Colorado has become the latest state to order residents to remain in their homes in the face of steadily rising coronavirus cases and deaths throughout the country.

Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday issued a statewide stay-at-home order beginning Thursday until April 11 in response to COVID-19.

The coronavirus death toll in Colorado rose to 19 Wednesday, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The total number of cases statewide rose to 1,086 — 122 in El Paso County.

Click here to read about what a shelter in place order means.

"The numbers are telling us and the data are telling us that while we've made progress on increasing social distancing, that progress is not enough," Polis said.

Those exempt from the stay in place order include defense contractors, emergency services, medical services, pharmacies, grocery stores, truck drivers, farmers, child care workers and the media, Polis said.

Residents will be required by law to only leave their homes for critical needs, Polis said. Essential activities include getting medical attention or medical supplies, grocery shopping or those working in jobs exempt of the order.

"The rule of law is the foundation of our society," Polis said. "This order is now the law, temporarily and under extreme circumstances. And without any pleasure on my behalf for enacting it.

"Our generation is being called upon to sacrifice to save the lives of our fellow Coloradans and our fellow Americans. And that sacrifice is staying at home."

The update comes after several Colorado counties have issued a stay-at-home order in the past week — including Boulder, Denver and Jefferson counties in the past two days. 

“Voluntary measures are not enough,” Boulder city manager Jane Brautigam said Tuesday, “and we must enact a stay at home order for everything but the most essential activities if we are to flatten the curve and stop the social spread of COVID-19.”

The Jefferson County Department of Public Health became the latest in metro Denver to issue a stay-at-home order, effective from 8 a.m. Thursday through April 17.

The order follows those from the Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, as well as Broomfield and Boulder counties.

Last week, Polis ordered the closure of most Colorado businesses until April 30, including restaurant dining rooms, bars, theaters, gyms, casinos, horse racing tracks, off-track betting, spas, tattoo shops and salons.

The governor also recently issued an order that employers reduce the in-person workforce by 50% until April 10 because of the coronavirus. 


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Contact Liz Henderson, 719-476-1623

Twitter: @GazetteLiz

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist who joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

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