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Colorado coronavirus latest, April 13: 7,691 cases, 308 deaths reported

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

WHAT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW

> Click/tap here to read updates from April 12.

Monday, April 13

Denver hands outs 2,600 verbal warnings, announces more support for homeless population

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said while this is not the time let up, the city is working on the next steps toward opening up following the stay-at-home order which ends April 30.

A statewide stay-at-home order issued by Polis ends April 26, but Hancock said because Denver is such a unique space and the densest area in the state, he has chosen to keep the April 30 date for Denver.

Hancock said there have been 1,352 positive cases of COVID-19 in Denver and 66 deaths.

He said Denver has been successful in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 because people have been following orders. He added that this is a marathon and “by no means are we done.”

Enforcement teams have given 2,600 verbal warnings, Hancock said, and have issued 19 citations or orders to close to nonessential businesses

Hancock also addressed steps to help those experiencing homelessness saying hotel rooms have been acquired and recreation centers will be used to support the vulnerable population.

The National Western Complex auxiliary shelter for men reached capacity over the weekend and additional space at the city’s other shelters was opened to meet demand, Hancock said. The auxiliary shelter at National Western Complex served 736 people, while the city’s shelter at 48th Avenue and Colorado Boulevard was opened to accommodate an additional 286 people, and Crossroads shelter served 250.

He added that the city is working to open a space for women and those identifying as women at the Denver Coliseum.

Hancock also announced:

  • Many normal shelters and churches are closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Civic Center Park and surrounding parks are closed as well as Red Rocks; more parks and open spaces could be closed. 
  • Two Colorado National Guard helicopters will be used to tour locations that could be used as alternate care spots. 
  • The Department of Finance continues to implement actions to mitigate the revenue impacts of COVID-19 on the city’s workforce and residents.

The mayor acknowledged COVID-19 impacts on different demographics, saying the illness is disproportionately hitting communities of color. The city is looking for ways to respond equitably, he said. 

Public Health Order issued for JBS 

A public health order issued for JBS Meat Packing Plant in Greeley says the facility must close for cleaning and to allow for employees to undergo screenings after health officials identified a COVID-19 outbreak at the plant.

The order, issued jointly on Saturday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment (WCDPHE), says JBS must close until 5 a.m. Wednesday, April 15 to complete the screening, testing and cleaning.

Following the reopening, the facility must follow guidelines in the order which includes at least 6 feet between employees working and touchless temperature taking.

JBS announced on its website the temporary closure of the beef production facility until April 24 as well as additional efforts to support the fight against coronavirus in Weld County.  

RELATED: JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley closes

Polis says state gathering data on minority rate infection rates, announces JBS closure in Monday news conference

The closure of the JBS meat processing plant, minority infection rate data and a mask art contest were among the items Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) discussed during a news conference Monday focused on the state’s response to COVID-19.  

Polis said the JBS meat processing plant in Greeley is now closed following an outbreak of cases there.

He also said the state is working to gather data on minority infection rates and the number of COVID-19 patients who have been hospitalized and then recovered enough to be released.

The governor also asked children to decorate face masks and enter into a contest. The winning submissions will be mass-produced and donated to facilities around Colorado.

For instructions and to enter the contest, go to coloradomaskcontest.org.

RELATED: Polis says state gathering data on minority rate infection rates, announces JBS closure in Monday news conference

Mortenson to pay $650,000, work to build COVID-19 overflow hospital in bid-rigging settlement

Construction company Mortenson has agreed to pay $650,000 and will work to build a 2,000-bed overflow hospital to treat COVID-19 patients following an investigation into a bid-rigging scheme related to Denver's plans to upgrade and expand the Colorado Convention Center.

The Office of the Attorney General investigated for more than a year whether Mortenson had violated the Colorado Antitrust Act when it competed to become the general contractor of the multi-million dollar expansion project.

Under the agreement, Mortenson will pay all of its own costs of service and construction costs, including building materials and costs of any subcontractor and design services for the overflow hospital. 

When it's complete, the facility will house patients who no longer need ICU beds, but still require medical care in their battles against the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. People will not be able to walk up and receive care.

RELATED: Mortenson to pay $650,000, work to build COVID-19 overflow hospital in bid-rigging settlement

DCPA postpones "The Lion King" and "That Golden Girls Show"

Due to the continued shutdown from COVID-19, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts has postponed engagements for "The Lion King" and "That Golden Girls Show."

DCPA said it is working to schedule new dates for both shows. The touring show of "The Lion King" was set for May 13 through June 14 at the Buell Theatre. "That Golden Girls Show" was scheduled for May 19 through June 13 at the Galleria Theatre.

Also in response to the financial impacts of the pandemic, the DCPA has reduced staffing and hours at its box office.

Aurora police mourn passing of community leader from COVID-19

Aurora's law enforcement community is mourning the loss of Rev. Milton Thomas, who died after a "long and tough fight" against COVID-19, according to the Aurora Police Association (APA).

Interim Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson called Thomas a great community leader and a friend of the Aurora Police Department (APD).

"My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and parishioner," Wilson said. "Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. You will be missed Reverend Thomas!"

RELATED: Aurora police mourn passing of 'great community leader' from COVID-19

Coronavirus cases in Colorado

In Colorado, 7,691 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 308 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,493 have been hospitalized.

According to CDPHE, 38,742 people have been tested and 56 counties are reporting cases. There have been 72 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.

See the latest numbers from the state health department.

  • Denver: 1,346
  • Arapahoe: 1,142
  • Jefferson: 787
  • Weld: 808
  • Adams: 693
  • El Paso: 641
  • Eagle: 457
  • Douglas: 304
  • Boulder: 284
  • Larimer: 193
  • Gunnison: 99
  • Broomfield: 81
  • Summit: 72
  • Morgan: 75
  • Pueblo: 64
  • Montrose:59
  • Garfield: 58
  • Pitkin: 49
  • La Plata: 44
  • Routt: 41
  • Mesa: 35
  • Chaffee: 28
  • Teller: 15
  • Elbert: 16
  • Logan: 13
  • San Miguel: 12
  • Montezuma: 12
  • Clear Creek: 11
  • Baca: 10
  • Kit Carson: 8
  • Alamosa: 7
  • Fremont: 8
  • Park: 6
  • Archuleta: 6
  • Delta: 7
  • Rio Grande: 5
  • Otero: 5
  • Lake: 4
  • Grand: 4
  • Ouray: 4
  • Phillips: 4
  • Moffat: 3
  • Saguache: 3
  • Costilla: 3
  • Washington: 2
  • Las Animas: 2
  • Yuma: 2
  • Mineral: 2
  • Custer: 2
  • Rio Blanco: 1
  • Hinsdale: 2
  • Huerfano: 1
  • Crowley: 2
  • Lincoln: 1
  • Out of state: 39
  • Unknown or pending:145

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.

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