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
- 10,106 cases, 1,880 hospitalized, 449 deaths Get the latest from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
- Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order that will be in effect until April 26.
- Beginning April 27, Colorado will transition to a 'safer-at-home' order in which some non-critical businesses and retail stores will reopen while maintaining strict social distancing.
- Polis said Coloradans need to wear a face covering when out in public and on April 13 he asked children to decorate face masks and enter into a contest.
- The Colorado labor department said people who are self-employed can begin filing for unemployment on April 20.
Monday, April 20
Boulder Valley School District announces remote learning through end of school year
Citing Polis' announcement of what would be included in the safer-at-home order, the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) said they will continue with remote learning for the rest of the school year.
Schools are not included in the list of businesses that can reopen starting on April 27.
Colorado to transition to 'safer-at-home' order on April 27
Gov. Jared Polis announced that he will allow the stay-at-home order to expire on April 26 and the state will transition into a safer-at-home model at that time.
This means some non-critical businesses and retail stores will be allowed to reopen, but strict precautions will remain in place.
The general public is still encouraged (but not ordered) to stay at home unless necessary and to wear face coverings when out. Sick people are still not allowed to go to work and gathering of more than 10 are also still not allowed.
The goal is to maintain 60% to 65% social distancing, Polis said.
City of Littleton furloughs 58 employees
Littleton has announced the furlough of 58 city employees due to revenue loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A release from the city manager says the employees will be on a mandatory furlough until June 24.
The employees are in positions that require public interaction and cannot be done remotely, like library and museum staff, Littleton Immigrant Resource Center staff, and shuttle bus drivers, according to the release. The employees will be able to use paid leave balances during their furloughs and will have access to benefits.
State estimates completion dates of alternate care sites at Colorado Convention Center, The Ranch
The Unified Coordination Center (UCC) said it expects the alternative care sites being built at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and The Ranch in Loveland to be completed on April 29.
The sites will be medical shelters supporting hospitals exceeding their capacity. At this point, hospitals remain within their facility capacities to serve all patients, and the medical shelters are not yet necessary for medical surge.
The alternative care sites are projected to be operational on May 15, three weeks after the stay-at-home orders are currently expected to relax or expire. The UCC said it expects the need to support hospitals to occur at this time. The operational date is subject to change depending on the daily hospital reports to the UCC.
The alternative care sites have also revised their initial bed counts to meet current modeling data. The UCC is finalizing the wrap-around services related to the sites including staffing and equipment.
Colorado Convention Center
- Location: Denver, Colorado
- Construction Complete Date: April 29
- Operational Date: May 15
- Beds Available on Operational Date: 600
- Location: Loveland, Colorado
- Construction Complete Date: April 29
- Operational Date: May 15, 2020
- Bed Available on Operational Date: 195
Online platform launched to assist workers impacted by COVID-19
Colorado has launched OnwardCO, a platform that aims to give displaced workers an online portal to connect with resources like emergency services, jobs and training programs.
“As we work to ensure the health and safety of Coloradans during these unprecedented times, it’s critical that we also help the economy recover. OnwardCO is a key tool in that effort,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. “Colorado is proud to be part of the OnwardUS coalition, an example of the power of public private partnership.”
The new platform provides support to Coloradans impacted by job loss in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Displaced workers looking for help can:
- Get connected to emergency resources, like food, shelter, childcare and money.
- Get connected to training programs to upskill for a new career.
- Get matched to jobs.
OnwardCO is a collaborative effort between Bitwise Industries, the Kapor Center and the state of Colorado to help workers impacted by COVID-19.
Enhanced testing taking place this week at 3 long-term care facilities
The Unified Command Center (UCC) on Sunday initiated testing at three long-term care facilities in an effort to earlier identify COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 testing is supported by members of the Colorado National Guard, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
With approximately 40% of Colorado’s COVID-19 fatalities associated with long-term care facilities, the state strategy is testing at locations based on the size of the facility (number of staff and residents) and no previously reported outbreaks, UCC said.
The goal is earlier identification of COVID-19 cases to try to limit spread in the facilities.
The three facilities tested this week are located in El Paso, Adams and Broomfield counties.
Three hundred tests will be provided for each facility to test staff and residents. Below are the locations being tested this week:
- Pikes Peak Center
- Location: El Paso County
- Testing Date: Sunday, April 19, 2020
- Elms Haven Center
- Location: Adams County
- Testing Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2020
- Broomfield Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
- Location: Broomfield County
- Testing Date: April 23
Mayor planning for life after stay-at-home order
The mayor, along with city leadership, discussed a host of topics related to COVID-19, including recovery planning, business relief efforts, city-owned golf facilities, residential care facilities and residential care facilities.
As it stands now, Colorado’s stay-at-home order is set to expire on April 26. A stay-a-home order for Denver lasts through the end of the month on April 30.
Mayor Michael Hancock said that by the end of the week, he will be updating a public health order restricting large events and gatherings in the city. Currently, the social distancing ordinance is set to expire on May 11.
Hancock also detailed what he said will be a “slow, phased and controlled reopening” of businesses with many protective measures taken in the months to come.
“We as a city should anticipate these restrictions to remain in place for a while, even after you no longer have to remain at home, this will be a different summer for those of us in Denver, Colorado," he said.
Hancock said a couple of key factors need to happen over the next seven to 10 days before restrictions can be relaxed. That includes significantly increasing testing for COVID-19, along with testing for anti-bodies, and training and hiring staff for contact tracing.
Unemployment applications open for self-employed, contractors, gig workers
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) started accepting applications Monday for unemployment benefits from those who have lost income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act was passed by Congress and provides $600 a week in unemployment benefits to those who have lost income due to COVID-19. These federal benefits are in addition to regular unemployment benefits from the state.
The application for pandemic unemployment assistance became available Monday at coloradooui.gov.
UCHealth adds virtual visit platform to over 700 clinics across health care system
More than 700 UCHealth clinics are now offering virtual visits that allow patients to keep seeing their regular primary care and specialty providers while staying safe at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Katie Markley, senior medical director of UCHealth Ambulatory Services, said it’s critical for people with chronic health challenges to keep in touch with their medical providers. For all virtual visits, if patients need face-to-face appointments, doctors will help them decide when and where to safely get care.
“If there’s any uncertainty, we can always bring the patient in for care,” Markley said.
Nearly 100 primary care and specialty clinics have been offering virtual care for about a year and use of UCHealth’s Virtual Urgent Care, which offers 24/7 care to anyone in Colorado, has grown exponentially during the pandemic.
“The demand for virtual care has absolutely exploded," said Dr. Chris Davis, UCHealth’s medical director for Virtual Health. "We went from seeing about 20 visits a day to 260 – over a 1,000% increase in actual visit volume.”
Markley said all primary care clinics are now using virtual visits. Existing patients can use online scheduling to set up virtual visits with their primary care providers.
Denver Police want people to celebrate 4/20 at home
Denver's chief of police is urging marijuana enthusiasts to stay home on 4/20, a day normally celebrated on April 20 with a large festival at Civic Center Park.
In a video shared on the Denver Police Department's Twitter and Facebook accounts, Chief Paul Pazen teams up with Denver 4/20 event founder Miguel Lopez to tell citizens not to go out to celebrate the day because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus cases in Colorado
In Colorado, 10,106 cases, have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 449 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,880 have been hospitalized.
According to CDPHE, 47,466 people have been tested and 56 counties are reporting cases. There have been 113 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.
- Denver: 1,880
- Arapahoe: 1,602
- Weld: 1,121
- Jefferson: 987
- Adams: 968
- El Paso: 734
- Eagle: 486
- Douglas: 381
- Boulder: 360
- Larimer: 245
- Morgan: 167
- Gunnison: 117
- Broomfield: 103
- Pueblo: 88
- Summit: 88
- Montrose: 80
- Garfield: 71
- Pitkin: 57
- La Plata: 51
- Routt: 49
- Chaffee: 38
- Mesa: 35
- Delta: 25
- Elbert: 24
- Teller: 24
- Logan: 22
- Kit Carson: 18
- San Miguel: 17
- Montezuma: 13
- Clear Creek: 11
- Fremont: 11
- Baca: 10
- Alamosa: 9
- Lake: 8
- Archuleta: 7
- Rio Grande: 7
- Otero: 7
- Park: 6
- Moffat: 5
- Ouray: 5
- Phillips: 5
- Washington: 6
- Grand: 4
- Saguache: 3
- Costilla: 3
- Las Animas: 3
- Hinsdale: 3
- Lincoln: 3
- Yuma: 3
- Mineral: 2
- Custer: 2
- Crowley: 2
- Rio Blanco: 1
- Huerfano: 1
- Unknown or pending:126
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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