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
- 5,429 cases in Colorado, 1079 hospitalized and 179 deaths. Get the latest from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
- Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said Gov. Jared Polis has approved the city's request to deploy the national guard to assist with people experiencing homelessness. He also said the National Western Complex Hall of Education will serve as an auxiliary shelter to house up to 600 men currently experiencing homelessness.
- Colorado issued a statewide stay-at-home order that will be in effect until at least April 26. (Some local orders remain in place and might be more restrictive.)
- Hancock extended the city's and county's stay-at-home order to April 30.
- Polis said Coloradans need to wear a face covering when out in public.
- 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.
- RTD said it will implement rear-door boarding and suspend fees across its bus, light rail and train routes effective Sunday, April 5. 16th Street Free MallRide shuttle service will also be suspended at that time.
> Read updates from April 6 here.
Tuesday, April 7
Safeway, Albertsons to limit number of customers in store at one time
Safeway and Albertsons will limit the number of customers who can be inside the store at one time to roughly 30% of the stores’ capacity in an effort to increase social distancing.
The stores will also implement a one-way movement policy in the aisles, which will be marked to provide direction. Beginning April 8 and continuing every Wednesday the hours between 7 and 9 a.m. will be dedicated for senior citizens and other immune-compromised shoppers. The company has successfully sourced masks for all of its employees.
King Soopers said earlier it would limit customers inside its stores.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless urges Polis to take action throughout the state
The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless urged the governor to address the needs of those who do not have homes amid the state's stay-at-home order.
The Coalition had the following requests of Polis:
- Approve the deployment of the National Guard to turn the National Western Center and Coliseum into a 24-hour space for those experiencing homelessness to practice proper social distancing.
- Use his executive powers to increase the number of motel rooms available for those at risk.
- If hotels and motels refuse to provide rooms, that Polis use his emergency powers to commandeer these facilities.
Thirty-nine workers from the Denver Police Department, Denver Fire Department and Denver Sheriff's Office have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Kelli Christiansen with the Denver Department of Public Safety.
A breakdown of how many people tested positive from each agency was not released.
Brighton Police offer apology to resident regarding park incident
The Brighton Police Department (BPD) offered an apology to Brighton resident Matt Mooney after the department admitted to an overreach by an officer in an incident over the weekend.
BPD said Mooney was detained when officers responded to a complaint about a large group of people gathering at Donelson Park on Sunday. Officers encountered a group of about 12-15 people who appeared to be playing softball and asked them to disperse due to the park being closed, which BPD said was incorrect, disbursement was needed due to the state’s public health order regarding group gathering.
Mooney was detained during the incident while officers were sorting through different versions of what took place by witnesses who were at the park, BPD said.
"It is evident there was an overreach by our police officers," BPD said in a statement. "This is an opportunity for us to come together and do better for the community. We are deeply sorry for the events that took place on Sunday and the impact on Mr. Mooney, his family, and the community."
The Book of Mormon closes national tour
The Book of Mormon national tour announced it was closing after playing for 360 weeks and more than seven years on the road.
Tour dates were scheduled through the summer including a stop in Denver. The decision to close the tour was predicated by a series of canceled dates due to public health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19.
To date, the DCPA has announced the cancellation of six productions, 523 educational classes and programs, 19 rental events and two fundraisers. As previously announced, the DCPA implemented measures on April 2 to reduce its staffing costs by more than 55% through layoffs, unpaid leave, reduced work weeks and salary reductions.
Due to staff reductions, box office hours are limited. Ticketholders will receive an email with the accommodations available to them and are encouraged to complete their transaction via email or online.
Third Colorado Avalanche player tests positive for COVID-19
A third Colorado Avalanche player has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement distributed by the NHL.
"The player is in self-isolation and has not had close contact with any other Avalanche players or staff members," the statement reads.
Eight total NHL players -- including five Ottawa Senators -- have now tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
None of the professional hockey players with COVID-19 have been identified by name.
National Western Complex to house up to 600 men experiencing homelessness
The National Western Complex Hall of Education will serve as an auxiliary shelter to house up to 600 men who are currently experiencing homelessness in an effort to increase social distancing among the city's most vulnerable population, Hancock said in a news conference.
Accommodations at the shelter will include three meals a day plus snacks. There will also be showers, restrooms and laundry services, as well as access to WiFi, and public transportation.
Hancock also announced that Polis (D-Colorado) approved a request to allow 250 members of the Colorado National Guard to serve at shelters.
State explores buying a fleet of refrigerated trucks
9Wants to Know has learned Colorado is preparing for a possible high death count as the virus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread.
“There may still be many deaths from COVID-19, and we need to be prepared for that,” said Ian Dickson, a spokesperson for CDPHE.
The state is currently talking to companies to buy about 10 refrigerated trucks that would transport bodies from hospitals.
Dickson confirmed the state’s plans over email on Tuesday.
“We haven't settled on a vendor yet,” said Ian Dickson. “...we hope that using them won't be necessary,” he added.
Denver Public Schools (DPS) expands free meal program
Denver Public Schools (DPS) said Tuesday it's expanding its support to students and families by adding 12 meal pickup sites and launching a meal delivery program for families.
The 12 new grab-and-go locations are spread throughout the city where families can pick up breakfast and lunch. Families can also take food home for the weekend each Friday. There are a total of 24 grab-and-go locations. They are open weekdays from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. to pick up meals for kids and adults.
DPS also launched an enhanced meal delivery program, with school buses making meal deliveries to schools and community locations throughout the city at designated times each weekday for the remainder of the school year. Buses will stop at each site for 20-30 minutes to hand out breakfast and lunch. On Fridays, weekend breakfast and lunch are also available for pickup during deliveries.
The current stay-at-home order does not affect the meal program, and students do not need to be present for adults to pick up meals.
More details, including grab-and-go pickup locations and the new meal delivery schedule, can be found on the Food Distribution page on the DPS website.
Coronavirus cases in Colorado
In Colorado, 5,429 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 179 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,079 have been hospitalized.
According to CDPHE, 28,094 people have been tested and 54 counties are reporting cases. There have been 44 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.
- Denver: 847
- Arapahoe: 652
- Jefferson: 540
- Weld: 504
- El Paso: 441
- Adams: 367
- Eagle: 355
- Douglas: 227
- Boulder: 189
- Larimer: 158
- Gunnison: 95
- Broomfield: 50
- Garfield: 47
- Summit: 47
- Pueblo: 42
- Pitkin: 39
- Montrose: 34
- La Plata: 32
- Routt: 29
- Mesa: 25
- Chaffee: 22
- Morgan: 19
- Teller: 11
- Logan: 11
- San Miguel: 10
- Baca: 9
- Elbert: 9
- Montezuma: 8
- Clear Creek: 6
- Archuleta: 6
- Delta: 5
- Rio Grande: 5
- Park: 5
- Kit Carson: 5
- Grand: 4
- Alamosa: 4
- Otero: 4
- Moffat: 3
- Saguache: 3
- Costilla: 3
- Lake: 3
- Phillips: 3
- Fremont: 3
- Yuma: 2
- Mineral: 2
- Custer: 2
- Ouray: 2
- Rio Blanco: 1
- Las Animas: 1
- Hinsdale: 1
- Huerfano: 1
- Crowley: 1
- Washington: 1
- Lincoln: 1
- Out of state: 26
- Unknown or pending: 276
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.
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