Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Governor Polis has declared a state of emergency due to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

The declaration will help ensure resources are available to the state to combat COVID-19. A statement from Governor Polis and details of the Executive Order are below, and information about high-risk factors and prevention measures are at the bottom of this section.

"Our top priority is protecting public health and our vulnerable populations which is why we are taking swift bold action. Our administration's response will be guided by the science and lessons learned from the countries and states that this virus arrived in first" said Governor Jared Polis. "We will continue to be proactive and working around the clock to protect public health and safety with an eye towards preventing the need for more drastic measures that result in social disruption." 

"In order to slow the spread of the disease, some of the most effective measures we can take as a state is to test more people so that those who test positive can be isolated from the general population as we continue to stress the need for personal action such as staying home when sick, keeping their kids home when they're sick and diligently washing your hands," said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We thank everyone who has been involved with this containment effort for their tireless efforts and works to ensure the people of our state are safe."

Details of the executive order: 
  • Directs Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care, and education can get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing results for COVID-19. 
  • For workers who test positive and lack access to paid leave, the Governor is directing CDLE to identify additional supports and wage replacement such as access to unemployment insurance.  These steps are especially important for those who work with vulnerable populations like older Coloradans and those with underlying health issues. When those workers lack access to paid sick leave, it poses a great risk to our ability to protect the public. 
  • Allows state employees who fall ill and cannot perform their duties to use paid leave, and the state will be flexible with that paid leave. For impacted employees who cannot work remotely, such as correctional officers, assisted living staff, etc., the administration is working to ensure paid leave options for those who are ill to ensure that those workers can continue to put food on the table while protecting public health. 
  • Starting tomorrow, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment will be opening a drive-up lab at their facility in Lowry to test anyone who has a note from their doctor stating that they meet the criteria for testing. You must still have a doctor's order to get tested at the new drive-up lab. That facility is located at 8100 E Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230.
The Governor also encouraged the private sector of Colorado to voluntarily offer paid sick leave so that we can collectively do our part to contain the virus.  

Yesterday, the Polis administration took action to ensure Coloradans can get tested for COVID-19 without financial fear. Last week, the Governor directed all state agencies to implement the State Emergency Operations Plan. This is a plan that the state has used in the past to respond to a variety of incidents, including natural disasters like fires and floods, and it is designed to ensure we have the resources and systems in place to respond to COVID-19. 

General info about COVID-19 

Certain people are at higher risk of getting very sick from the Coronavirus, including: 
  • Older adults, especially those over age 80.
  • People who have chronic medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease.
  • Older adults who have chronic medical conditions are at highest risk.
People at higher risk should take action now to be prepared for this virus if there is an outbreak in their community. CDC has the information you need to prepare.


How can you prevent the spread? The Governor along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recommends the following preventative actions: 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep your children home if they are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or you your inner elbow or sleeve. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information. For general questions, call (303) 389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911. For written answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more, email

Follow me on facebook , twitter and instagram for updates on COVID-19, upcoming legislation and community events. 

Thank you for your support. 

In the Press
Benzinga, March 9, 2020

"I am proud that the Colorado General Assembly has passed the CROWN Act and it is now the law of this great state," said Colorado State Representative Leslie Herod. "The passage of the CROWN Act sends a message to every little girl, boy and non-binary youth who has been forced to change their hair to fit in. Everyone deserves to feel safe, to feel proud of their culture and heritage, and to be celebrated for their self-expression."

9News, March 6, 2020 

"The CROWN Act will right a decades-long wrong: forcing people across the ethnic spectrum to make their hair look and feel a certain way to succeed," said Representative Leslie Herod (D) Denver. "This bill is for every person who has damaged their hair with a relaxer or burnt their scalp with a hot comb, for those who have spent countless hours and dollars to conform to eurocentric beauty standards. Everyone should be their true beautiful selves, feel proud of their culture and heritage, and be celebrated for their self-expression."

Gov. Polis Signs CROWN Act, Banning Hair Discrimination In Colorado
CBS Denver, March 6, 2020

Sponsored by Representative Leslie Herod, Representative Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), the signing of House Bill 20-1048 comes on the heels of nationally publicized incidents of hair discrimination including New Jersey student-wrestler Andrew Johnson, who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks to compete.
Colorado becomes 5th state to ban natural hair discrimination
The Denver Post, March 6, 2020

"I am just really overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of community support around the CROWN Act," Herod said.   The bill references protection from discrimination against natural hair, commonly experienced by people who are black, Jewish, Latinx or of Native American descent. It would apply to public education, employment practices, housing, public accommodations and advertising.

De-Escalating Police Response to Mental Health Crises
The David Vanguard, March 6, 2020

At last week's Justice Collaborative symposium, Justice Guarantee Convening, a panel of speakers addressed the issue of deescalating police response: Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Melina Abdullah, Professor at Cal State, Los Angeles; BLM-LA, San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen, Tim Black, Operations Co-Ordinator, CAHOOTS/White Bird Clinic, and Colorado Representative Leslie Herod.

Representative Leslie Herod  is a sponsor of the bill. She told News5, "Our hair grows out of our head curly, naturally... What we have been told is that our natural hairstyles are unkempt, are not professional, and that we need to change our appearance." CROWN stands for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2020."

CPR News, March 6, 2020

Democratic state Rep.  Leslie Herod received big applause when she announced to the crowd outside the capitol building Friday that she's "sick of seeing films set in Colorado, but filmed in other states."   Herod is a co-sponsor on the bill, along with Todd and state  Rep. Daneya Esgar , who announced at the rally that she was adding her name to the bill after industry "voices swayed me to get involved."

Pharmacy Times, March 3, 2020

House Bill 20-1061 HIV Infection Prevention Medications Bill was introduced by Representative Alex Valdez (D-5th) and Representative Leslie Herod (D-8th) to help reduce the rates of HIV infection in Colorado. The bill is intended to "prevent a health insurance carrier from requiring a covered person to undergo step therapy or to receive prior authorization before receiving HIV infection prevention drugs."
Paid for by Leslie Herod for Colorado. Contributions are limited to $400 every 2 year election cycle from individuals, sole proprietorships, LLPs, LLCs and state PACS and $5,350 from small donor committees. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, foreign governments and non-US citizens are prohibited. Contributions are not tax deductible. Donations from registered Colorado lobbyists or principals of lobbyists are prohibited during the legislative session running from January 8th to May 6th, 2020 and any email or donation page from this campaign is not soliciting a contribution from lobbyists or principals of lobbyists. 

Leslie Herod for Colorado
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