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.
WHAT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
- 3,342 cases in Colorado, 620 hospitalized and 80 deaths. Get the latest from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
- Colorado issued a statewide stay-at-home order that began Thursday morning and will be in effect until at least April 11. (Some local orders remain in place and might be more restrictive.)
- Polis said in a Wednesday news conference that schools would be closed through at least April 30.
- Colorado hopes to add more than 12,000 hospital beds by May as it works to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients, which is expected sometime between April and July.
- The Colorado Dept. of Education said posts circulating stating that Polis is mandating students repeat grades are incorrect.
Wednesday, April 1
Jeffco deputy who works at jail tests positive
A Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputy tested positive for COVID-19. The deputy was assigned to the jail but is now at home in isolation. It is not known where or when the deputy contracted the illness.
Colorado Dept. of Education warns of misinformation involving students repeating grades
The Colorado Dept. of Education (CDE) tweeted about incorrect information circulating on social media that's "causing confusion about grade-level promotion."
"Neither CDE nor [Gov. Polis] will require students to repeat grades due to the [COVID-19] outbreak and suspension of in-person learning," CDE tweeted.
"We encourage students and families to take advantage of the many innovative at-home learning programs being developed by Colorado educators so disruptions to learning are minimized," CDE said in a follow-up tweet.
Surge of COVID-19 patients expected between April and July; schools to remain closed
Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) provided an update Wednesday afternoon on the state's response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado.
Polis said all Colorado schools will remain closed through at least April 30, which he noted was in line with President Donald Trump's extension of social distancing.
Colorado hopes to add more than 12,000 hospital beds by May as it works to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients, which is expected sometime between April and July, according to Scott Bookman with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
How the federal stimulus affects Colorado unemployment claims
The federal stimulus bill, known as the CARES Act, was signed into law and offers additional unemployment benefits, however, those benefits are unavailable until the state receives guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor.
The state posted a new guide for those seeking unemployment it includes the following:
Those who are self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees, and gig-economy workers, or are requesting an extension of benefits are asked to check this site frequently to see when claims will be accepted.
For those who were previously eligible for regular unemployment and have already filed a claim, continue to request payment every two weeks, even if you ran out of benefits already.
New arrest standards in Jefferson County
The Sheriff’s Office and local law enforcement agencies in the county are temporarily adopting new arrest standards to avoid unnecessary community spread of COVID-19 and reduce the potential for an outbreak to occur in the jail.
The new standards balance the appropriateness of misdemeanor, felony, and warrant arrests with current public health crisis concerns, and take into account the effect the Governor’s Stay at Home Order has had on reducing crime.
Here are the new standards:
- No misdemeanor or municipal custodial arrests will be accepted unless charges require an advisement under the Victim Rights Act (VRA).
- No traffic-related warrant arrest will be accepted.
- No 1st time drinking and driving offense will be accepted unless no reasonable alternative can be found. Second or greater drinking and driving offenses will be accepted.
- No county court or municipal warrant arrest will be accepted unless the underlying charge is a VRA crime.
- Arrests on felony warrants will be accepted but the Sheriff's Office urges officers to exercise their discretion in making such arrests and to take into account the underlying original violation.
- Arrests for non-violent felonies (F4, F5, F6, DF3, and/or DF4) will only be accepted if there is a direct threat to public safety. Otherwise, a felony summons process is recommended.
- The likelihood of an individual complying with a court summons shall not be grounds to determine whether a custodial arrest is appropriate.
While the new arrest standards remain in effect, individuals who have an outstanding warrant are encouraged to contact the jurisdiction from which the warrant was issued and arrange a court date to address the charges. When the new arrest standards are lifted, any leniency afforded through them will no longer apply and most county detention facilities will have an abundance of jail beds available.
The Jefferson County sheriff is also deputizing certified peace officers employed by, and in good standing with, any law enforcement agency within Jefferson County. That action is intended to facilitate sharing of resources between agencies should the need arise, and to maximize law enforcement’s ability to continue to keep our communities safe.
Both initiatives are in effect through May 31, 2020, unless discontinued or extended.
Coronavirus cases in Colorado
- Denver: 465
- Arapahoe: 288
- Jefferson: 253
- El Paso: 245
- Weld: 215
- Eagle: 213
- Adams: 152
- Douglas: 119
- Boulder: 100
- Larimer: 92
- Gunnison: 80
- Garfield: 31
- Pitkin: 29
- La Plata: 21
- Broomfield: 18
- Routt: 16
- Pueblo: 16
- Chaffee: 15
- Summit: 14
- Mesa: 12
- Montrose: 10
- Teller: 8
- Logan: 5
- Morgan: 4
- Elbert: 4
- Grand: 4
- Moffat: 4
- Park: 4
- Rio Grande: 4
- Clear Creek: 3
- Otero: 3
- Yuma: 2
- Fremont: 2
- Archuleta: 1
- Kit Carson: 1
- Delta: 1
- San Miguel: 1
- Hinsdale: 1
- Huerfano: 1
- Crowley: 1
- Washington: 1
- Alamosa: 1
- Lincoln: 1
- Costilla: 1
- Baca: 1
- Mineral: 1
- Montezuma: 1
- Unknown or pending: 160
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.
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.
CDC's testing guidance includes three types of people:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: COVID-19 Coronavirus