March 29, 2020, By Jenny Paulson – As a result of a goring number of infections, hospitalizations, positive tests and now at least 44 deaths in Colorado in connection with COVID-19, President Donald Trump approved the application for a major disaster status. One death was from Pueblo County.
The designation gives Colorado access to additional federal funding and assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in fighting the virus.
“This declaration ensures that Colorado can be on a level playing field with other states that already have this status like New York and Washington when it comes to federal disaster funding and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance,” said Gov. Jared Polis in a statement released Saturday evening.
“We are forging new and innovating partnerships daily with the federal government and the private sector to minimize the health threat and the economic threat of the virus,” he said.
Polis estimated that Colorado hospitals may be 7,000 ventilators short and needs thousands of masks to be able to handle a worst-case-scenario crush of patients infected with COVID-19.
He issued a “stay-at-home” order barring all non-essential travel and closing non-essential businesses to reduce the spread of the virus, valid until April 11th and warned that it’s going to likely get worse before getting better. He said the order could save thousands of lives and expects people to take it seriously with the hope of stopping the spreading virus.