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Governor Jared Polis during a July 19 appearance on ABC This Week.
Governor Jared Polis during a July 19 appearance on ABC This Week.

COVID-19: Most Colorado Cases, Hospitalizations Since May

On July 19, Governor Jared Polis took to the national airwaves, explaining his decision to issue a statewide mask order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 on NBC's Meet the Press and ABC's This Week — and his urgency was reinforced by new statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which just reported case and hospitalization data higher than at any point since May.

Here are the cumulative numbers from the CDPHE, updated after 4 p.m. on July 19:

40,142 cases
439,068 people tested
63 counties
1,752 deaths among cases
1,615 deaths due to COVID-19
427 outbreaks

Note that only one Colorado county, Kiowa, has yet to report a case of the novel coronavirus.

Even more telling are daily tallies for positive COVID-19 cases, which hit 513 on July 17. That's the largest daily number since the 585 on May 1, more than two and a half months ago. The peak to date was 725 on April 25.

Here are the daily case figures for the most recent ten days available, which seesaw along a generally upward trajectory:

July 18: 427
July 17: 513
July 16: 507
July 15: 470
July 14: 400
July 13: 387
July 12: 394
July 11: 480
July 10: 492
July 9: 461

Hospitalization data is following a similar trend. The 273 total for people hospitalized with COVID-19 on July 17 and again on July 19 represent the most in this category since the 297 count on May 31. The record to date was 888 on April 14.

The rise in hospitalizations is even more straightforward than the number of daily cases reported, as seen in stats from the past ten days:

July 19: 273
July 18: 268
July 17: 273
July 16: 260
July 15: 247
July 14: 252
July 13: 220
July 12: 220
July 11: 215
July 10: 211

Thus far, however, daily deaths from COVID-19 remain low, with the most recent registered on July 15. Here's the rundown in the ten days prior:

July 15: 2
July 14: 4
July 13: 1
July 12: 4
July 11: 3
July 10: 2
July 9: 2
July 8: 2
July 7: 6
July 6: 4

On ABC's This Week, Polis repeated much of the reasoning for his mask order that he'd shared during last week's announcement, citing analyses showing that counties with such mandates tend to have fewer cases than those without one. But on NBC's Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd pushed him harder on a number of topics — including Colorado's status among the bottom eleven states in the U.S. when it comes to tests conducted.

Polis responded by arguing that states with the highest case loads tend to have larger testing numbers, then touted Denver's free testing facility at the Pepsi Center with the kind of stumble capable of making Coloradans cringe: He called the arena the "home of the Broncos." But he also made one of his strongest statements to date about the failures of the Trump administration to deal with the pandemic, maintaining that "the national testing scene is a complete disgrace" and pointing out that delays in results of six to nine days, or sometimes even longer, from national testing services make them "almost useless from an epidemiological or even a diagnostic perspective."

On the local level, Polis's office released statements of support regarding his mask order from the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the president of the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, the president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Contractors of Colorado and a number of other business and civic organizations.

Tourism leaders backed the move, too, including Doug Price, president and CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. "In Colorado Springs, we understand the importance of visitors practicing responsible tourism (wear a mask when in public, practice social distancing, avoid crowded trails, stay home when sick, know before you go, etc.)," Price said. "We have the dedication of all our tourism attractions/businesses to follow strict guidelines in order to safely serve the public. We must keep hotels open and continue raising capacity numbers to heal the local economy. Businesses like The Broadmoor and Flying W Ranch have just reopened their doors — if we’re going to keep it that way, we need everyone to work together."

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