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Colorado coronavirus latest May 19: Citing financial hardships, National Jewish asks employees to take leave

Employees at National Jewish were told many need to take off 80 hours either with vacation time or without pay as the hospital faces financial hardships.

COLORADO, USA — National Jewish, among many other hospitals, is facing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees on Tuesday were told in a letter that executive leadership and numerous faculty and managers have had their pay reduced, and many employees are being asked to take off 80 hours either with vacation time or without pay.

Larimer County amended its face-mask order allowing some businesses to opt-out, but those that don’t require face coverings for customers must add things like plexiglass shields, one-way aisles, extra sanitization and markings to ensure customers stay six feet apart while standing in line.

Three more outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in El Paso County, bringing the total number of outbreaks there this week to five. 

Data released Monday show there are now 22,482 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Colorado. Among those with confirmed cases, 1,257 have died among those who tested positive, and 3,955 have been hospitalized.

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union confirmed to 9NEWS that an eighth employee of the JBS plant in Greeley has died due to COVID-19.

The union also said that an employee at a Denver King Soopers died from the disease.

And Water World said it will remain closed for the 2020 season.

Those are among the coronavirus updates for the state. More details are below, and we'll continue to post information as it comes in throughout the day.

> VIDEO: Midday COVID-19 headlines for March 19.

WHAT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

  • 22,482 cases, up from 22,202 the day prior. 
  • 3,955 hospitalized, up from 3,899 the day prior.
  • 1,257 deaths among those who tested positive for COVID-19, up from 1,224 the day prior.
  • 968 deaths due to COVID-19, up from 921 the day prior.
  • Get the latest data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
  • On Monday, April 27, Colorado transitioned to a "safer-at-home" order.
  • Water World will remain closed for the 2020 season.
  • Larimer County will allow customers in some businesses to forego face masks if there are strict social distancing measures in place. 

Click/tap here to read updates from May 18.

Tuesday, May 19

National Jewish employees asked to take off 80 hours

Employees at National Jewish were told Tuesday that many need to take off 80 hours either with vacation time or without pay as the hospital continues to navigate through financial hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  

A letter to the employees says in part:

As we move forward, we now need to take additional steps to address our finances and ensure our long-term ability to provide exceptional care to our patients and stability for our employees. With that in mind, here are decisions we have made as leaders of the organization: 

  • Executive leadership and numerous faculty and managers have had their pay reduced between 10% and 25%. Other managers or faculty members may elect to reduce their pay during this June through August time period as well.
  • Effective June 1, 2020, we will discontinue the “Emergency Subsidy” pay practice.
  • All areas should flex staff work hours to match volume. Employees who do not have enough work hours to cover their FTE assignment must use vacation or Leave Without Pay.
  • Exempt (salaried) and all hourly staff other than those addressed above must take off at least 80 hours of leave (either vacation or Leave Without Pay) between June 1 and August 31. 
  • We will continue to have a freeze on non-essential travel and other non-essential recruitment and spending through September 30 and will reevaluate based on our performance and the state of the country over the coming months.
  • We are continuing the voluntary leave without pay initiative. Essential employees or faculty may take a day without pay as approved by their manager or chief.

The letter also said the emergency fund to assist employees will continue, employees may continue to apply for grants to help pay for essential expenses up to $1,000 per employee and people may donate vacation to fellow employees who are sick.

Larimer County amends face mask order 

Northern Colorado’s Larimer County has amended its face-mask order to allow businesses to forego them if they complete an extensive social distancing checklist.

Previously, the order required all employees and customers wear a face-covering in all businesses. 

Under the amended order, businesses that don’t require face coverings for customers must add things like plexiglass shields, one-way aisles, extra sanitization and markings to ensure customers stay six feet apart while standing in line. Additional information about the measures can be found at larimer.org/coronavirus.

Employees are still required to wear face masks when interacting with customers and their coworkers.

Businesses in the personal services category will not have the option to opt-out of face coverings because it’s required under the state of Colorado’s safer-at-home order, as well as the fact the nature of their work doesn’t allow for physical distancing.

Individual cities in Larimer County can still impose stricter face-mask measures.

Tri-County Health offering support to businesses

As an increased number of businesses begin operating under the state-wide safer-at-home order in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, Tri-County Health has established a Business Re-Opening Task Force to support businesses as they operationalize COVID-19 plans for reopening.

The Business Re-Opening Task Force will be available over the coming weeks from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answers questions and provide guidance on requirements under the order. Businesses can access this service through email at covidbusinessrecovery@tchd.org and by phone at 720-713-6030.

RELATED: Infectious disease doctors start consulting firm to help businesses reopen safely

3 more COVID-19 outbreaks reported in El Paso County 

Public health officials in El Paso County have reported another three outbreaks of COVID-19, bringing the total number of outbreaks so far this week to five. 

The new COVID-19 outbreak locations are: 

  • Three employees of the McDonald’s on 535 Airport Creek Point have tested positive 
  • Two residents of Cheyenne Mountain Care Center at 835 Tenderfoot Hill Road have tested positive
  • Two employees of Springs Fabrication at 850 Aeroplaza Drive have tested positive

In addition to the new cases, health officials said one additional employee of Walmart on 1575 Space Center Drive has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total there to four cases. 

There was also one additional employee of Goodwill on 4158 Austin Bluffs Pkwy. that tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to four.

A confirmed outbreak means there are two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a facility or non-household group with onset in a 14-day period.

Public health officials in El Paso County encourage people to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. If you begin to experience symptoms, it’s important to seek testing. 

Water World to stay closed for 2020 season

Water World said it will not be open for the 2020 summer season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the first time in the water park's 40 years in business that it will not open.

"We are deeply disappointed to have to make this decision,” said park spokesperson Joann Cortéz. “Water World is a summer institution in Colorado, and for many individuals and families, it’s just not summer without Water World.”

FULL STORY: Water World to stay closed for 2020 season

Denver Botanic Gardens concerts canceled

Denver Botanic Gardens announced it is canceling its 2020 concert series.

FULL STORY: Denver Botanic Gardens cancels 2020 summer concert series

Denver King Soopers employee dies due to COVID-19

An employee at a King Soopers in Denver has died due to complications from COVID-19, according to United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7.

The union said Randy Narvaez worked at the King Soopers at 1155 E. 9th Ave. in Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood for more than 30 years. 

“Mr. Narvaez’s store, King Sooper #29 has approximately 12 cases of COVID amongst employees, the highest number of any King Sooper in the Denver metro area," the union said in its statement. "Local 7 is demanding that Kroger close King Sooper #29 to properly clean and disinfect the entire store to ensure worker and customer safety, and to test every worker for COVID-19 prior to reopening.”

RELATED: 2 more essential workers die from COVID-19 in Colorado

Eighth JBS employee dies due to COVID-19

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union has confirmed that an eighth JBS plant employee has died due to COVID-19. According to Jennifer Lee, spokesperson for the union, the employee has been identified as Tin Aye.

JBS is a meatpacking plant in Greeley. 

According to the release, Aye had been an employee at the Greeley plant for over a decade.

Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores re-opening in Colorado

Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack will reopen to customers in Colorado on Thursday, May 21.

The retail chain says it will be making updates to our stores to help keep customers and our employees healthy. Some of those updates include conducting health screenings for employees, providing face coverings for employees and customers, increasing cleaning and sanitization, modifying the fitting room experience, offering contactless curbside services and keeping tried on or returned merchandise off the salesfloor for a period of time.

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland restrictions remain in place

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland officials announced that temporary-developed recreation site closures and fire restrictions will remain in place through May 31.

These continued closures will allow employees to prepare facilities, as well as time to ensure the necessary personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies are readily available.

Fire restrictions are in place through May 31. Trails and general forest areas will remain accessible for public use.

Free WiFi in Jefferson County Public Libraries parking lots

Free WiFi is now available in the parking lots of all Jefferson County Public Library locations, except Belmar and Conifer.

No password is required. Bring your own device from home, select the open WiFi option and agree to the terms and conditions for access. All library buildings, including those offering curbside services, remain closed to the public.

Newman Center canceled or postponed through Sept. 7

All in-person Newman Center events at the University of Denver (DU) through Sept. 7, 2020 have been canceled or postponed.

This includes Newman Center Presents, Lamont, DU Theatre, and third-party rental client events. Ticket holders for affected events will receive communications specific to each event with further instructions and information.

Coronavirus cases in Colorado

CDPHE on May 15 changed the way it was reporting data in two ways:

  • The number of deaths among people with COVID-19. This represents the total number of deaths reported among people who have COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate. This information is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations.
  • The number of deaths among people who died from COVID-19: This represents the total number of people whose death was attributed to COVID-19 as indicated on a death certificate. This number is determined by the CDC and is updated daily for dates through the previous Saturday.

In Colorado, CDPHE reports 22,482 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, up from 22,202 the day prior.

Fatalities

CDPHE reports:

  • 1,257 deaths among people with COVID-19
  • 968 deaths due to COVID-19

The day prior, 1,224 people had died, 921 from COVID-19

The majority of deaths — 54% — are among people over age 80; 23% of deaths occurred in people between ages 70-79 and 13% were in people ages 60-69.

The graph below shows the total number of people in Colorado who have died after a COVID-19 diagnosis, since the first death happened on March 13.

This graph shows the number of people who died on a specific day.

Date of death may not be available for all deaths. 

The numbers for each date may change. The totals will rise as we learn of new deaths.

Hospitalizations

Of those who tested positive for the disease, 3,955 hospitalizations have been reported, up from 3,899 the day prior.

As of 3:05 p.m. on May 19, 463 patients were hospitalized with the disease, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Hospital Association. Within the last 24 hours, 43 patients have been transferred or discharged.

Note: 93% of facilities reported data on May 18. 

This graph below shows the number of people currently hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis and the number of people who have been discharged within 24 hours. This is a key metric because it can be an indicator of whether or not Colorado’s hospital system is being overwhelmed by the virus.

Testing

According to CDPHE, 131,837 people have been tested, up from 129,159 the day prior, and 60 counties are reporting cases, the same number as the day before. 

This graph below shows the number of tests the state processed in a day. This is another key metric because the state’s ability to reopen will depend on the number of tests Colorado can run each day. As testing improves, the number of cases will rise because the more tests that are conducted, the more cases will be found.

Positivity is the number of tests that come back with a COVID-19 result. Above 10% could be an indicator that not enough testing is being done and that only people likely to have COVID are getting tested.

Please note that there may be a lull or spike in reported case data due to how it's reported. CDPHE data changes as labs, hospitals, facilities and local agencies report their own data. For example, a spike in the number of deaths does not necessarily mean that many more people died within 24 hours, but rather is indicative of when the data is entered into the system. New data is released daily at 4 p.m.

> See the latest numbers from the state health department.

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.

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