Virus Outbreak Colorado

Scott Bookman, front, Colorado incident commander for the effort to deal with the effects of COVID-19, responds to a question as Colorado Governor Jared Polis looks on during a news conference as a statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect in an effort to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Centennial, Colo. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

PHOTOS: Documenting COVID-19 in the Pikes Peak region.

Colorado must have the locations, partners and personal protective equipment necessary for mass testing in order to re-open the state, officials said at a Thursday coronavirus press conference.

"The governor is very clear that the state will not reopen until we have the capacity to keep everyone safe," and this will involve such large-scale testing, said Scott Bookman, the state's coronavirus incident commander.

The goal is to have at least one testing site in each county, though the site might need to be mobile in smaller counties, and more sites will be needed for larger counties, he said.

FULL COVERAGE: More updates from the Pikes Peak region and state.

State officials believe Colorado is in the "plateau phase" when it comes to the virus' spread, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, an epidemiologist with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

But the rate of spread needs to drop before the stay-at-home order is lifted, she added.

When it is, "we'll have alternative strategies" to squash the spread of the virus that are "a little less than a stay-at-home order," she said. "There is a variety of strategies we're looking at right now" to "come up with the appropriate menu of options to try to match what we're achieving right now with the stay-at-home order." 

In other news:

- Hospitals are being allowed to re-use equipment they would not normally due to a personal protective-equipment shortage, Bookman said.

- The state has achieved between 70 and 80% social distancing, Herlihy said.

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