Colorado Governor Polis Provides Update on COVID-19, Discusses Mental Health Practices for the Holiday Season
DENVER – Today Governor Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and discussed mental health practices during the holiday season. Gov. Polis was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, and Aimee Voth Siebert, the Disaster Behavioral Health Lead at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“There is hope on the horizon as the vaccine is now in Colorado and being distributed to frontline health care heroes, but it is going to be months before the general population can be vaccinated. So let’s keep doing our part to slow the spread of the virus by wearing masks, staying six feet from others, and avoiding gatherings outside of our household,” said Gov. Polis. “Coloradans are facing mental health challenges as we experience a holiday season unlike any other but help and resources are available to anyone struggling. We can and will get through this challenging time together.”
Sharing the news that the Pfizer vaccine vial, which was only labeled to contain five doses, actually yields a sixth dose when administered with precision, the Governor explained that this extra dose is an incredible, life-saving opportunity to increase our supply of the vaccine in Colorado by 20%, getting even more people vaccinated sooner. The Governor sent a letter to the vaccine providers asking them to use the sixth dose.
Governor Polis also announced that earlier this week, the Department of Public Health and Environment released the final parameters for the 5 Star Program for restaurants which counties must apply for. Qualifying businesses in counties that have chosen to stand up this program are able to expand operations by implementing safety measures beyond what is already required by public health orders and guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Depending on the county’s level and metrics, certified businesses may be eligible for less restrictive capacity caps, meaning more indoor dining for those who meet the criteria. This is completely voluntary for local governments to participate in. CDPHE began accepting applications from counties today.
1 out of every 59 Coloradans is infected with COVID-19. Wearing masks, avoiding social gatherings with people outside your homes, and staying at least six feet away from others is helping Colorado change the concerning trends the state has been experiencing over the last couple months. Continuing this behavior over the next few weeks is going to be crucial to preventing disease transmission and loss of life.
The Governor acknowledged that he recognizes how challenging this has been and that the state knows that throughout this pandemic, Coloradans have experienced increased feelings of isolation, depression and anxiety and these feelings are traditionally exacerbated during the holidays, but particularly this year as we are away from our loved ones.
According to the Office of eHealth Innovation, there has been a 600% increase in telemedicine use for anxiety, depression, and substance use. For anyone out there experiencing mental health challenges, please know that you are not alone and there are resources available to get you the support you need.
Mental health care is just as important as any physical health care, and we want to ensure that Coloradans know how to access that care.
If you are experiencing a crisis or need someone to talk to, please reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-8255.
You can also visit:
- Health First Colorado – Colorado’s Medicaid Program – https://www.healthfirstcolorado.com/
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – find services near you at findtreatment.samhsa.gov
The Governor also extended and amended an Executive Order temporarily suspending certain regulatory statutes due to the presence of COVID-19, and extended an Executive Order related to marriage licenses.
Here is today’s presentation.