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The White House has sent an additional 50,000 coronavirus rapid testing kits to Colorado, to support disaster response efforts as the state grapples with its largest wildfires.
“We are sparing no effort or expense to save millions of American lives,” White House spokesman Michael Bars said in a statement to Fox News.
“Approximately 1,750,000 of the rapid tests are already allocated by the Administration to protect the health and safety of the people of Colorado, with particular attention to high-risk individuals and vulnerable communities like those in disaster areas,” he added.
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The White House first sent 25,000 BinaxNOW rapid testing kits to Colorado last week, to aid in providing additional tests and to help replace testing sites affected by the fires.
Colorado state officials were told that the administration could send an additional 25,000 tests should the kits run low. Health officials reportedly requested the additional testing kits Saturday.
More than 320 homes have been destroyed in Colorado’s Cameron Peak fire and East Troublesome fire, according to local reporting. The Cameron Peak fire is 64% contained, and the East Troublesome fire is about 30% contained –- although firefighters have received some relief from an early snowstorm helping to contain the spread of the fires.
As thousands of Coloradans remain evacuated or displaced because of the fires, the state is also seeing record spikes in coronavirus cases.
Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment reported record-breaking daily case increases three times within the last week, and they reported the highest daily coronavirus caseload Sunday with 2,130 cases.
Certain counties, including Denver, are increasing their restrictions again as cases are spiking heading into the holiday season.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock put tighter restrictions in place last week by limiting group gatherings and requiring face masks to be worn while outside. He again heightened restrictions Wednesday by placing Denver under a Level 3 “High Risk” standing.
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“I don’t believe this is Denver’s failing. It is rather failing by those who still refused to believe in science, and those who do not take it seriously,” Hancock said Wednesday, according to a local news outlet.
Retail stores, restaurants and gyms are now only allowed to operate at a 25% capacity or up to 25 people at a time.
The Mayor has also threatened to re-instate stay-at-home orders if Denver cannot get it’s positivity rate, which is hovering around 7.3%, below 5%.
The number of coronavirus cases is increasing throughout the country and reported over 73,000 new cases Wednesday, according to John Hopkins University data.
President Trump has said he thinks a vaccine will be released before the end of the year, but his health administration officials believe a vaccine will more likely be released in early 2021.
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"We continue harnessing the full power of the federal government in an unprecedented, groundbreaking effort to deliver a safe and effective vaccine and treatments to market in record time,” Bars said in his statement to Fox News.
The U.S. has reported more than 8.8 million cases, accounting for roughly 20% of the world's 44.3 million cases of coronavirus.
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