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Colorado offices open at half capacity as coronavirus eases

May 5, 2020 GMT
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis makes a point during a news conference to update the state's efforts to stem the rise of the new coronavirus Monday, May 4, 2020, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

DENVER (AP) — Offices in Colorado were allowed to reopen Monday with half the usual staff, and Denver’s mayor will let his stay-at-home order expire as the outbreak of the coronavirus eases in the state.

Mayor Michael Hancock’s order is set to expire at the end of Friday, and city leaders have scheduled a Tuesday news conference to discuss testing and contact tracing, and to provide guidance for reopening businesses.

Gov. Jared Polis said Monday that fewer people were being hospitalized with the virus, and he referenced Star Wars multiple times to remind people to wear face masks and to practice social distancing while out.

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“May the Fourth be with you,” the governor said, using a catchphrase that is widely shared on May 4, the unofficial holiday celebrating the Star Wars movies. The phrase is a pun on the famous movie line, “May the force be with you.”

Polis showed graphics of a Darth Vader helmet and a 6-foot-long light saber to hammer home his point on safety precautions.

“Darth Vader would be very safe right now despite his preexisting respiratory condition,” Polis cracked.

Joking aside, the governor called the virus a “tricky, nefarious enemy” and reiterated that safety measures must remain in place as the economy ramps back up.

“We have to get this right as a state,” he said. “Having a humanitarian crisis and mass deaths on our hand is not a valid option, and preventing people from earning an income and destroying our economy is not a valid option.”

Colorado has at least 16,870 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and at least 848 people have died from the disease, officials said.

Polis said Colorado’s lab has distributed more than 22,000 testing kits across the state, but more are needed. He also called on large companies to check their employees’ temperatures and for people to report symptoms on an online tracking website “so we can catch those outbreaks in hotspots before they fill up our hospitals.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.