DENVER (CBS4) – While the COVID-19 crisis seemingly started overnight, Gov. Jared Polis says that is not how it will end. He says it will be a slow return to a new normal for Colorado.

“It’s not going to be exactly like it was. It might be that workplaces are spaced out a little bit more, it might be that shifts are staggered, it could be that more people are telecommuting,” he said.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis

(credit: CBS)

In an exclusive interview with CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd (watch the complete discussion below), the governor defended his response to the coronavirus crisis. The first symptoms in the state appeared in mid-February.

“We know this is a very severe step of stay at home … so we use the best science and data we have to target this most radical thing — people staying home — to be the minimal length and to be timed during the optimal time to reduce the spread.”

Polis was blunt about his own chances of contracting the virus.

“I think it’s certainly possible that I will and likely that I will. Whether you get it or not, Shaun, whether I get it or no, Shaun, I guarantee many members of our friends and family will get it,” he said.

One of his friends, he says, is hospitalized with the virus.

coronavirus testing

(credit: CBS)

He says that because many people won’t have symptoms, mass testing is the best way — outside of everyone staying home — of containing the virus’s spread. One private lab tells CBS4 it got CDC approval three weeks ago to process 1,300 tests a day, but is still awaiting state approval. The governor says he has brought on private industry executives who have built companies to build a state testing network.

“We’re working rapidly on expanding testing. I mean, 1,300 day will help but that’s not mass testing,” Polis said.

Getting masks, gloves and ventilators, he admits, is even more difficult.

“It is a global free-for-all.”

If the end to the crisis is still months away, a recovery may be longer. One of Colorado’s top industries is tourism and recreation.

“And while many industries are suffering, this one has been zeroed out,” said Polis. “That will be a slow recovery over time and really won’t be able to fully recover until there’s a vaccination or cure, which could be a matter of many months.”

Colorado governor Jared Polis

Gov. Jared Polis during a recent news conference about the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado (credit: CBS)

Right now, the statewide stay-at-home order ends next week.

“If that needs to go another week, it will go another week, but we know people need to see that light at the end of the tunnel.”

Including him. He’s a dad with two kids running the state from home.

“You thought there’s going to be one week of spring break, the kids are home all the time.”

The governor says they go for walks once a day and he’s up at night often taking calls from around the world trying to secure more tests and personal protective equipment.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

Shaun Boyd