Green is the least restrictive and Red is the second-most restrictive. As of November 17, only one county—Rio Blanco—was in the Green. Polis said “several” counties will be moving to the Red level.
The following counties will move to the Red level on Friday, November 20:
- Clear Creek
- La Plata
Additional counties will move to Level Red on Sunday, November 22:
Under the Red level, indoor dining will be closed, bars will be closed, and gyms are limited to 10% capacity. To see which level your county is in, click here.
You can see an updated list of the restrictions at each level here.
“While difficult, it’s really necessary for counties with sustained and uncontrollable viral growth to take this step to control the rapid spread of the disease, to save lives, to avoid breaching hospital capacity, and to enable them to move forward with reopening their economies,” Polis said.
Polis’ announcement comes as Colorado continues to set record highs in both COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
4,331 new COVID-19 cases were reported November 17. Polis said 2,299 Coloradans have died due to COVID-19. The governor himself attended the funeral of a friend who passed from coronavirus this past weekend.
Polis said there are more people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 than ever before in the pandemic. Hospitals are becoming stressed. CDPHE reports nearly 30% of facilities are anticipating a staffing shortage within the next week.
According to the governor, Parkview Medical Center reached capacity on November 16 and COVID-19 patients had to move to other facilities.
What’s more, ICU bed availability is in jeopardy, and Polis has previously issued an executive order outlining steps for hospital surge capacity. According to the latest regional data from CPDHE, the South region only has 9% of ICU beds available. In the Mile-High region, which includes Denver, the figure is 14%. Statewide, 83% of ICU beds are currently in use. Get the latest hospital data here.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock was also at the governor’s press conference. He said he expects Denver to move into the Red level soon. The City and County of Denver recently implemented a public health order called “Home by 10” that restricts nighttime business hours, particularly for bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as urges residents to be in their own homes by 10 p.m.
Hancock said during the press conference that hospitalizations in the Denver region are higher than they’ve ever been.
“Unlike in March and April, staffing is now a challenge,” Hancock said of the hospitals. “Doctors, nurses, and hospital staff are once again carrying us on their shoulders, and we as individuals must step up to lessen the burden on the and everyone else.”
For the latest data on COVID-19 in Colorado, including hospital capacity, click here.
Polis and Hancock were joined by Senate President Leroy Garcia and Speaker-designate Alec Garnett of the Colorado state legislature. The governor has called the general assembly to meet for a special session to put together a small business relief package, housing and rental assistance, support for childcare providers, and expanding broadband access so students can learn from home.
“Congressional inaction and partisan bickering has left millions stranded and completely abandoned at a time when there is the greatest need,” Leroy said of the federal government.
Polis added that he is sending a letter to Washington to urge the federal government to pass more economic relief legislation. “Our state needs substantially more help from the federal government to continue to respond and recover from this pandemic and implement the vaccination plan,” he said.