over 100 per 100,000 population is considered high risk.  We want to work with these counties during this critical window of time.

CDPHE's early warning system takes four things into account: 

  • The CU predictive model - The University of Colorado’s predictive model tells us where we are heading and the window we have for course correction. Our objective is to stay above 55% social distancing, but all Coloradans will be safer if our rate of distancing is 65%. 

  • Hospital capacity - Our objective is to ensure that care is available for people who need it, so CDPHE looks at how many beds we have and how quickly we are filling them. 

  • Growth in cases - We need to keep growth at a level that our public health systems can handle, so it is concerning when there is a  trend of more than 500 new cases per day on an ongoing basis.

  • Testing results - CDPHE has set the threshold at 5% positivity to ensure that an accelerated increase in new cases do not overwhelm our state’s health system, so it is concerning to see a trend of greater than 5% positivity for test results.

If we continue to practice keeping a safe distance of 6-feet from others, mask up when we leave the house, and connect with each other virtually when possible, we’ll start to see less tests coming back positive for COVID-19 and create more opportunities to gain control over the virus. 

We are at a critical juncture and continued success will take all of our efforts.

Back to Basics: Social Distancing

The Governor stressed that the biggest driver of the uptick in cases has been young people between the ages of 20 to 29 socializing. Many young people in Colorado are doing their part to wear masks, but without following the recommended social distancing guidelines, we risk elevating transmission rates and jeopardize our ability to control this virus. 

There are many things that all of us can do to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe and healthy: 

  • If you can, telework and continue to work from home.

  • If you go camping, go with just your household. 

  • If you socialize with friends, stay 6 feet apart and keep your mask on.

  • Stay outside when you have friends over. 

  • Limit groups to under 10 people.

  • Take fewer trips to the grocery store or order your groceries online, especially if you are in a high risk category.

  • If you work in an essential business and your employer has not implemented proper measures to ensure social distancing, call your local public health agency. 

We are in a precarious moment and need to take personal responsibility for our actions regardless of where we live, our age, or how we make a living.

Announcement: Last Call for Alcohol

It’s understandable that people want to see their friends and socialize. However, due to Colorado’s current case burden, we cannot go back to doing things the same way we did last summer. That is why the Governor is taking additional steps to limit high risk behavior. 

People getting inebriated and socializing with others from outside of their household is very risky behavior, so the Governor announced that for the next 30 days Colorado will be suspending all alcohol sales past 10 PM statewide instead of 2 AM.The 10 PM last call will only apply to licensed facilities. The Governor is instituting this alcohol sales cut off to reduce the risk of COVID transmission in bars. His hope is that through smaller changes like this, we can avoid major setbacks. 

While the state cannot stop anyone from throwing large parties or gatherings that occur outside of licensed facilities, this type of behavior threatens to dismantle our fragile economic recovery. We need to all do our part by not engaging in risky, irresponsible, and thoughtless behavior.

Doing Your Part 

What is acceptable is everything in moderation, so that your level of socializing is properly adjusted for the sake of safeguarding yourselves and others.  It’s okay to have a few drinks over dinner, but it is not acceptable to attend gatherings indoors with lots of friends. Instead, organize a virtual happy hour with friends and family. 

If we continue to practice keeping a safe distance of 6 feet from others, mask up when we leave the house, and connect with each other virtually when possible, we’ll start to see less tests coming back positive for COVID-19 and begin to create more opportunities to get our economy back on track. 

Empowering Local Control

The state will continue to make decisions in the best interest of local economies, local county health departments, and local constituencies. As a first line of defense, the Governor is working to ensure that local public health agencies are provided with the support and technical assistance they need to be successful in flattening the curve in their communities and gaining control over the number of cases emerging, testing capacity, hospital bed capacity, and sufficient PPE supplies. The administration is committed to building support systems for these communities to create a way to live with this virus with minimal disruptions to our Colorado way of life. 

COVID Relief Fund Spotlight: Kaiser Permanente 

Many Coloradans are stepping up to support our state’s COVID response, which includes companies funding our vital support systems like Colorado's COVID Relief Fund.  

The Governor announced that Kaiser Permanente is generously contributing $500,000  to our COVID response efforts and $300,000 of this will be set aside for organizations applying to do contact tracing with a focus on cultural competency within our communities. The remaining $200,000 will come through Kaiser’s employee donation matching program, which will run through September 30th. 

To complement best practices like wearing our masks and hand washing, it’s also critical that we build the infrastructure for widespread contact tracing and that we continue to serve underserved and populations who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. We thank companies like Kaiser Permanente who recognize this need and are helping to support the more than 765 organizations who have benefited from the COVID Relief Fund.

Eligible organizations can apply  for COVID relief right now by going to www.helpcoloradonow.org.  

 

Governor Polis Signs Public Health Emergency Whistleblower Rights and Paid Family Leave Act

July 15, 2020

Governor Polis has just signed the following two bills into law, both with immediate effective dates.

(1) S.B. 20-205 - Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”)

(2) H.B. 20-1415 - Public Health Emergency Whistleblower Law (“PHEW”)


The Division has just published guidance regarding both laws in the form of three new INFOs (Interpretive Notice & Formal Opinions) available on the Division's webpage. The INFOs summarize each law; explain how each affects employers, employees, and other stakeholders; and answer frequently asked questions the Division has received about these laws and about similar laws and rules.

Each of the two laws has a requirement of posting a notice to workers, which the INFOs summarize, and the Division has just published a compliant poster (which covers both laws), including a poster in English and a poster in Spanish. The poster must be replaced by January 1, 2021, with a new one that the Division will post, due to the substantial changes in HFWA as of that date; those changes are summarized in INFO #6B.

Finally, due to the substantial overlap between the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay (“Colorado HELP”) Rules and the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act (“HFWA”), the Division is terminating the requirements of the Colorado HELP Rules after July 14th, because July 15th is the first full day in which HFWA is in effect.

Rulemaking under each law will proceed in the coming weeks and months, likely to take effect by the end of the calendar year. All who received this email will be notified of proposed rules to allow participation in hearing and comment processes. If you have any questions about the rulemaking process, contact Division Operations Director and Rulemaking Coordinator Michael Primo ([email protected]); for questions about the substance of these laws or other outreach matters, contact Division Outreach Manager Eric Yohe ([email protected]). 

 
 

Telehealth Rule Making Colorado Department Health Care Policy and Finance

July 14, 2020

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing - Medical Services will be holding a rulemaking hearing on Friday, August 14th, 2020, 9:00 am on rules regarding Telemedicine. The hearing will be held at: 303 East 17th Avenue, 11th Floor, Denver CO 80203.

The purpose of this rulemaking is: 

This rule revision makes permanent the expanded telemedicine authorized during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency, and as authorized for permanent adoption in Senate Bill 20-212, for select physician services, home health, Federally-Qualified Health Center, Family Planning, Rural Health Clinic, and Community Mental Health Centers/Clinic services. The expanded telemedicine modalities include interactive audio, interactive video, or interactive data communication in lieu of face-to-face visits between clients and health professionals. The purpose of the rule revision is to present the Telemedicine emergency rule for permanent adoption. The Department will work with stakeholders to study the rule's implementation and prepare a report for the SMART Government Act hearing, as required by legislation.

If you believe there will be a significant negative impact on small business, job creation or economic competitiveness, you may request that the Department of Regulatory Agencies require the rulemaking agency to prepare a cost-benefit analysis of a proposed rule or amendment. This request must be made to the Department of Regulatory Agencies by Wednesday, July 15th, 2020.

You may also submit comments directly to the rulemaking agency for the agency's consideration during the upcoming rulemaking hearing.

 

Colorado Nurses Association Nurse Support Group

July 13, 2020

Colorado COVID-19 Nurse Support Group for All Colorado RNs and LPNs and Colorado Student Nurses

Colorado Nurses are on the front line dealing with the Coronavirus public health crisis.

Colorado Nurses Association will continue to offer voluntary support groups to aid in shared problem solving.  The group is facilitated by experienced RNs and APRNs and hosted through a HIPAA compliant telephone platform.

The support groups will continue Tuesday’s, 7pm – 8pm, MST and will run weekly until further notice.  

These groups are available at no-cost for all Colorado RNs and LPNs and Colorado Student Nurses. Peer support groups are not intended to replace treatment, therapy or self-help groups. 

To register, click here. Information collected through this link is confidential, and will only be used by the facilitator.

 

Colorado Nurses Association Advocates for Action

July 13, 2020

Colorado Hospital Nurse Staffing Regulations 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Colorado Nurses Association (CNA) and the Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) are organizing a work group to discuss and make revision recommendations to the Nursing Services section of the Hospital licensing rule. We are seeking participation from current stakeholders as asking that you help recruit participation of front line staff for this work group.

Three working sessions are planned from 10 AM – noon for the work group on June 30, July 14 and July 28, with recommendations reported back to the larger group at the August 6, 2020 meeting. Meetings will be held remotely. More details will be forthcoming. 

Please complete this brief survey . You may choose to keep your responses anonymous. 

Topic: Chapter 4: Nursing Services Workgroup

Time: Jul 14, 2020 10:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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