By Kati Weis

DENVER (CBS4) – In a news conference update Friday morning, Gov. Jared Polis didn’t mince words about the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state. He says Colorado is currently seeing the second-highest number of hospitalizations it has seen since the start of the pandemic, and there are only 197 intensive care unit beds left statewide.

(credit: CBS)

Polis says of the nearly 900 people who are currently hospitalized, more than 700 of them are not fully vaccinated.

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“If everybody was fully vaccinated… we would have 200 people in the hospital instead of 900 people in the hospital,” Polis said Friday. “It’s not because President Biden thinks you should be vaccinated, or President Trump thinks you should be vaccinated, or Governor Polis thinks you should be vaccinated, it’s because you care about your own health and you want to protect yourself, and that’s really why you should make the decision to get vaccinated.”

Polis says currently 75% of all eligible Coloradans – ages 12 and up – are vaccinated statewide, but that means still one in four eligible people have not gotten at least one dose of the protective shot.

“It’s disappointing that about a quarter of our fellow Coloradans have not taken advantage of this opportunity to protect themselves and their families, receiving needless hospitalizations, receiving needless deaths,” Polis said.

Health experts said Friday data shows vaccinated people are 5.8 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated.

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Compared to other states, Colorado is doing better overall in terms of COVID-19 case rates, experts say. Colorado currently ranks as the state with the 12th lowest case rates in the country.

“I think that does have to do with the highest higher vaccination rates that we have here in Colorado,” said Colorado State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “We know that doesn’t mean we are immune from seeing rapid increases in cases or increases in hospitalizations and deaths.”

In Colorado, the number of new cases diagnosed Friday is 2,189. So far, since the beginning of the pandemic, 7,560 people have died in Colorado from COVID-19.

Polis says there are currently zero people hospitalized due to an adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine.

“We are presenting the accurate, objective information to you,” Polis said. “Please get protected. We can do this, we can end the pandemic, but we’re not going to end it by pretending that it’s already over.”

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Kati Weis