Colorado’s COVID-19 transmission is plateauing, Gov. Polis says

CHSAA delays high school football until the spring

Gov. Jared Polis gives an update on Colorado's response to COVID-19 during a news briefing Aug. 4, 2020, at the Governor's Mansion. (Governor Jared Polis Facebook)

After a July that saw a spike in reported cases of COVID-19 rivaling April’s, the state’s three-day average of new reported cases appears to be plateauing or declining, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

From Aug. 1 through 3, the daily average of cases reported to CDPHE was 315 cases — a marked decline from mid-July, when the state recorded a daily average of 686 cases from July 22 through 24.

“Just because we are plateauing doesn’t mean we’re still not in a very precarious position,” Gov. Jared Polis cautioned at an Aug. 4 news briefing. “We can’t ease off. We’ve been through this once, people eased off a little bit, it resurged.”

Earlier this month, Polis — saying that data showed young adults were probably responsible for the increase in cases — implemented a 10 p.m. last call for restaurants serving alcohol. Drinking causes a “reduction of inhibitions” leading to a lapse in preventative behaviors such as mask-wearing and social distancing, Polis said when announcing the order July 21.

At the news briefing Aug. 4, Polis again urged Coloradans in the 20- to 30-year age group to practice responsible behaviors. While he said hanging out in smaller groups and avoiding parties are important sacrifices, he also mentioned times in history when much more has been asked of America’s young adults.

“Many of my father’s friends were called to serve in Vietnam,” he said.

Also on Aug. 4, the Colorado High School Activities Association released a modified schedule for the 2020-2021 school year, which will be split into four seasons.

High school football will begin practice on Feb. 22 and conclude on May 8.

Boys golf began official practice on Aug. 3, according to CHSAA’s announcement. Softball and boys tennis is set to begin on Aug. 10, and cross country on Aug. 12. These sports comprise Season A and will end by Oct. 17.

“In anticipation of data from the state which shows a likely resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late fall, there will be a participation moratorium from Oct. 18, 2020 to Jan. 3, 2021,” CHSAA’s announcement said.

Season B is scheduled to begin on Jan. 4 and end by March 6. It will include basketball, ice hockey, skiing, spirit, girls swimming and wrestling.

Season C, with most sports beginning March 1 and ending by May 1, includes field hockey, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, unified bowling and girls volleyball.

Sports in Season D — baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, girls tennis, boys swimming, track and field, and boys volleyball — will begin April 26 and end June 26.

While Polis said the latest data shows Colorado is doing better than many other states, he noted that the current way of life — wearing masks, maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet and avoiding large groups — is likely to continue until there’s a viable vaccine or cure for COVID-19.

Even if the state were to get the virus under control, it couldn’t keep out the thousands of out-of-state visitors who travel to Colorado each day, he said.

But if the current trend is maintained, Polis said, “we’ve been able to earn the ability to grow our economy, go back to school, live in an environment that’s reasonably safe — until there’s a vaccine or cure, and then we can really, fully regain our lives and the full socialization that we expect from them.”