By Audra Streetman

DENVER (CBS4) – Gov. Jared Polis says policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are working in Colorado. During a press conference on Tuesday, Polis announced Mesa, Gilpin and Rio Blanco counties were approved to move into the Protect Our Neighbors phase after making progress to contain the virus.

Gov. Jared Polis (credit: CBS)

The three counties have met the following criteria to be certified for the Protect Our Neighbors phase:

  •  Sufficient hospital bed capacity
  •  Sufficient PPE Supply
  •  Stable or declining COVID-19 hospitalizations
  •  Fewer new cases
  •  Sufficient testing capacity
  •  Ability to implement case investigation and contact tracing protocol.
  •  Documented surge-capacity plan for case investigation and contact tracing.
  •  Documented strategies to offer testing to close contacts.

“Our positivity rate remains low and we are faring much better than many of our neighboring states, but we have to remain vigilant,” stated Polis in an email newsletter Tuesday night.

In order to lift restrictions, Gov. Polis said Coloradans need to continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing, wash their hands often and adhere to safety guidelines.

On Tuesday, Gov. Polis joined Denver Broncos’ Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Brittany Bowlen to announce up to 5,700 fans will be allowed at Empower Field at Mile High starting with the the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on Sept. 27.

(Credit: CBS)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment approved the Broncos’ plan to allow a limited number of fans. Other venues can do the same by applying for a variance from the state in conjunction with their local health department.

In addition to the Broncos game announcement, Gov. Polis also announced a new partnership between the state, Google and Apple to create a new app to notify people of possible exposure to COVID-19. The service is optional and officials said it will not compromise user privacy.

Audra Streetman