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'We need to get this under control now': Polis provides update on COVID-19

Polis provided an update on COVID-19 and shared ways Coloradans can help support the restaurant industry this winter.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) began a coronavirus press conference Tuesday by announcing the state on Saturday had its first day since March where over 1,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the state.

Polis added that, for the first time, the COVID-19 positivity rate in Colorado has exceeded 5%. The World Health Organization (WHO) in May recommended that the positivity rate be at or below 5% to contain the virus.

“It’s very worrisome, it’s very alarming,” Polis said. “This is our highest single-day case load since March."

Polis said that hospitalizations due to the virus are at 290, the highest the state has seen in the state since May.

“We have to be able to get this under control before the Thanksgiving and holiday season," Polis said. “We just have a few-week window to do that.”

Polis encouraged Coloradans to reduce social interactions, wash their hands and continue to wear masks. He also said expanded COVID-19 community testing will help bring down the positivity rate.

“If we are successful in controlling this in the next few weeks, it’ll set us up, not only our small business and restaurants for success, it’ll set up the state for further success in being able to go into a holiday season in a safe way, which is very important.”

Polis went on to discuss ways to help one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic – the restaurant industry. He applauded restaurants that have successfully implemented outdoor dining over the summer while adapting to COVID-19 safety guidelines.

With winter weather fast approaching, Polis called upon city leaders to come up with ways to sustain outdoor dining during the winter months, including using fire pits and space heaters.

Polis also announced in the Tuesday briefing that the state has partnered with the Colorado Restaurant Association, the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Colorado, the American Institute of Architects and the Associated General Contractors of Colorado to help support and encourage restaurants in creating outdoor spaces during the winter months with a Colorado Restaurant Winter Outdoor Dining Charrette/Design Workshop.

"With an abundance of creative professionals in our state, we are sure to receive innovative and feasible solutions to make outdoor dining not only viable in the winter, but also comfortable and fun, and inclusive of the many stakeholders involved," a website for the workshop says.

The workshop will be held virtually on Monday, Oct. 19 from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The program will then give eligible restaurants access to funding to help build their own solutions this winter. Click/tap to learn more or to donate.

Also on Tuesday, Xcel Energy and the Xcel Energy Foundation announced an investment of $500,000 to help support Colorado restaurants during the winter season.

“We are proud to be part of the Colorado community, and we are committed to helping our state recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy—Colorado. 

“Restaurants are part of what makes Colorado a special place to live, work, and visit. We thank Governor Polis for his leadership to aid Colorado’s recovery and we are proud to support this effort to ensure restaurants can continue to safely serve their customers through the winter months," Jackson said. 

Credit: 9NEWS

RELATED: 'We've reached a fork in the road': Denver mayor warns of increase in COVID-19 cases

Polis announced Sunday he has once again extended the statewide mask mandate for another 30 days to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This comes as COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rates continue to rise in the state.

"We have been very alarmed by recent trends, the mask wearing will absolutely have to continue," Polis said during an update from the Governor's Residence Friday. "It's one of the most important tools we have. It's one of the things that separates Colorado from most of our neighboring states that are currently hotspots."

Polis said Colorado's rate of mask wearing is much higher than places like the Dakotas and Wisconsin, which had to activate its field hospital to make sure they can meet capacity needs.

The executive order requires all Coloradoans to wear a face covering while in public indoor locations, with some exceptions.

RELATED: Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Oct. 13

RELATED: Gov. Polis officially extends statewide mask mandate

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