Pandemic update from the governor’s office


DENVER - Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. Dr. Herlihy demonstrated the strong correlation between locations in Colorado with higher vaccination rates and lower hospitalization rates.

“We want to be in your community and we want to make sure it’s convenient to get the vaccine,” said Governor Polis. “Our data and research show that the vast majority of Coloradans want the vaccine and now it’s about making sure that people make a concrete plan to get it this week or next. Whether it’s visiting one of our community vaccination sites, a clinic in your neighborhood, or visiting our mobile bus clinic, it has never been easier to get the free, safe, and amazingly effective vaccine.”

Nearly a third of eligible Coloradans (1,695,972) have been fully vaccinated at this point and more than half have received their first dose (2,505,053), with more providers and appointments coming online every day. 

“The trends are pretty different across the state based on vaccination rates — we’re seeing differences in case rates in counties that have high vaccination rates compared to counties that have low vaccination rates. For the 10 largest counties in Colorado, for every 10% increase the percent of people who are vaccinated, there is a correlated decrease in cases. Additionally, we’re seeing our most rapid increase among middle and high-school students, who are currently unvaccinated. Overall, what we’re seeing here is our first clear sign of community level protection from vaccinations.”

The Governor provided an update on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, following the two-week pause recommended by the FDA and CDC. Last Friday, CDPHE and the Colorado Joint Vaccine Task Force gave the green light to providers to proceed with using the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine immediately, and Coloradans already received it over this past weekend and are getting it every day. CDPHE has also sent information to health care providers to instruct them regarding how to identify and treat TTS (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome) in the very rare case where it were to occur.

Children’s Hospital Colorado has been a nimble partner in the vaccine campaign. Since the Pfizer vaccine is approved for use in patients ages 16 and older and is on its way to being approved for use in patients 12 to 15 years old, Children’s Colorado has made appointments available to everyone eligible to receive the two-dose Pfizer vaccine at their Aurora and Colorado Springs facilities. For more information and to register for an appointment on Children’s Colorado’s website, visit Childrenscolorado.Org/Getvaccinated. 

All six Community Vaccination Sites now accept walk-ins when there are available appointments with no advance registration required. Same-day walk up and drive up appointments are available at four of the six sites this week, and you can register in advance to speed up the process. Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City and Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo have filled appointments. People who were planning to get vaccinated at the Dick’s site should either register in advance or walk up to Denver’s Ball Arena instead. There are 4,000 appointments available at Ball Arena for today and tomorrow. Broadmoor World Arena will be taking walk ups on the weekends. To find a provider near you, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine/where-you-can-get-vaccinated. 

Last year, Governor Polis signed the Healthy Families and Workplaces Act, giving all regular employees working full-time or part-time in the state eligibility to receive paid time off by January 1st of this year for health and safety-related needs. That means the vast majority of workers have the right to take four hours of paid time off or sick leave for a vaccine appointment -- even when scheduled during work hours, and use PTO while recovering from COVID-19 vaccine side effects. Employers are required to honor that right. 

If your employer’s answer to “Can I take time off?” is “No,” meaning they have not allowed you to use accumulated hours of leave time to receive the vaccine or recover from vaccine side effects -- or the pay rate does not match the hourly rate you would normally receive plus the same benefits, please call CDLE’s Division of Labor Standards and Statistics at (303) 318-8441 to ask questions or voice a complaint.

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