COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The next two weeks are expected to be the most critical in the nation's war against the COVID-19 virus.
Photo courtesy: MGN
On Monday, the Colorado governor announced the stay-at-home order was extended to April 26 for the state. Watch the governor's announcement at the top of this article. When the order was first announced, it was originally scheduled through April 11. President Donald Trump announced recently the country would be extending "social distancing guidelines" until April 30, which is separate from Colorado's stay at home order.
According to the governor's office, when this virus began the number of cases was doubling every 1.5 days, now it’s doubling every six days, meaning the spread of the virus is beginning to slow.
“We are beginning to see the impact of the actions we have taken so far, but I can’t stress enough the importance of staying home during these next few weeks,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have to keep this up for a little while longer in order to return to a level of normalcy in our economy and our society. Right now we need to dig deep into our souls to muster the resolve, the courage, the fortitude to carry on and do our patriotic duty as generations have done before.”
Click here for more from the governor's office on what the stay-at-home order means for the general public.
According to the Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), 30 to 40 percent of Coloradans will become infected with COVID-19 in the following months. Of those infected, Dr. Eric France says about five percent of those people will require hospitalization. Of the five percent hospitalized, 40 percent will need to be treated in the ICU, according to Dr. France.
While taking questions from the media via phone on Monday, representatives for CDPHE said the peak in Colorado could in May or later in the summer. They hope to have a better idea of when the peak could be in the coming days. 11 News reporter Catherine Silver was sitting in on the call and reports state epidemiologist says there are big differences between the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) model and the Colorado generated ones. Officials with CDPHE noted the IHME model is built off assumptions from Wuhan, China and the data is not similar to data we are seeing in Colorado.
CORONAVIRUS IN COLORADO BY THE NUMBERS (4/6 4 p.m.):
- EL PASO COUNTY: 441
- PUEBLO COUNTY: 45
- FREMONT COUNTY: 3
- TELLER COUNTY: 11
(All other counties can be viewed by clicking here and scrolling down.)
PEOPLE TESTED: 26,875
DEADLY CASES: 150
OUTBREAKS: 41 at residential and non-hospital health care facilities
The state added this data likely does not reflect the actual number of cases. Gov. Jared Polis also says there are probably thousands infected who have not been tested.
Calling the next 14 days the country's "Pearl Harbor moment, 9/11 moment," U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams called on Americans to play their role in the battle.
"It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives, and we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part," Adams said.
Over the next two weeks, the nation is expected to see its highest death toll as many parts of the country including Colorado reach the peak of the outbreak. At the same time, health experts are hoping that if every American does their part during that time -- taking social distancing guidelines seriously, taking good hygiene practices seriously, wearing masks in public, leaving the house as little as possible -- the country come out the other side on the downward slope of the pandemic.
"And we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part," Adams said.
"It's going to be shocking to some," said top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "It certainly is really disturbing to see [the number of cases and deaths projected in the week of April 6]. But that's what's going to happen before it turns around. So just buckle down, continue to mitigate, continue to do the physical separation, because we've got to get through this week that's coming up, because it is going to be a bad week."
More things to know to start the week:
- State officials say we could know by the middle of the week if the stay-at-home order is further flattening the virus' curve in Colorado. Gov. Jared Polis previously said the spread of COVID-19 had been reduced by about 40 percent due to the initial social distancing efforts implemented at the start of the state outbreak, such as closing dine-in restaurants, bars and gyms. Because the virus has up to a 14-day incubation period, it can take about two weeks to start seeing results from mitigation efforts.
- Colorado was specifically mentioned in the White House's April 4 briefing as a state government officials are closely watching.
- Dr. Deborah Birx first mentioned Colorado on April 3 as a state the federal government had some "developing concerns" on.
- When asked on the 4th to elaborate, she said: "We’re watching [Colorado, Pennsylvania and D.C.] because they are starting to go on that upside of the curve. We’re hoping and believing that if people mitigate strongly, the work that they did over the last two weeks will blunt that curve and they won’t have the same upward slope and peak that New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and part of Rhode Island are having."
- Health experts warn that the death toll will lag one to two weeks behind any curbing of cases.
- "But the end result of that you don't see for days or weeks down the pike, because, as the cases go down, then you get less hospitalizations, less intensive care and less death," Fauci said Sunday. "So even though you're getting really an improvement in that the number of new cases are starting to flatten, the deaths will lag by one or two weeks or more. So we need to be prepared that even though it's clear that mitigation is working, we're still going to see that tail-off of deaths."
- One thousand troops are deploying to New York City to assist with relief efforts. New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak in the U.S., saw a glimmer of hope Sunday with the one-day death toll falling for the first time. Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns it is too soon to know if this indicates a trend or if it was an outlier.
- "What is the significance of that? It’s too early to tell. This is the impact by state, but as I said, the interesting blip may be in the data or hopeful beginning of a shift in the data and the number of cases. Total number of new hospitalizations is 574 which is obviously much lower than previous numbers. That’s partially a function of more people being discharged, but you see ICU admissions are also down, the daily intubations down slightly from where it was. Again, you can’t do this day to day. You have to look at three or four days to see a pattern. Discharge rate is way up and that’s great news and the statewide balance of cases has been relatively stable for the past few days. There is a shift to Long Island. Upstate New York is basically flat and as Long Island grows, the percentage of cases in New York City has reduced."
- Locally, the testing site near Memorial Park, previously reserved for health care workers and first reponders only, is now testing seniors with symptoms.
- Some school districts are adding more locations for meal pick-up.
RESOURCES FOR COLORADANS DURING OUTBREAK
- For information and resources on COVID-19, El Paso and Teller County residents can call 719-575-8888 seven days a week. Monday through Friday, the line is available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Weekends, calls will be taken between 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- The state has a toll-free hotline CO HELP for general questions about COVID-19. That hotline can be reached at both 303-389-1687 and 877-462-2911.
- Those needing assistance with financial services, food, clothing and household needs, mental health, and more can call 211.
QUICK LINKS TO CREDIBLE SOURCES:
- Click here for the El Paso County Public Health COVID-19 website
- Click here for the CDPHE COVID-19 website. The website includes a lot of answers to frequently asked questions from across the state.
- Click here for the CDC COVID-10 website