- Colorado declared a state of emergency on Tuesday after its 15th coronavirus case was confirmed in a matter of days.
- The patients live all over the state and are not clustered in a single area.
- The state of emergency involves granting sick leave for people who test positive for the coronavirus in industries like food handling, hospitality, and healthcare; creating a drive-up testing facility; and implementing other measures.
- The state is looking for ways to fund sick leave for people whose employers do not provide it, such as unemployment insurance.
- Massachusetts also declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon.
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While Colorado doesn’t have as many confirmed cases as other states, the concerning part is that the cases are all over the state, including mountain areas where people ski and that are still in tourist season; the greater Denver area; and the northern and western parts of the state.
The state of emergency involves ensuring that workers in industries like food handling, hospitality, childcare, healthcare, and education will get tested and stay home if they exhibit flu-like symptoms. The governor directed the Colorado Department of Labour and Employment “to engage in emergency rulemaking” to make sure these workers get sick leave even while awaiting their test results for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
He also directed the department to find other methods of payment for workers who test positive but don’t have access to sick leave, such as unemployment insurance.
Colorado state employees will also be entitled to sick leave or be free to work from home if they’re able to, Polis said. The governor urged private businesses to extend paid sick leave to their employees to encourage them not to come to work sick.
The state’s health department is also creating a drive-up testing facility in Denver for people who have a doctor’s order to get tested for the virus, Polis said.
Polis also told the Department of Motor Vehicles to temporarily allow residents over 65 to renew their driver’s licenses online rather than forcing them to “congregate” in public DMV offices.
Massachusetts also declared a state of emergency on Tuesday afternoon as its number of cases hit 92.
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