By Jamie Leary

(CBS4) – While Colorado is doing better than other states when it comes to the battle against COVID-19, it is seeing the largest increase in cases since May. During a news conference Wednesday, Gov. Jared Polis said there were 2,023 new cases reported on Wednesday and Coloradans need to remain vigilant.

“We are not yet seeing a downward trend in cases or in hospitalizations, so I encourage Coloradans to be careful,” said Polis.

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Colorado’s epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy said despite the rise in cases, it’s a slow rise, and compared to the rest of the country, Colorado is doing well. She presented a series of charts showing the rate of deaths in the U.S. compared to Colorado and the rate of cases. Both showed similar trends.

“If you look at the steepness of those lines you’ll see that the steepness of the Colorado line is not quite as steep as the U.S. line meaning that our cases, while they’re increasing here, they’re not increasing quite as rapidly as rapidly as we’re seeing the U.S. rates increase right now,” said Herlihy.

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Herlihy said while it was good news, it’s by no means a reason to relax.

“I do think we are at risk of seeing a rapid increase of cases here. Thankfully we’re not seeing that, at least haven’t been seeing that the last few weeks here in the state, but that certainly is a possibility and again why we need Coloradans to stay vigilant,” she said.

Polis said Wednesday 72.5% of Colorado adults have been vaccinated and said while the numbers are good, they’re not enough.

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“It’s not good enough to stop the variant.”

With the Delta variant comprising about 98% of the Colorado cases, the state ordered employees of state-run facilities be fully vaccinated by the end of October.

The Department of Corrections along with Department of Humans Services expressed concern Wednesday they may lose employees as a result, but said they were doing everything to help people understand the decision and stay.

“I’ve asked my staff to toil with and struggle with me over this decision and hopefully they will come to the right conclusion and stay with the department because we appreciate them and we need them,” said Dean Williams, Executive Director of the Department of Corrections.

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Jamie Leary