Colorado logged 33,352 COVID-19 cases as of July 1, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Throughout the state, 5,527 people have been hospitalized. There have been 1,521 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,701 deaths of individuals who had the disease but whose deaths may have been attributed to another cause.

El Paso County continued to see an uptick in new cases reported daily that began June 5, with 46 new cases reported July 1 and 35 new cases reported July 2. In all, there have been 2,519 cases reported in the county, 310 hospitalizations and 121 deaths as of July 2, according to El Paso County Public Health.

Governor Jared Polis urged Coloradans to be safe, wear masks, follow social distancing requirements and wash their hands frequently this 4th of July holiday weekend.

“Whether Coloradans are enjoying our great outdoors or having a cookout, people should celebrate this 4th of July by staying on the trail that leads to suppressing the virus and rebuilding our economy. That means wearing masks, practicing social distancing and good hygiene, and avoiding risky activities,” Polis said in a statement today.

“This Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedom that so many fought to gain, but with freedom comes responsibility, so please exercise personal responsibility, use common sense, and err on the side of caution,” Polis said.

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Here are a few guidelines the state is asking Coloradans to follow:

  • Make it safer: If you choose to participate in in-person activities, keep it small, keep your distance from others, wash your hands frequently and wear a mask. Consider a smaller gathering than in years past, and try to stay outside where transmission of coronavirus is less likely. Don’t be afraid to change your plans if you feel uncomfortable about the risk.
  • Know before you go: Check fire bans and local COVID-19-related rules at your destination. If you plan to play in the great outdoors, be prepared with appropriate supplies. Just because we’re in the middle of a pandemic doesn’t mean we can ignore other safety rules that are meant to keep us all healthy and safe.
  • Prevent fires: It’s fire season, and this year we need to be even more careful. We want to prevent situations where people have to evacuate their homes, firefighters have to deploy to camps, and the resulting smoke worsens summer air quality, which would be very bad in the middle of a pandemic where the disease attacks your respiratory system. So please skip the fireworks and campfires this year.
  • Have safe family cookouts and gatherings: Summer gatherings this holiday should look different compared to a typical summer. It’s important to keep your distance and keep gatherings small. Have fewer interactions with fewer people and do so in a safe way by wearing a face covering, remaining 6 feet away from other, and washing your hands frequently. Additionally, being in an outdoor environment is ideal — you have the benefit of climate and sunshine to modify or decrease transmission.

Learn more about the risks and benefits of everyday activities.

The U.S. Congress voted June 30 to extend the Paycheck Protection Program.

Less than four hours before the program was scheduled to end, and with more than $130 billion in loan money remaining, the Senate extended the application period through Aug. 8.

The House passed the extension July 1, and the bill is awaiting President Trump’s signature.

Now Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) is seeking additional flexibility and relief for small businesses under the PPP program.

On July 1, Gardner introduced the Paycheck Protection Program Extension and Modification Act of 2020, which would allow businesses that have already received a PPP loan to apply for a second loan and would extend the deadline to apply for PPP loans through Dec. 31.

“The Paycheck Protection Program is an essential lifeline for workers and small businesses in Colorado to get through the shutdowns across the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gardner said in a news release.

“Today I’m introducing a bill to allow small businesses to apply for relief through the end of the year and, crucially, allow those who received PPP loans to survive the initial shutdowns to obtain a second PPP loan to make it through the new, targeted closures.

“As our nation continues to battle COVID-19, the PPP will be a vital tool to keep our economy as stable as possible so that we can get through to the other side stronger than ever,” he said.

The bill text is available here.

On July 2, Gardner joined Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado; Mitt Romney, R-Utah; and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona) to introduce the Timely and Effective Systematic Testing (TEST) Act — sweeping legislation to strengthen the nation’s health preparedness efforts for COVID-19 recovery and future pandemics by requiring a plan for diagnostic testing and public health system integration to better detect infectious diseases, prevent outbreaks and avoid future economic shutdowns related to pandemics.

Gardner, Bennet, Romney, and Sinema worked with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, to develop this legislation.

“In order to combat COVID-19 and safely reopen our economy at the same time, we need a nationwide, coordinated system to track cases,” Bennet said.  “The TEST Act would help integrate local and federal reporting systems by breaking down current silos to better monitor COVID-19 cases and virus outbreaks. This bill builds on my proposal to create a Health Force to bolster public health infrastructure and train Americans to fight this virus, and would ensure all levels of government have the best systems to report data. The TEST Act will help instill confidence in the economy as we start to reopen.”

The TEST Act:

  • Integrates existing disease detection systems and expands capability to conduct and report rapid and accurate diagnostic tests in order to better prevent the spread of a disease. This includes federal coordination with state, local, tribal, and territorial health officials.
  • Strengthens the nation’s commitment to public health preparedness by making conducting and reporting on rapid and accurate laboratory tests for diseases a top priority within the National Health Security Strategy — the nation’s strategic plan to identify, prevent and address public health threats and other emergencies.
  • Provides grants to state and local public health departments to support testing and reporting capacity.
  • Maintains all health information privacy laws and patient protections.
  • Establishes strict congressional oversight to ensure success.

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