The State Emergency Operation Center sent a public safety alert Sunday morning to hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, warning them about the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The alert read, “This region is at severe risk from deadly COVID. Use caution,” and linked to the COVID-19 page of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.
A spokesperson from the state EOC said the alert was sent to remind Coloradans of the increasing risk of COVID-19 heading into Thanksgiving.
“Now is the time to take every precaution which is why the alert was sent,” they said. “We need everyone to avoid gatherings outside of their household, including Thanksgiving gatherings.”
The alert was sent to people in Colorado counties currently under Level Red restrictions. This includes Denver, Boulder, Arapahoe, Douglas, Pueblo and over a dozen other counties.
Under Level Red, personal gatherings of any size are prohibited, meaning people are only permitted to celebrate the holiday with people within their immediate households.
Level Red is a new level of COVID-19 restrictions added by Gov. Jared Polis this week. Previously, counties whose COVID-19 rates qualify for Level Red would have been under a stay-at-home order, now moved to Level Purple.
State officials have urged the public in recent weeks to cancel multi-household Thanksgiving celebrations as COVID-19 cases have skyrocketed.
CDPHE estimates that 1 in 49 Coloradans are currently infected with COVID-19.
At a Nov. 13 conference, Polis said visiting family for the holidays without quarantining for two weeks prior is akin to holding "a loaded pistol to grandma's head,” adding that one in 20 hospitalized with COVID-19 will die.
Rather than gathering in person, state health officials are asking people to video chat or talk on the phone with family and friends while enjoying Thanksgiving dinners separately.
"This holiday season is an opportunity to reimagine what togetherness can look like,” CDPHE said.
"As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout Colorado, it’s important to do everything possible to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while celebrating Thanksgiving.”