Governor Polis Provides Update on State’s Response to COVID-19

Friday, January 8, 2021

DENVER - Today, Governor Polis provided an update on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist, who shared an update to the state’s modeling. 

“As we start a new year, and see the vaccine being administered in our communities it can feel like the pandemic is behind us but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We must continue to wear masks, avoid gatherings and physically distance ourselves from others,” said Governor Polis. “We are distributing the vaccine to providers across our state to ensure this crisis ending and life saving vaccine is being administered efficiently and equitably. We’ve come so far during the last 10 months, and it will take all of us working together to come out of the other side of this pandemic stronger than before.”

Dr. Herlihy provided an update on the state’s modeling, sharing that there are early signs of an increase after the holidays and that hospitalizations remain high. However, infection rates are down from their peak due to the efforts of Coloradans. An estimated 1 in 105 Coloradans estimated are currently contagious. 

Governor Polis urged Coloradans to keep up their good work wearing masks in public, physical distancing, and avoiding gatherings. The Governor pointed out that yesterday was the deadliest day of this global pandemic in the United States to date. 3,685 Americans died yesterday due to the virus, and the death toll is more than 364,000 nationally. 

Coloradans 70 and older are now part of Phase 1B in the state’s vaccination distribution plan, and in many parts of our state these Coloradans have access to vaccines. This group represents 78% of COVID deaths in Colorado. Coloradans over 70 should visit: to find links to contact providers like UC Health, Denver Health, Centura, and for information about how to get the vaccine.

The Governor shared that the state will be distributing its share of the vaccine across different kinds of healthcare providers. These allocations will help distribute the vaccine to providers across Colorado to ensure the vaccine is being administered efficiently and equitably. Hospitals will receive 50%, federally qualified health centers will receive 20%, community partners and local public health agencies will receive 20% and retail pharmacies will receive 10% of the vaccine supply.

Governor Polis took action today in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by amending an Executive Order related to the COVID-19 disaster declaration to allocate an additional $48 million to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local public health agencies for testing, vaccine distribution, and other COVID-19 response activities. 

The Governor also signed an Executive Order that redirects underutilized resources to nursing facilities and selected Home and Community-Based Services. This redirection of resources will help providers address the impacts of the pandemic, including severe staff shortages and substantial reductions in the use of these services.

View today’s presentation and press conference.