By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – Moving forward, a group of experts, leaders, and business people from Colorado’s public and private sectors will be crucial to our state’s response to COVID-19. It’s called the Innovation Response Team Task Force, and the governor announced its creation during a news conference Sunday night.

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Polis said the team will work on a number of tasks in the coming weeks, including developing a statewide system for mass testing and rapid results, developing technology to track the spread of the virus, creating a suite of services for people who are isolated, and finding local alternatives for creating and securing supplies.

“This is the sort of patriotic response that we need across the public and private sector for Colorado to mount a response to this virus that saves lives,” Polis said.

One of the companies helping meet those demands is Intertech Medical in Denver. On Monday, employees were churning out plastic test kits for Utah-based company, BioFire. Currently, the BioFire’s kits test for a number of respiratory issues, including influenza, but the updated tests will include COVID-19.

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“Once FDA approved, they’ll be distributed nationally and return results within 45 minutes,” said Noel Hinsburg, CEO of Intertech. “This type of testing technology will ensure that when something does break out, we can respond quickly, isolate people, and get our hands on the problem.”

Ginsburg is also a member of Colorado’s Innovation Response Team Task Force. Through public-private partnerships, the team will now supplement the state’s response to COVID-19.

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“We’re all focused on one thing. How do we get the highest quality product to our first responders and hospitals to make sure that as many lives as possible can be saved?” Ginsburg said.

According to Ginsburg, there are already early successes. On Sunday, the team secured an order of two million masks from a distributor in China. Ginsburg said they’ll be in the state by the end of the week.

The team is also looking at production possibilities with local companies. Currently, Greeley-based Genesis Plastics is preparing to make plastic medical face shields. Ginsburg said OraLabs will produce 20,000 personal use hand sanitizers for first responders and up to 2,000 half gallon containers for hospitals.

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“What I’m seeing is throughout our state we have amazing people doing whatever they can to contribute to this need,” Ginsburg said.

According to Polis, it’s necessary for the state to be proactive. On Sunday, the governor was critical of the lack of aide from the federal government.

“At this point, while anything the federal government can provide us is helpful, we know we can’t count on that to help meet the need,” Polis said.

Ginsburg said he is confident the task force will live up to expectations.

“This may be the most important thing I’ve ever done because the work that we’re doing, if we do it well, can save lives,” he said.

Conor McCue