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Colorado coronavirus latest, April 17: City of Loveland to lay off or furlough 280 employees

COVID-19 is in Colorado — we'll continue to post updates and headlines on how Colorado is being affected by the coronavirus.

COLORADO, USA — Cases of COVID-19, a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus, began popping up in the United States in January. On March 5, the first case was announced in Colorado.

Each day, we will post a new blog that will track the daily changes in Denver and throughout Colorado as we get them.

RELATED: FAQs: Answering your questions on the coronavirus in Colorado


> Click here to read updates from April 16.

Friday, April 17

City of Loveland to lay off or furlough 280 employees

The City of Loveland announced in a release it would be cutting its workforce by laying off or furloughing 280 employees in seasonal, temporary and non-benefited positions. 

City Manager Steve Adams said the affected employees had not been working because of facility closures and the inability to deploy them in other operations. Most of the positions are in recreation, golf, cultural services, the Loveland Public Library and the visitors center.

Adams said the city's general fund revenue losses could reach $6 million in the second quarter.

The staff reductions are effective on Monday, April 20. 

Polis requires masks for essential workers

Polis said Friday he has issued an executive order requiring essential workers to wear masks when they are interacting with other people.

The requirement that workers wear cloth masks will help to minimize the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, Polis said at a news conference.

The order includes workers in nursing homes and other such facilities, and in grocery stores and other retail outlets that have remained opened during the statewide stay-at-home order.

Weld County tracking new data related to COVID-19

The Weld County Board of Commissioners and the Department of Public Health and Environment released a new data dashboard Friday afternoon to share information about COVID-19 cases in the county.

In addition to showing cumulative case counts by age and sex, the dashboard will also include deaths by date-of-death, reported positive cases by day, deaths by age and sex as well as graphs showing reported positive case counts by zip code. 

“Displaying our case information in this manner allows us to better represent the reported positive cases in our county, which spans 4,000 square miles,” said Commissioner Chair Mike Freeman. “By breaking it out by zip code, we are able to more accurately include the unincorporated areas of the county while continuing to protect the privacy of positive COVID-19 individuals in specific towns.” 

In areas of the county where there are less than five reported positive COVID-19 cases, the zip code will not show on the chart. County officials warn said people in those places should still continue to take all preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Colorado AG sends letters to 18 businesses or individuals, accusing them of violating stay-at-home order

The letters sent between March 26 and April 13 detailed the violations and ordered those who received to begin complying or face penalties.

Several letters went to businesses that are accused of remaining open despite being deemed non-essential under the public health order. Other letters were sent to businesses that were essential, but were accused of failing to follow the social distancing guidelines outlined in the order.

At least three hairstylists were sent letters for violating the order by providing services out of their homes, according to the AG's office.

Read the full story at this link: Colorado AG sends letters to 18 businesses accused of violating stay-at-home order

Federal government delivers 100 ventilators to Colorado

Colorado received 100 ventilators from the federal government Thursday and they have been distributed to 11 hospitals throughout the state. They can be moved based on potential outbreaks, and will be returned to the Strategic National Stockpile when they’re no longer necessary, according to a news release from the state.

The following hospitals received ventilators: 

Denver Health and Hospital Authority (Denver): 15 ventilators

University Hospital (Denver): 15 ventilators

St. Anthony’s Hospital (Denver): 15 ventilators

Swedish Medical Center (Denver): 15 ventilators

St. Mary’s Hospital (Grand Junction): 5 ventilators

Mercy Medical Center (Durango): 5 ventilators

San Luis Valley Medical Center (Alamosa): 5 ventilators

Parkview Medical Center (Pueblo): 10 ventilators

Memorial Central (Colorado Springs): 5 ventilators

North Colorado Medical Center (Greeley): 5 ventilators

UCHealth (Greeley): 5 ventilators

Denver gets $1.359 million from DOJ to provide police with PPE  

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has given the city of Denver $1.359 million in Department of Justice Grants to buy items such as personal protective equipment and sanitizing devices for members of the law enforcement. 

This money came from the federal stimulus, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

 Other jurisdictions can also apply for Department of Justice funding to fight COVID-19.

Ticket sales for "Hamilton" postponed

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) said Friday it has postponed ticket sales for "Hamilton." The online-only sale was scheduled to start Monday.

The decision was made "out of an abundance of caution" due to the coronavirus pandemic and the state's stay-at-home order, according to a DCPA news release. The Denver engagement for the touring theater production of "Hamilton" is still scheduled for Aug. 12 through Oct. 4.

"That said, we are mindful that our plans may change as the situation evolves," DCPA said in the news release. "It is a dynamic situation requiring tremendous flexibility in our response. Of the utmost importance to us is the health and well-being of our valued theatergoers, staff and the traveling performers."

State launches survey to track COVID-19 symptoms

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched a short survey designed to track symptoms of COVID-19, even if the person experiencing symptoms is unable or does not need to get a test.

Although the data collected through the survey cannot replace official case data confirmed by testing, it may help public health officials track early warning signs that an outbreak could be imminent in a given area or region, CDPHE said.

The survey will appear on the “do you have symptoms?” webpage on the COVID-19 website.

> Click/tap here to find the survey.

Several local public health agencies had previously created their own symptom trackers over the last month. The results from their surveys will also be included in the aggregate data reports that CDPHE will eventually release publicly. 

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says it will be able to process unemployment claims from self-employed workers starting Monday 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) said it will be able to accept unemployment claims from self-employed workers starting on Monday. 

These workers now receive benefits from the federal CARES act, but a system was not in place on a state level for these claims to be processed. 

The claims are retroactive to Feb. 2 of this year, when appropriate. 

The additional $600 all people who receive unemployment are eligible for under the CARES Act will also be available on Monday, the CDLE said during a call. 

Coronavirus cases in Colorado

In Colorado, 9,047 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 391 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,755 have been hospitalized.

According to CDPHE, 43,307 people have been tested and 57 counties are reporting cases. There have been 93 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.

See the latest numbers from the state health department.

  • Denver: 1,633
  • Arapahoe: 1,419
  • Weld: 986
  • Jefferson: 888
  • Adams: 860
  • El Paso: 705
  • Eagle: 482
  • Douglas: 353
  • Boulder: 327
  • Larimer: 224
  • Morgan: 135
  • Gunnison: 112
  • Broomfield: 98
  • Summit: 82
  • Pueblo: 78
  • Montrose: 70
  • Garfield: 65
  • Pitkin: 51
  • La Plata: 51
  • Routt: 46
  • Chaffee: 35
  • Mesa: 34
  • Elbert: 20
  • Teller: 18
  • Logan: 17
  • Delta: 16
  • San Miguel: 13
  • Montezuma: 13
  • Kit Carson: 13
  • Clear Creek: 11
  • Baca: 10
  • Fremont: 9
  • Lake: 8
  • Alamosa: 7
  • Rio Grande: 7
  • Park: 6
  • Archuleta: 6
  • Otero: 6
  • Ouray: 5
  • Phillips: 5
  • Washington: 5
  • Grand: 4
  • Moffat: 3
  • Saguache: 3
  • Costilla: 3
  • Las Animas: 3
  • Hinsdale: 3
  • Lincoln: 3
  • Yuma: 2
  • Mineral: 2
  • Custer: 2
  • Crowley: 2
  • Rio Blanco: 1
  • Huerfano: 1
  • Unknown or pending:77

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that first appeared in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, cough and breathing trouble. Most patients develop only mild symptoms. But some people, usually those with other medical complications, develop more severe symptoms, including pneumonia, which can be fatal.

RELATED: What you can and can't do under Colorado's stay-at-home order

RELATED: FAQ: Dr. Kohli answers your questions about the coronavirus

To help prevent the spread, people should:

  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when they are sick.
  • Cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

If you are feeling ill with symptoms similar to those associated with COVID-19 the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) recommends the following:

  • Manage your symptoms at home the same way you manage other cold symptoms. To the extent possible, people with flu-like symptoms should remain at home.
  • If you need medical care, contact your primary care provider and schedule a visit. Let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Only contact 911 for emergencies requiring immediate life-saving care and let them know if you are concerned you might have COVID-19.
  • Restrict visits to the hospital emergency room or urgent care — only individuals needing immediate care should visit these facilities. If you must visit an ER or urgent care facility, call ahead and let them know that you are concerned you might have COVID-19.

RELATED: Data show which communities COVID-19 is impacting most in Colorado

CDC's testing guidance includes three types of people:

  1. Those who have symptoms such as fever OR lower respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) and have had "close contact" with a confirmed coronavirus patient within 14 days of their first symptoms.
  2. Those who have fever AND/OR lower respiratory symptoms, require hospitalization and have traveled to areas impacted by the epidemic in the last 14 days.
  3. Patients with fever and severe, acute lower respiratory symptoms who require hospitalization, and for whom no other diagnosis has been found — such as the flu. No travel or contact exposure is needed.

DDPHE said it's working with city leadership to ensure that public health and safety measures are ready to be implemented in the event of a local outbreak with community transmission.

Those measures could include limiting large gatherings and encouraging employers to allow employees to work from home whenever possible.  

Members of the public with general questions can call CO HELP at 1-877-462-2911 to be connected with a local public health representative. They can also visit denvergov.org/dphe.