COLORADO, USA — Families who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are now able to buy groceries online using their benefits.
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has canceled its season of locally-produced shows.
Two employees at centers that supply Colorado grocery stores have died of COVID-19, according to data distributed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
For the sixth straight week, regular unemployment claims in Colorado declined slightly, but they're still much higher than in a typical year, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Eagle County also announced that it will reopen buildings for in-person services beginning on Monday, June 1.
UCHealth announced it is now offering COVID-19 tests and antibody tests for anyone in Colorado.
While Erie has canceled its independence firework celebration, El Paso County will have 10 coordinated displays on July 4.
Those are among the coronavirus updates for the state on Thursday. More details are below, and we'll continue to post information as it comes in throughout the day.
WHAT TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
- 25,121 cases, up from 24,767 the day prior.
- 4,254 hospitalized, up from 4,196 the day prior.
- 1,421 deaths among those who tested positive for COVID-19, up from 1,392 the day prior.
- 1,168 deaths due to COVID-19, up from 1,135 the day prior.
- Get the latest data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
- Polis said restaurants can reopen to in-person dining on Wednesday, with strict regulations in place. Day camps and youth sports camps can reopen June 1.
- Denver, Jefferson County Public Health and Tri-County Public Health confirmed they will follow Polis' statewide guidelines.
- Polis extended the state's safer-at-home order to June 1.
SNAP recipients now able to use benefits online
Families who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are now able to buy groceries online using their benefits.
A federal waiver from the USDA Food and Nutrition Services allowed for an emergency request to expand a pilot program permitting SNAP recipients to purchase grocery and food delivery online.
Currently, there are two approved retailers in Colorado: Amazon and Walmart.
The new program begins on Friday, May 29.
DCPA cancels nine locally-produced plays
The Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has canceled its entire 2020/21 Theatre Company season.
The canceled shows include:
- Angry, Raucous & Shamelessly Gorgeous
- The Children
- A Christmas Carol
- In the Upper Room
- Light Up the Sky
- Rattlesnake Kate
- Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Theatre Company productions are all locally-produced and are staged within the Helen Bonfils Theatre Complex at the northwest corner of the Denver Performing Arts Complex.
Subscribers who had renewed into the 2020/21 DCPA Theatre Company season will receive an email with the option to receive a credit, request a refund or donate the package value.
Since March 13, the DCPA has postponed or canceled 25 shows, two fundraisers, hundreds of classes and several other events.
Visit denvercenter.org/response for a complete list of impacted events.
Coronavirus deaths reported at King Soopers bakery, Safeway distribution center
Two employees have died in confirmed coronavirus outbreaks at facilities that supply grocery stores in Colorado, according to outbreak data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
One of the victims was an employee at the Safeway Distribution Center in Denver. The other worked at the King Soopers Bakery, also in Denver.
There have been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the Safeway Distribution Center and 27 at the King Soopers Bakery, which also has six more listed as probable.
The Walmart Distribution Center in Loveland has had 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19, nine probable, and no deaths, according to the data.
King Soopers has not yet responded to a 9NEWS request for comment on the death of one of their employees. Safeway provided a media statement that reads:
We were sad to learn that an associate at our Safeway distribution center in Denver, Colorado, has recently passed away. This was a long-time, well-respected associate who had many friends in our business. Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts are with that individual’s family. The associate did have a confirmed COVID-19 case.
The health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors is a top priority. The associate had not worked in the warehouse since April 17. On the day we were informed of this confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, the Denver Distribution Center was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Since that day, the distribution center has been through multiple cycles of our enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting process.
The facility remains open. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19. The FDA also states that currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.
We have reaffirmed with all associates that they need to wash hands and practice social distancing. We’ve supplied reusable masks for all, and we require them to wear the masks at work. We have also reminded them that if they develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, stay home and call their healthcare provider right away.
UCHealth offering COVID-19 antibody tests for Coloradans
UCHealth is now offering COVID-19 testing and antibody testing for anyone in Colorado.
The COVID-19 PCR test, which is done with a nasal swab, can determine if someone is currently sick with the novel coronavirus, and UCHealth said it is appropriate for anyone showing symptoms to get tested.
The antibody test, which is done through a blood draw, can determine if someone has been exposed to or sickened by COVID-19 in the past.
UCHealth said any of its providers can order tests for patients, or patients can schedule the tests through the My Health Connection online portal. Anyone who is not currently a UCHealth patient can create an account and schedule either test.
UCHealth is charging $100 for the COVID-19 antibody bood draw test and $85 for the PCR (nasal swab) test. UCHealth said most health insurance providers will cover the cost of the tests, but encourages patients to check with their providers first.
UCHealth also noted that the FDA has warned that antibody tests many antibody tests are not accurate and have not been approved by the FDA. UCHealth said the antibody tests it now provides have been evaluated by the FDA and far exceed the agency’s requirements for accuracy and specificity.
UCHealth said that the antibody test it is using is wrong less than one time out of 1,000.
“Many people have been interested in getting antibody tested because they want to know if they have been exposed to COVID-19 or they want to know if they are possibly immune to COVID-19. Unfortunately, for now, the only thing we can tell you is that if you have antibodies, you have been exposed to COVID-19. We cannot tell you yet whether you are immune to it,” said UCHealth Chief Innovation Officer Richard Zane, M.D., who is also chair of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Regular unemployment claims continue gradual decline
Claims for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in Colorado declined slightly for the sixth straight week, according to new numbers released by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
There were 15,603 initial regular unemployment claims filed for the week ending May 23. The week prior there were 17,825 claims.
In addition, regular UI claims, there were 6,635 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial unemployment claims (gig worker, self-employed) filed May 17 - 23. Over the past ten weeks a total of 421,403 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed and a grand total of 498,851 claims including federal PUA benefits.
Last week, $95.3 million in benefits was paid out. Between March 29 and May 23 a total of $616.8 Million has been paid to claimants.
Erie cancels July 3rd Fireworks
The Town of Erie has canceled their July 3rd firework display. The Erie Parks and Recreation Department is working on a 4th of July Porch Party kit to celebrate our nation’s independence safely at home with fun activities, crafts and decorations.
El Paso County, however, will have 10 displays on July 4.
Eagle County buildings to begin reopening June 1
Eagle County facilities and operations will start a phased reopening for in-person services with required safety protocols beginning Monday, June 1.
Members of the public and all employees will be required to wear face coverings and adhere to social distancing, as well as occupancy requirements. Those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or otherwise feel uncomfortable are encouraged to conduct business over the phone, via email, or online at eaglecounty.us.
The buildings have been closed since March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new operating procedures and limited hours will be in effect until at least June 22, when the county tentatively plans to move into the Black Phase of its Transition Trail Map.
Coronavirus cases in Colorado
CDPHE on May 15 changed the way it was reporting data in two ways:
- The number of deaths among people with COVID-19. This represents the total number of deaths reported among people who have COVID-19, but COVID-19 may not have been the cause of death listed on the death certificate. This information is required by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is crucial for public health surveillance, as it provides more information about disease transmission and can help identify risk factors among all deaths across populations.
- The number of deaths among people who died from COVID-19: This represents the total number of people whose death was attributed to COVID-19 as indicated on a death certificate. This number is determined by the CDC and is updated daily for dates through the previous Saturday.
In Colorado, CDPHE reports 24,767 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, up from 24,565 the day prior.
- 1,421 deaths among people with COVID-19
- 1,168 deaths due to COVID-19
The day prior, 1,392 people had died, 1,135 from COVID-19.
The majority of deaths — 54% — are among people over age 80; 23% of deaths occurred in people between ages 70-79 and 13% were in people ages 60-69.
The graph below shows the total number of people in Colorado who have died after a COVID-19 diagnosis, since the first death happened on March 13.
Of those who tested positive for the disease, a total of 4,254 hospitalizations have been reported, up from 4,196 the day prior.
As of 2:30 p.m. on May 28, 335 patients were hospitalized with the disease, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Hospital Association. Within the last 24 hours, 42 patients have been transferred or discharged.
Note: 93% of facilities reported data on May 26.
This graph below shows the number of people currently hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis and the number of people who have been discharged within 24 hours. This is a key metric because it can be an indicator of whether or not Colorado’s hospital system is being overwhelmed by the virus.
According to CDPHE, 166,596 people have been tested, up from 160,796 the day prior, and 60 counties are reporting cases, the same number as the day before.
This graph below shows the number of tests the state processed in a day. This is another key metric because the state’s ability to reopen will depend on the number of tests Colorado can run each day. As testing improves, the number of cases will rise because the more tests that are conducted, the more cases will be found.
Positivity is the number of tests that come back with a COVID-19 result. Above 10% could be an indicator that not enough testing is being done and that only people likely to have COVID are getting tested.
Please note that there may be a lull or spike in reported case data due to how it's reported. CDPHE data changes as labs, hospitals, facilities and local agencies report their own data. For example, a spike in the number of deaths does not necessarily mean that many more people died within 24 hours, but rather is indicative of when the data is entered into the system. New data is released daily at 4 p.m.
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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