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Colorado coronavirus latest, April 15: 357 deaths, 1,636 hospitalized

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 14.

Wednesday, April 15

Inmates at Sterling Correctional test positive

The Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC) said two inmates at Sterling Correctional tested positive for COVID-19. 

The inmates were housed in the same unit and are now under quarantine, according to DOC.

The prison, along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is conducting a contact tracing investigation, according to DOC.

Staff who are found to have close contact with the inmates will be placed on leave, and inmates who are found to have come in close contact with the COVID-19 positive inmates will be screened twice daily including having their temperature taken, and quarantined. 

Sterling Correctional has moved to Phase III modified operations. What that means is that all meals and medications will be delivered to the living units and inmates will remain in their cells during the quarantine period, according to DOC.

Arapahoe County Fairgrounds transformed into alternate care medical facility

The Arapahoe County Fairgrounds have been converted to a tier 4 alternate care facility for COVID-19 patients to help alleviate crowding at regional hospitals, the county announced in a release Wednesday. 

The temporary facility will host cases that don’t require acute or critical care.

Upon opening, the site can hold 54 individuals and can increase capacity up to 150 if the need arises. The medical shelter is the product of a multi-agency response team that completed the transformation in a matter of days with the help of the Colorado National Guard.

The alternate care facility does not accept walk-up patients and is not a hospital.

Rather, the facility operates as a medical shelter and is best suited for those patients who are ready to return to their original housing situation but are unable to do so because of their circumstances. Local hospitals will make direct referrals for guests to the facility. 

The temporary alternate care facility is being managed by the Arapahoe County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), with paramedics and medical students providing care and observation for recovering guests.

Traffic at DIA TSA checkpoints down 95% compared to same time last year 

Traffic at Denver International Airport’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints is down 95% compared to the same time last year.

In a news release, DIA said this is in line with other airports in the country. To take advantage of fewer passengers, DIA said it’s doing maintenance work – including upgrading the doors on the trains between the three concourses.

DIA said it is also allowing its contractor to up the amount of work being done on the years behind schedule and millions over-budget Great Hall project during the day. This could up the amount of noise in the terminal, the airport warned.

Finally, DIA said COVID-19 has also led to:

  • A recommendation that everyone at the airport wear a face mask.
  • The closure of valet services in the east and west garages.
  • Grounded airplanes parking on a closed runway and deicing pads.
  • Decisions from individual concessionaires about whether to close.

Sam's Club to offer Hero Hours for first responders, healthcare workers

Beginning this Sunday, April 19 and every Sunday until further notice all Sam's Clubs stores will be offering special Hero Hours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. All shoppers entering clubs will be provided with a mask for safety. 

Previously those shopping hours were set aside from Sam's Club associates. A few locations decided to invite healthcare workers and first responders to shop as well, and now the company decided to make the change all stores.

Coronavirus cases in Colorado

In Colorado, 8,280 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 357 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,636 have been hospitalized.

According to CDPHE, 40,533 people have been tested and 56 counties are reporting cases. There have been 83 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.

See the latest numbers from the state health department.

  • Denver: 1,468
  • Arapahoe: 1,243
  • Jefferson: 837
  • Weld: 928
  • Adams: 758
  • El Paso: 668
  • Eagle: 480
  • Douglas: 312
  • Boulder: 300
  • Larimer: 202
  • Gunnison: 104
  • Broomfield: 92
  • Summit: 76
  • Morgan: 103
  • Pueblo: 68
  • Montrose: 65
  • Garfield: 62
  • Pitkin:51
  • La Plata: 46
  • Routt: 41
  • Mesa: 34
  • Chaffee: 31
  • Teller: 16
  • Elbert: 16
  • Logan: 13
  • San Miguel: 12
  • Montezuma: 12
  • Clear Creek: 11
  • Baca: 10
  • Kit Carson: 8
  • Alamosa: 7
  • Fremont: 9
  • Park: 6
  • Archuleta: 6
  • Delta: 12
  • Rio Grande: 7
  • Otero: 5
  • Lake: 5
  • Grand: 4
  • Ouray: 4
  • Phillips: 4
  • Moffat: 3
  • Saguache: 3
  • Costilla: 3
  • Washington: 5
  • Las Animas: 2
  • Yuma: 2
  • Mineral: 2
  • Custer: 2
  • Rio Blanco: 1
  • Hinsdale: 2
  • Huerfano: 1
  • Crowley: 2
  • Lincoln: 2
  • Unknown or pending:111

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.