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'COVID-19 is unlike anything I've seen': Nurse takes podium during Colorado governor's news conference

Colorado's governor said the state has made headway in purchasing PPE, and showed how it is distributed to medical professionals.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) gave the podium to someone else during a large portion of his tri-weekly news conference Wednesday afternoon.

That person was Laura Rosenthal, a nurse on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic who shared her experience in honor of National Nurses Day.

“COVID-19 is unlike anything I’ve seen in my 20 years as a nurse,” she said. “It’s not an old people disease or a sick people disease.”

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Rosenthal said she’s treated everyone from 25 to 99 years old, and used her time on the podium to implore people to continue to stay home even as the weather warms and counties lift their stay-at-home orders.

“I know it’s easy to believe that COVID-19 will not affect you, but it already has,” she said.

Following Rosenthal’s remarks, the governor highlighted what the state is doing to protect nurses. Specifically, he said he’s working to obtain more personal protective equipment (PPE), something medical professionals have worried is in short supply.

Colorado said Colorado has obtained:

  • 116,000 face shields
  • 1.3 million gloves
  • 534,000 N95 masks
  • 272,205 surgical masks
  • 195,109 gowns

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Polis said that:

  • 39.2% of the PPE goes to first responders.
  • 23.3% goes to hospitals.
  • 11.5% goes to senior care facilities.
  • 6.1% goes to home care professionals.
  • 4.3% goes to emergency management and public health workers.
  • 4% goes to clinics.
  • 4% goes to hospital designees.
  • The rest goes to miscellaneous sources.

On Tuesday, Colorado eclipsed 900 confirmed deaths of COVID-19. Polis said this number will likely increase in the coming months, and could be higher than what is reported.

“It now seems extremely likely that the virus was circulating among us for weeks before [the first case],” Polis said.

COVID-19 was first confirmed in Summit County in early March, and since then, there have been thousands of cases across the state.

During January and February, Polis said cases of the novel coronavirus could have been diagnosed as pneumonia in area hospitals.

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