Gov. Polis orders stoppage of elective surgeries, extends closure of businesses

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Gov. Jared Polis ordered the suspension of elective surgeries, closure businesses such as salons and spas, and extended the closure of dining areas at bars and restaurants in Colorado through April 30 because of coronavirus crisis.

To reduce the spread of the virus, Polis closed a host of new businesses and services including horse racing tracks, off-track betting, hotel dining areas, spas, tattoo shops, massage parlors, hair and nail salons. 

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It also defines the closure of gyms to include fitness, dance, exercise or group classes, exercise studios and centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, pools, and other indoor athletic facilities.

The governor’s order closing new businesses was a revision to his order closing dine-in services at restaurants and bars and the temporary closure of gyms, theaters and casinos. The March 16 order closing dining areas and other businesses was originally slated to last 30 days. It will now last through April 30. 

The governor also ordered hospitals and health facilities to cease elective surgeries from Monday through April 14 to conserve the use of ventilators and respirators, and personal protective equipment such gloves, gowns masks. Respirators and ventilators are needed for those who become severely ill from coronavirus. The World Health Organization announced March 3 the global supply of personal protective equipment was rapidly depleting because of rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse.

Rural and critical access hospitals will still be allowed to perform elective surgeries, but are strongly advised to postpone them.

UCHealth hospitals and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services had already stopped performing nonessential surgeries, such as shoulder replacement. The hospitals will still perform urgent surgery, such as appendix removal. 

The governor also extended an opportunity for residents who are not insured through an employer to purchase insurance from Friday through April 3 through Connect for Health Colorado. Coverage purchased in this window will take effect April 1. 

The new orders from Polis came on the same day it was announced that a second El Paso County resident had died from COVID-19, one of two announced Thursday that raised the number of coronavirus deaths in Colorado to four.

El Paso County health officials also confirmed there had been an outbreak of six cases of the flu-like disease that has killed thousands worldwide in a southeast Colorado Springs nursing home, Laurel Manor Care Center.

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