MESA COUNTY, Colo. — As Colorado heads into the week of Thanksgiving, 1 in 49 people statewide is infectious with COVID-19, said Gov. Jared Polis on Friday.
"Treat every interaction like that person is contagious with coronavirus. Because guess what? So many of us are," Polis said, as he encouraged people to limit their interactions with those outside their household.
The governor and health care providers gave an update on the status of COVID-19 in Colorado from a clinic in the western part of the state as cases and hospitalizations continue to climb. They spoke from Grand River Health Clinic in Battlement Mesa.
ICU capacity is close to 90 percent in many counties that are moving to the "severe risk" red level on the state's COVID-19 dial, Polis said.
Mesa County Public Health has said that as of Nov. 18, there were no ICU beds available. As a result, hospitals were shifting to surge capacity to make sure there were enough beds for people who need care, whether it's due to COVID-19 or another health issue.
In Weld County, there are three ICU beds and no regular hospital bed left available, Polis said. Weld is among five counties that will move to "severe risk" on the state's COVID-19 dial on Sunday, two days after 15 other counties moved to that level.
The biggest change at the "severe risk" level is that restaurants must close to in-person dining and gyms can operate at only 10% capacity.
Weld County released a statement Friday saying that county leaders would not halt personal gatherings or impose any limits or rules on schools, places of worship, restaurants or other businesses.
"County government continues to do what it has done since March, which is promote and encourage residents and business owners to take individual responsibility and make decisions to protect themselves, their families, their community and their businesses," the statement says.
In response to that, Polis said the state works with counties to give them the flexibility they need to manage the situation in their own areas.
"Of course we have to have a backstop when hospitals are full," Polis said. "As much as we admire the work that's been done there to stop the spread of the virus, it simply hasn't worked. So it's important that they take these other data-driven steps we've given them."
The other option is for Weld County to develop a mitigation plan in cooperation with the state, the governor said.
Polis was joined at the briefing by Dr. Alan-Michael Vargas and Marisa Duran with the Grand River Health Clinic. Vargas spoke about treating COVID-19 patients in the mostly rural Garfield County, while Duran talked about her experiencing after testing positive for the virus.
Watch the full briefing:
Garfield County was at orange level on the COVID-19 dial.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) revealed its updated dial system earlier this week. Officials added a purple level, which is known as "extreme risk" which has the most restrictions.
There were 1,500 patients hospitalized in Colorado as of Nov. 19, and the seven-day, moving average positivity rate decreased to 12.85%, according to the latest data from CDPHE.
Positivity is an important indicator of the status of COVID-19 in the state. The World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2020 recommended that the positivity rate be at or below 5% to contain the virus.
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