CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Gov. Jared Polis held a briefing Friday on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, hours after the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended expanding booster shots to all adults.
During the briefing, Polis highlighted how important it is for Coloradans to get the COVID-19 vaccine and get their booster shots if they haven't.
Polis reflected on where Colorado was this time last year and how far Colorado has come since the beginning of the pandemic.
The press conference took place at the Colorado State Emergency Operation Center, the place where Polis and other health officials held press conferences at the peak of the pandemic.
"The first press conference we held here was March 22,  during the early weeks and months of the pandemic. Just to put that in perspective, only 600 cases that we knew about; there was probably more but remember there was hardly any testing available. We had about 60 people hospitalized; we’ve only lost six people to the deadly virus back on March 22," Polis said.
Since that first news conference, Polis said that Colorado has come a far way. Back in 2020, Colorado had to fight to get PPE for frontline workers and ventilators to keep people. Polis said Colorado now has the supplies they need and knows what they are going against.
Polis said in the news conference that despite being the 9th lowest in the number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, Colorado has still lost over 9,000 to the virus. He hopes more people will the vaccine against the deadly virus.
In the press conference, Polis said that more than 81% of adults in Colorado and more than 37% of children aged 5-17 have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
However, with almost half of the state vaccinated, the governor said, "Right now in Colorado, we're facing one of the toughest waves that we've had since the start of the pandemic has begun."
>> Watch the full press conference in the player below
Polis said that Colorado has seen a high spread in the Mountain West and upper-midwest of the state.
More than 804,000 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Colorado and that number is expected to grow. Polis encouraged everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine, especially if you already had the virus.
"We have it in our power to end this pandemic now. If everyone was vaccinated and look, you can't get everyone to agree on everything – let's call it 97%. If we get 96-97% vaccinated, we wouldn’t be here at the emergency operation center," Polis said.
The governor also asked anyone who had the vaccine more than six months ago to get the COVID-19 booster. About 31% of people who received the vaccine in Colorado have gone back to get their booster shot.
Polis encouraged anyone looking to get the vaccine to go out to Coors Field on Saturday. Vaccines and booster shots will be available to anyone aged 5 years and older. The event will take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
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More than 1,500 people are hospitalized in Colorado for COVID-19. Among those patients, 82% are unvaccinated, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
As of Friday, the state is requiring vaccinations for anyone who attends an indoor, unseated event of more than 500 people in certain counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Jefferson, Denver and Broomfield. The order will be effective through Dec. 31 and applies to everyone 12 and older.
Some local health officials are pushing for additional statewide measures. The Metro Denver Partnership for Health and Jefferson County Board of Health have asked this week for the state to implement, among other things, new mask mandates.
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