Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday extended the state of emergency originally issued on March 11 for another 30 days.
The original order — giving the governor wide authority to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic — was set to expire Friday.
The new executive order incorporates several other actions taken since March 11. That includes the governor's request from the White House for disaster declaration, which was granted on March 28.
It also formally authorizes implementation of a Crisis Standards of Care plan announced April 5.
The governor indicated in the new order that the state's disaster emergency fund is insufficient to deal with the ongoing disaster needs, and ordered a transfer of $23 million from the Controlled Maintenance Trust Fund to the disaster fund. He then ordered that $68 million from the disaster fund be used for "response activities" tied to the pandemic.
An amendment to the executive order, which changes previous orders, directs the Department of Personnel and Administration to work with the Division of Homeland Security and the state's emergency management center on leases and contracts for facilities that could be used for overflow patients.
Polis' state of emergency order follows an order earlier this week to extend stay-at-home guidelines until April 26. He also asked Coloradans almost a week ago to begin wearing non-medical masks whenever they go outside the home.
The Crisis Standards of Care dictate how the medical community will allocate medical procedures and care for COVID-19 patients, including who gets ventilators and intensive care beds.
Those standards are based on a four-tiered point allocation system:
- Tier one: Acuity of illness and morbidity.
- If there is a tie, points to pediatric patients, health care workers and first responders.
- If there is a tie, special considerations, such as pregnancy or a primary caregiver, or the number of years of life the patent is expected to have, with more points for younger people.
- If there is a tie, a random allocation to choose how to use scarce resources.
Polis said the state is days away from early results on stay-at-home and other social distancing efforts ordered on March 26. It takes 12 to 15 days for results to start to show up. Public health officials have estimated that the state's social distancing efforts have reduced the spread of the coronavirus from cases doubling every two days to every five days. Previous social distancing efforts — closing dine-in restaurants and bars, schools, gyms, nail and hair salons, ski resorts and other gathering places — have reduced the spread by 45%, public health officials said earlier this week. The state goal is at least 70%, which officials have said would reduce the chances that the state's supply of intensive care beds would never be overwhelmed.
As of Wednesday, there are been 5,655 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado; 193 people have died from the virus, and 1,162 have been hospitalized, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.