Reopening to begin, but Polis says social distancing to stay |

Reopening to begin, but Polis says social distancing to stay

Colorado Governor Jared Polis speaks during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stop the spread of the new coronavirus Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Denver.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

DENVER (AP) — As Colorado prepares to lift its statewide stay-home order, Gov. Jared Polis said Sunday that social distancing measures should likely continue for months to avoid another spike in cases.

During an appearance on CNN, the Democrat defended his decision to allow the order to expire Monday despite high case numbers last week. He said the totals reflect people who were actually infected weeks ago, but only recently confirmed. Overall, he said the state’s “aggressive intervention” has effectively flattened the curve, but people still need to take steps such as keeping physically apart and keep wearing masks to avoid a wave of new cases.

“We’re all worried about a potential for a second spike,” in July or after flu season begins in the fall, he told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s why we have really been really laser-focused … on figuring out how we can endure and sustain these kinds of social distancing measures.”

In Denver, Mayor Michael Hancock has extended the state-home order, saying his city needs more time to expand their testing and tracing capacity.

Polis said the state is helping with that effort, but some other, rural areas have low rates of infection. He also pointed to Eagle County, home of the well-known Vail ski resorts. It was hit hard by the pandemic, but will begin a slow reopening Monday after case numbers declined.

The governor will also allow offices to reopen with a half-capacity workforce and social distancing starting May 4, though the state is encouraging working from home longer if possible, especially for at-risk employees.

More than 670 people have died of the coronavirus in Colorado, and nearly 13,000 people have been infected. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate flu-like symptoms, but for others, especially older people and those with underlying health conditions, it can be fatal.

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