Colorado's coronavirus death rate rising sharply, governor tells Pence

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The coronavirus outbreak in Colorado is "far worse than we imagined," the state's governor wrote in a recent letter to Vice President Mike Pence, who heads President Trump's task force on the pandemic.

In the March 28 letter to Pence that was made public Thursday, Gov. Jared Polis reportedly requested extra ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), citing a “crisis-level shortage" of such supplies in the state.

Polis, 44, a Democratic first-term governor who previously served in the U.S. House, also expressed concerns about the state's coronavirus fatality rate.

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“Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Polis wrote, according to FOX 31 Denver.

"The pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state."

— Colorado Gov. Jared Polis
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis enters a news conference in Centennial, Colo., April 1, 2020. (Associated Press)

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis enters a news conference in Centennial, Colo., April 1, 2020. (Associated Press)

He added that Colorado’s comparatively small population of 5.7 million people (21st in the nation) may be masking how critical the situation is there.

Since Polis sent the letter, some other states' death rates have surpassed Colorado's, state health department Incident Commander Scott Bookman said, according to The Coloradoan of Fort Collins.

The governor asked for 10,000 ventilators, 2 million N95 masks and 4.3 million gloves, among other supplies, FOX 31 reported.

"In these next few weeks we expect the biggest jumps in new COVID-19 cases and the resulting victims requiring ventilators," he wrote. "In other words, these next few weeks are a make or break moment for us. I am asking for your partnership and help in this critical moment."

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By Thursday evening, the state had more than 3,700 cases and nearly 100 deaths, according to Worldometers.