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Polis on How Extreme Cold Will Impact COVID Testing, Vaccinations

Governor Jared Polis at a drive-up vaccination site last week.
Governor Jared Polis at a drive-up vaccination site last week.
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In an unexpected twist, weather was among the major topics in Governor Jared Polis's February 12 press conference updating the public on Colorado's response to COVID-19. With extreme cold expected to envelop most of the state over the extended Presidents' Day weekend, many testing sites are curtailing some or all of their activities (see the complete list below), and there are concerns that many of the people scheduled to be inoculated will skip their appointments because of the bitter temperatures.

Polis's message for those unable to get tested: If you have symptoms, assume you're infected and quarantine just as you would after a positive diagnosis until you can confirm or disprove their suspicions. As for those slated for vaccinations scheduled, since blizzard conditions are unlikely, try to keep the appointments. "It's very important that we don't let Mother Nature slow our progress against the pandemic," he said. "We in Colorado aren't afraid of a little bit of cold."

At the outset, Polis noted a much larger daily case count than has been common in recent weeks: 2,091. However, he quickly added that 888 of those cases were "back-filled" because they were recorded late, putting the actual sum much closer to 1,200 — a figure that remains relatively high but represents stability rather than a huge spike. Even better, current statewide hospitalizations are down to 430, or 26 fewer than the previous day.

And vaccinations are definitely up: Around 616,000 first doses have been dispensed, as well as 271,000 second doses. At this point, 302,338 Coloradans ages seventy and up have received at least an initial shot, putting the state 77 percent of the way to its goal of vaccinating at least 70 percent of this demographic by the end of February — and Polis hopes the benchmark will be exceeded. Moreover, 35,618 people between ages 65 and 69 have received their first shot, 22 percent of the total in that demographic. At this pace, Polis says he feels confident that at least 70 percent of that group will have been vaccinated by the first week of March.

After warning that Coloradans need to continue following standard safety protocols such as mask-wearing in public, social distancing and avoiding social gatherings with folks from different households to prevent what he referred to as "a third wave," Polis shifted to other topics: the high risk of avalanches in the high country and the impending launch of 2021's regular session of the Colorado General Assembly. During the Q&A, several questions were also unrelated to the novel coronavirus, including Polis's position on losing Space Command (he said he's coordinating with U.S. senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet to combat this "poor and ill-fated decision") and funding proposals related to Main Street revitalization and improving transportation infrastructure.

Yes, virus-related subjects were raised, too. Polis again said the only thing stopping the state from vaccinating more people sooner is supply — and he hopes the approval by federal regulators of a new, one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which could take place as soon as early March, will prove beneficial in that respect. If this blessing doesn't happen, he said he might reconsider his approach to vaccinating members of the homeless community. (Earlier this week, he suggested waiting to inoculate unhoused individuals younger than 65 until the single-dose vaccine is available instead of immediately prioritizing them — as the City of Denver has requested — because doing so would make it easier to protect individuals whose lack of a fixed address could make it harder to guarantee they receive their second shot.) But from what he's heard, Polis said, a complete rejection of the Johnson & Johnson version is very unlikely.

Likewise, Polis cheered a federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaration that K-12 schools should be able to reopen safely before all teachers are vaccinated. In this context, he delivered his familiar mantra about layered protections making schools some of the safest work environments, despite a growing number of outbreaks at educational facilities in recent weeks.

Here's the list of state-partnered community testing sites that will be closed or operate under a modified schedule this weekend because of the extreme cold weather, as updated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment earlier today:

These sites will be closed Friday, February 12:

Aurora Del Mar — 30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO. 80011
Boulder Stazio Ball Fields — 2445 Stazio Dr., Boulder, CO. 80301
Denver Human Services — 3815 N Steele St., Denver, CO. 80205
Federal Heights Water World — West 90th Avenue and North Tejon Street, Federal Heights, CO. 80260
Greeley UNC — 1348 20th Street, Greeley, CO. 80639
Green Valley Ranch — 4455 Jebel St., Denver, CO. 80249
Longmont Boulder Fairgrounds — 2199 Boston Ave., Longmont, CO. 80501
Our Lady of the Pines Church — 9444 Eagle Cliff Rd., Conifer, CO. 80433
Paco Sanchez Park — 290 Knox Ct., Denver, CO. 80219
Ruby Hill — 1380 West Florida Ave., Denver, CO. 80223
Westminster Fat Cats — 10685 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CO. 80020

These sites will be closed Saturday, February 13:

Abraham Lincoln High School — 2285 S Federal Blvd., Denver, CO. 80219
Aurora Del Mar — 30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO. 80011
Bennett Community Center — 1100 W Colfax Ave., Bennett, CO. 80102
Boulder Stazio Ball Fields — 2445 Stazio Dr., Boulder, CO. 80301
Cañon City — 201 North 6th St., Cañon City, CO. 81212
Castle Rock — 500 Fairgrounds Dr., Castle Rock, CO. 80104
Colorado School of Mines — 1922 Jones Road, Golden, CO. 80401
Colorado Springs Citadel Mall — 680 Citadel Dr. E, Colorado Springs, CO. 80909
Denver Human Services — 3815 N Steele St., Denver, CO. 80205
Falcon — 12072 Royal County Down Road, Falcon, CO. 80831
Federal Heights Water World — West 90th Avenue and North Tejon Street, Federal Heights, CO. 80260
Fountain — 6436 US Highway 85/87, Fountain, CO. 80817
Greeley UNC — 1348 20th Street, Greeley, CO. 80639
Green Valley Ranch — 4455 Jebel St., Denver, CO. 80249
Lone Tree — 10000 Park Meadows Dr., Lone Tree, CO. 80124
Longmont Boulder Fairgrounds — 2199 Boston Ave., Longmont, CO. 80501
Montessori School of Evergreen — 6989 County Hwy 73, Evergreen, CO. 80439
Mountain Range High School — 12500 Huron Street., Westminster, CO. 80234
Paco Sanchez Park — 290 Knox Ct., Denver, CO. 80219
Pueblo State Fairgrounds — 2701 W Mesa Ave., Pueblo, CO. 81004
Rampart Range Campus — 2070 Interquest Pkwy., Colorado Springs, CO. 80920
Ruby Hill — 1380 West Florida Ave., Denver, CO. 80223
Silverthorne — 591 Center Circle, Silverthorne, CO. 80498
Westminster Fat Cats — 10685 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CO. 80020

The following sites will have modified hours on Saturday, February 13 — 9 a.m.-noon:

Jefferson County Fairgrounds — 15200 W 6th Ave. Frontage Road, Golden, CO. 80401
Stutler Bowl Stadium — 9300 East Union Ave., Greenwood Village, CO. 80111

These sites will be closed Sunday, February 14:

Aurora Del Mar — 30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO. 80011
Boulder Stazio Ball Fields — 2445 Stazio Dr., Boulder, CO. 80301
Cañon City — 201 North 6th St., Cañon City, CO. 81212
Castle Rock — 500 Fairgrounds Dr., Castle Rock, CO. 80104
Colorado Springs Citadel Mall — 680 Citadel Dr. E, Colorado Springs, CO. 80909
Denver Human Services — 3815 N. Steele St., Denver, CO. 80205
Falcon — 12072 Royal County Down Road, Falcon, CO. 80831
Federal Heights Water World — West 90th Avenue and North Tejon Street, Federal Heights, CO. 80260
Fountain — 6436 US Highway 85/87, Fountain, CO. 80817
Greeley UNC — 1348 20th Street, Greeley, CO. 80639
Green Valley Ranch — 4455 Jebel St., Denver, CO. 80249
Lone Tree — 10000 Park Meadows Dr., Lone Tree, CO. 80124
Longmont Boulder Fairgrounds — 2199 Boston Ave., Longmont, CO. 80501
Paco Sanchez Park — 290 Knox Ct., Denver, CO. 80219
Pueblo State Fairgrounds — 2701 W. Mesa Ave., Pueblo, CO. 81004
Rampart Range Campus — 2070 Interquest Pkwy., Colorado Springs, CO. 80920
Ruby Hill — 1380 West Florida Ave., Denver, CO. 80223
Silverthorne — 591 Center Circle, Silverthorne, CO. 80498
Westminster Fat Cats — 10685 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CO. 80020

These sites will be closed Monday, February 15:

Denver Human Services — 3815 N. Steele St., Denver, CO. 80205 (Due to Holiday)
Greeley UNC — 1348 20th Street, Greeley, CO. 80639
Green Valley Ranch — 4455 Jebel St., Denver, CO. 80249 (Due to Holiday)
Paco Sanchez Park — 290 Knox Ct., Denver, CO. 80219 (Due to Holiday)
Ruby Hill — 1380 West Florida Ave., Denver, CO. 80223 (Due to Holiday)

The following sites are postponing their opening time on Monday, February 15, until 10 a.m.:

Aurora Del Mar — 30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO. 80011
Boulder Stazio Ball Fields — 2445 Stazio Dr., Boulder, CO. 80301
Cañon City — 201 North 6th St., Cañon City, CO. 81212
Castle Rock — 500 Fairgrounds Dr., Castle Rock, CO. 80104
Colorado Springs Citadel Mall — 680 Citadel Dr. E, Colorado Springs, CO. 80909
Falcon — 12072 Royal County Down Road, Falcon, CO. 80831
Federal Heights Water World — West 90th Avenue and North Tejon Street, Federal Heights, CO. 80260
Fountain — 6436 US Highway 85/87, Fountain, CO. 80817
Lone Tree — 10000 Park Meadows Dr., Lone Tree, CO. 80124
Longmont Boulder Fairgrounds — 2199 Boston Ave., Longmont, CO. 80501
Pueblo State Fairgrounds — 2701 W Mesa Ave., Pueblo, CO. 81004
Rampart Range Campus — 2070 Interquest Pkwy., Colorado Springs, CO. 80920
Silverthorne — 591 Center Circle, Silverthorne, CO. 80498
Westminster Fat Cats — 10685 Westminster Blvd., Westminster, CO. 80020

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