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
- 6,022 cases in Colorado, 1,221 hospitalized and 226 deaths. Get the latest from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
- 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).
- Gov. Polis said Coloradans need to wear a face covering when out in public.
Thursday, April 9
Colorado coronavirus cases could peak in May
State health officials said the stay-at-home orders issued by the governor have pushed the peak of the virus into May.
They report that updated information said social distancing has worked to push the curve of the virus to the right.
The White House said in a recent press conference that they were concerned about new hot spots of the virus around the country -- with Colorado listed as one of them. Colorado officials said they will continue to evaluate the modeling, but from the initial information they see is that social distancing efforts are working. They continue to encourage people to stay at home.
Officials added that the state has an excess of ventilators now and anticipate bringing in even more. They said the state has spent $50 million on ventilators and other essential equipment and expect to receive them in the next 24 hours.
Refrigeration trucks have been received, but officials said they are not in use at this time.
"We do know that until we have a vaccine, we will have COVID-19 in our communities," said Scott Bookman, CDPHE's incident commander for the COVID-19 response.
CDPHE said they continue to evaluate the right policies moving forward as to when restaurants, bars, schools will open and when restrictions on gatherings will be lifted.
More than 30 JBS employees test positive for COVID-19
More than 30 employees at JBS in Greeley have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the Weld County Health Department. The exact number has not been released, but the statement says the total will change as the investigation continues.
The statement said the health department continues to investigate the working conditions at the meat packing plant and is providing guidance on preventative measures the company should apply at its facility. Concerns include the proximity of workers to each other and employees working while sick, according to the statement.
The statement also said "while closure of the facility is an option, compliance is a preferred solution."
4 Aurora assisted living facility residents hospitalized for COVID-19
A COVID-19 outbreak has hit a smaller assisted living facility located at 17003 E. Pacific Pl. in Aurora. Makarios Assisted Living is owned by Fenu Suyapno who confirmed to 9NEWS that four of the eight residents at the facility are hospitalized with the novel coronavirus.
He said the other four residents have not shown symptoms of the virus and still live at the facility. Two staff members at the facility have tested negative.
Suyapno said they have cleaned the Aurora facility and all of the families of those living there have been notified. He also runs four other living facilities and said he hasn't had any other confirmed cases.
Water recreation is now prohibited on Clear Creek; violators face fine
All waterway activities on Clear Creek are now prohibited to rafting, kayaking, canoeing and other water recreation.
The temporary restrictions apply to Clear Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County, along with portions of waterway within the city of Golden that includes Vanover Park.
The water restrictions go into effect at 5 p.m. on Thursday. Violating the order is a class 2 petty offense and will result in a $100 fine.
The temporary restrictions were announced in response to the stay-at-home order that makes it difficult for recreational users of the creek to adhere to the six-foot social distancing guideline.
They added that if a rescue were necessary, it would require law enforcement and fire departments to expend resources that are already facing challenges due to COVID-19.
14 deaths at Greeley nursing home
There are 14 deaths related to COVID-19 at a Greeley health facility, according to the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment. A spokesperson for the department confirmed the 14 deaths are connected to Centennial Health Care Center in Greeley.
The facility provides short-term rehabilitation and long-term care for patients, including those with dementia.
Read the full story: 14 residents have died in a COVID-19 outbreak at a Greeley nursing home
Fifteen surviving residents have also tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Centennial Healthcare Center said 14 of them are isolated at the facility, and one is in the hospital.
Outbreaks have been reported at 44 residential and non-hospital health care facilities, according to the latest numbers from CDPHE.
Gov. Polis extends emergency disaster declaration
Polis has signed an executive order extending Colorado's disaster emergency declaration for COVID-19 for an additional 30 days, lasting through May 10.
A state of emergency status essentially frees up funding for the governor's office to respond to the outbreak and access additional resources.
The governor also signed a one-time executive order to extend deadlines for state severance taxes from April 15, 2020 until May 15, 2020.
King Soopers extends store hours
King Soopers said it will be extending hours of operation in an effort to further promote social distancing in stores. Starting Monday, April 13, all stores will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"Providing additional shopping hours will help to spread out the flow of traffic in stores and reduce the number of customers waiting in line when stores open," King Soopes said in a statement.
The grocery chain will also be extending senior hours to 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
On Easter Sunday, all King Soopers stores will operate under holiday hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
17 businesses cited after authorities say they violated the stay-at-home order
The city of Denver released new stats on businesses that have been cited for violating the stay-at-home order and social distancing regulations.
The city said as of Thursday, 17 citations have been issued.
The businesses cited were:
Game Stop (March 26).
- Appliance Factory — two locations (March 28, March 29, March 31, April 1, April 2).
- Car Wash USA Express (March 29).
- Hobby Lobby (March 30).
- Wing Stop (March 31).
- Vape Glass (April 1).
- EZ Pawn (April 2).
- Royal Pipes and Hookahs (April 2).
- Denver Smokes and Vapes (April 2).
- United Ground Express (April 3).
- Nuggs Ice Cream (April 6).
- Colorado Vape and Glass (April 7).
- Bass Pro Shops (April 8).
The city said it has given more than 2,100 warnings out since the order went into effect on March 24.
Colorado labor department announces more than 46,000 additional unemployment claims
In Colorado, 46,065 people filed for unemployment in the state last week, raising the total number of unemployment claims to 127,393 over the past three weeks, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE).
The weekly claim numbers represent claims that were filed in the prior week and reported to the U.S. Department of Labor, and do not represent all applications filed for unemployment, CDLE said.
CDLE reports that more than 60,000 payment requests have been made since March 16. CDLE also reports that $29.8 million in benefits were paid during the week ending April 4, compared to the 2020 average of $8.7 million paid in prior weeks.
During the height of the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010, an average of $19 million in benefits were paid out on a weekly basis, and $102.8 million were paid out in May of 2009 (the highest month on record), according to CDLE.
Top 5 industries with highest claims provided by CDLE (for the week ending March 21st):
- Accommodation and Food Services: 12,411
- Healthcare and Social Service: 2,560
- Other Services (includes personal services like nail and beauty salons, barbers, etc): 1,672
- Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: 1,415
- Retail Trade: 1,014
Boulder city leaders consider possibility of closing open space areas to help social distancing efforts
City leaders in Boulder are considering a closure of open space areas due to overcrowding issues.
Since stay-at-home orders were issued across the state and social distancing became common practice, popular open space areas have seen an increase in visitation.
Efforts have been made to promote social distancing on trails, including adding signs encouraging people to stay home if they're sick and to maintain six feet between hikers.
City leaders are also asking people to take their love of hiking onto less popular trails in hopes of reducing the issue.
Boulder is considering other measures for its open space areas including weather-dependent weekend closures at some locations and limiting the amount of parking at high-visitation trails.
CDPHE anticipates arrival of new ventilators
During a zoom press conference, Thursday morning, Scott Bookman with the CDPHE said the department anticipates inventorying the ventilators they acquired from the federal government within 24 hours.
Coronavirus cases in Colorado
In Colorado, 6,202 people have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and 226 people have died. Of those who tested positive for the disease, 1,221 have been hospitalized.
According to CDPHE, 31,180 people have been tested and 56 counties are reporting cases. There have been 54 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.
- Denver: 1,031
- Arapahoe: 877
- Jefferson: 660
- Weld: 614
- El Paso: 534
- Adams: 475
- Eagle: 394
- Douglas: 270
- Boulder: 217
- Larimer: 174
- Gunnison: 99
- Summit: 57
- Broomfield: 61
- Garfield: 50
- Pueblo: 48
- Pitkin: 39
- Montrose: 38
- La Plata: 37
- Routt: 32
- Mesa: 32
- Chaffee: 26
- Morgan: 44
- Logan: 13
- Teller: 12
- San Miguel: 11
- Elbert: 10
- Baca: 9
- Montezuma: 8
- Clear Creek: 10
- Archuleta: 6
- Delta: 6
- Rio Grande: 5
- Park: 5
- Kit Carson: 6
- Alamosa: 7
- Grand: 4
- Otero: 5
- Phillips: 4
- Fremont: 5
- Moffat: 3
- Saguache: 3
- Costilla: 3
- Lake: 4
- Ouray: 4
- Yuma: 2
- Mineral: 2
- Custer: 2
- Rio Blanco: 1
- Las Animas: 2
- Hinsdale: 1
- Huerfano: 1
- Crowley: 1
- Washington: 2
- Lincoln: 1
- Unknown or pending: 233
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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