Colorado's state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy announced on Tuesday (Nov. 24) that if the state's COVID-19 transmission rate continues to trend in the direction that it currently is, COVID-19 related deaths could double in the next five weeks.

In a news conference on Tuesday with Gov. Jared Polis, Herlihy said that the state's transmission control rate stands at 65% - meaning that the effects of taking precautionary measures like wearing masks, social distancing and quarantining has reduced the chance of someone being in contact with an infected person by 65%.

If Colorado's transmission control rate remains at 65%, an additional 3,800 people could die from COVID-19 by the end of the year.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has recorded over 2,800 COVID-19 related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic; At the current transmission control rate, Colorado is projected to reach 6,600 COVID-19 related deaths by the end of 2020.

Herlihy added that Colorado could see an even higher COVID-19 death toll if the current transmission control rate diminishes further; The state's death toll could reach an estimated 7,400 people by the end of the year if the current transmission control rate were to dip to 60%.

With the holiday season in full swing, Gov. Polis and Herlihy pleaded with Coloradans in Tuesday's live streamed news conference. They both stressed the importance of not gathering with anyone outside your own household at this time, especially with the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases statewide.

Polis said, "I think it's time for every Coloradan — and that includes county elected officials — to really ask themselves: Are you on the side of the virus or are you on the side of Colorado?"

For more information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado, visit covid19.colorado.gov.

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