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Group that previously tried to recall Polis wants governor to lift stay-home order now

A conservative group that led a failed recall against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is asking Coloradans to sign a petition aimed at lifting stay-home orders.

DENVER — A conservative political action committee that led a failed recall attempt against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has a new goal.

Colorado Freedom Force wants Coloradans to sign a petition demanding the governor lift the state's stay-at-home order.

The current order, intended to stop the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, is set to expire on April 26. However, Scott Bookman, the incident commander for the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), said Thursday that a strong testing capacity is a key requirement for opening the state.

"We're saying that the governor needs to take the mandates off, so the people of Colorado can do what they think is best for their individual lives, for their families, for their businesses," said Republican State Sen. Kevin Lundberg, who is part of the Freedom Force effort, in an interview with Next with Kyle Clark on Thursday. "I've talked to dozens of people in the last few days who give me the problems that this is creating, and of course the big one is that it has literally shut the state down and that is not sustainable."

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Lundberg said he doesn't question whether Polis had the authority to issue the statewide mandate last month, but he feels Colorado is in a different position than other places, like New York City.

As 9Wants to Know reported this week, data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) shows that while the total number of people in the hospital has steadily been growing, Colorado Hospital Association data shows a decline in the current number of people in a hospital as of Wednesday because of severe coronavirus symptoms. 

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“Coloradans are doing an extraordinary job of social distancing, leading to this flattening of our curve,” said Dr. Darlene Tad-y, CHA vice president of clinical affairs, in a news release. “We urge all Coloradans to continue this important work, just as our health care providers will continue their important work caring for our patients."

The former state senator acknowledged that Colorado Freedom Force did not consult public health experts about the impact of lifting the stay-home order now.

"I've come to the conclusion that public health doesn't have all the answers," said Lundberg.

CDPHE did not respond to a 9NEWS request Thursday afternoon regarding how many tests are needed or when they might be coming. But 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli says the state will need to consider more than just the amount of tests it gets.

She said tests that provide results in minutes or hours, not days, will play an important part in isolating sick people and preventing spread. Also, Colorado will need serology tests to determine if people have been carrying the virus asymptomatically.

"I totally reject the contention that if the Governor removes the mandate that more people will die," Lundberg said to Next. "Let's try freedom again."

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You can see the full interview below.

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