More than 325,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 18,000 have been hospitalized as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
READ MORE: List of Colorado businesses that are open
Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.
Sunday, January 3
4:08 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Sunday, with the change from Saturday in parentheses:
341,250 cases (+2,078)
18,713 hospitalized (+35)
64 counties (+0)
2,158,828 tested (+6,876)
4,502,496 test encounters (+27,749)
4,934 deaths among cases (+22)
3,907 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,053 outbreaks (+1)
The latest hospital data showed 991 beds in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. The latest three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 7.21%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Sunday, Colorado had administered 111,679 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Saturday, January 2
4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Saturday, with the change from Friday in parentheses:
339,172 cases (+2,011)
18,678 hospitalized (+27)
64 counties (+0)
2,151,952 tested (+6,541)
4,474,747 test encounters (+30,541)
4,912 deaths among cases (+39)
3,907 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,052 outbreaks (+0)
The latest hospital data showed 1,016 beds in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. The latest three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 7.19%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Saturday, Colorado had administered 105,842 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Friday, January 1
4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Friday, with the change from Thursday in parentheses:
337,161 cases (+3,064)
18,651 hospitalized (+53)
64 counties (+0)
2,145,411 tested (+9,821)
4,444,206 test encounters (+37,539)
4,873 deaths among cases (+59)
3,907 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,052 outbreaks (+13)
The latest hospital data showed 1,044 beds in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, 44 fewer than Thursday. The latest three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 7.61%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Friday, Colorado had administered 104,086 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thursday, Dec. 31
While Wednesday’s announcement by Gov. Jared Polis that Coloradans age 70 and up will be included in Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution plan was news welcomed by many seniors, it also came as a surprise for local public health departments not yet ready to distribute to the broader group.
Several public health departments across the state said they were not notified of the changes to the vaccine groups before the announcement Wednesday morning and were left to answer phone calls and emails from people in their counties wondering when and where they could be vaccinated but were unable to answer those questions.
“I would say I was getting emails about 5 minutes after the announcement and we have gotten hundreds of emails and phone calls since then,” said Chana Goussetis, a spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health.
Goussetis said that the department was trying to respond to ever email and phone call one-by-one but that a plan to include the people in the updated Phase 1B was in the works and would hopefully be released next week.
“But we just don’t have that figured out quite yet and we also need to ask folks to be patient. We don’t have the vaccine supply for everyone right now, so it will take some time,” she said.
The short supply of vaccine not already accounted for in many Colorado counties is among the reasons why local public health departments like Boulder County and Jefferson County say they are not yet ready to begin distribution to the broader group despite Polis’ hopes stated Wednesday that the broader group could all potentially get their first vaccines in the next 4-5 weeks.
Jefferson County Public Health said Wednesday evening that it is continuing to prioritize vaccination of health care workers and first responders, and that limited quantities of the vaccine meant they were not yet moving into the expanded Phase 1B and were still in the planning phase.
“As those plans further develop, we will communicate them to our Jefferson County community and to key groups who are next-in-line to be vaccinated, including those 70 and older,” JCPH said in a statement.
Summit County announced prior to the governor’s announcement Wednesday that it would be vaccinating people aged 75+ but changed that grouping to 70+ to be in line with the state after the announcement. But they have a surplus of vaccine doses and had planned ahead to vaccinate seniors on a quicker timeline.
“Summit County received several hundred more doses of Moderna vaccine than originally anticipated, and we are happy to be able to offer the opportunity for our residents in one of the highest risk categories to receive the vaccine to protect themselves this week,” said Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland.
Health officials there had more than 800 doses to start the day Wednesday but say they will need more shipments before they can vaccinate the roughly 3,000 people aged 70+ in the county who want to be inoculated.
In Eagle County, only residents of the county who are age 70 and up will be allowed to get the vaccine. There are three clinics scheduled next week – Thursday in Eagle, Friday in El Jebel and Saturday in Edwards – where people can be vaccinated. The county will start scheduling appointments on Monday.
In Denver, frontline law enforcement and fire workers started being vaccinated this week. The city said it is partnering with Safeway Pharmacies to vaccinate health care workers and first responders in Phases 1A and 1B and would be working with the state to coordinate vaccinating the broader 1B group and the next two phases to follow.
Goussetis said in Boulder County, the new additions to Phase 1B amount to about 30,000 more people who could potentially be vaccinated and that vaccine supplies were far short of that.
“So, it’s still going to take us quite a number of months to be able to get the vaccine into the arms of all of the people for Phase 1,” she said.
Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said that the timetable to get Phase 1 recipients vaccinated was contingent on the federal supply chain holding up on schedule, but Colorado and other states have at times received fewer vaccines than they were expecting.
“We just don’t really ever know exactly how many vaccines we’re going to have. We don’t know exactly when we’re going to get them, so it’s very difficult to set up clinics to get vaccine into people when we don’t know how much we’re going to have,” Goussetis said.
She advised people not to call their pharmacies to try to find out more about when they could get vaccinated, saying the pharmacies do not yet know either.
The CDPHE also is including frontline and essential workers and government employees in 1B in addition to people age 70 and up. The department said in a news release Wednesday it expects to have vaccinated “the majority of phase 1A health care workers” by Jan. 15.
The CDPHE said it is “coordinating with local public health agencies, health care providers, pharmacies, and diverse community partners” to distribute the vaccine through Phase 1. Some in the group will be vaccinated through their employer, public health agency, a vaccine provider or through a federal long-term care pharmacy partnership program.
“For individuals not receiving a vaccine through one of these options, the state is actively working with local public health agencies to determine which additional providers will vaccinate members of the 1A and 1B groups. Several counties are planning to hold mass vaccination clinics for members of their communities. In the coming days and as more information becomes finalized, we will publish additional locations for vaccine distribution on the state’s website,” the CDPHE said in the Wednesday release.
Several Coloradans who are close to 70 years old or older expressed frustrations with the lack of clarity about when they might be vaccinated.
“You told me I can get this vaccination, but you don’t tell me how and you don’t tell me when,” said Mitch Cannon, 73, who said he found the state’s COHELP hotline and vaccinations websites unhelpful.
“They couldn’t tell you much of anything and it’s all pre-recorded,” Cannon added.
Tim Gognat, a 69-year-old Lakewood resident who turns 70 in the spring and says he has pre-existing conditions, said he spent the morning on the phone and calling around to his doctor and another before calling the hotline.
“It took me 30 minutes of hold time to get in touch with someone there. They didn’t have any guidance, or they could not provide a place that I could go or inquire about the vaccine,” he said. “So there seems to be quite a bit of confusion out there in terms of the availability and the timing.”
“It would be really important if the governor’s office and public health officials would clarify things with the news organizations and the general public. It would avoid a lot of confusion and a lot of wasted effort,” Gognat added.
In an interview with Denver7 Thursday, Gov. Polis told people to be patient and stuck to his timeline of 4-5 weeks to have the group of people 70 and up vaccinated with their first dose.
“I know nobody wants to be patient; we all want this right now, right? You will be contacted by your provider when there’s an opportunity to set up an appointment. But look, if you’re over 70, you’ll be able to get this within 4-5 weeks,” Polis said. “…I know it’s tough to be patient, and days matter because you want to hang out with your grandkids, your family, you want to go out. But we’ll get through the entire group of 70 and up in 4 to 5 weeks.”
4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with the change from yesterday in parentheses:
334,097 cases (+3,238)
18,598 hospitalized (+96)
64 counties (+0)
2,135,590 tested (+9,018)
4,406,667 test encounters (+38,536)
4,814 deaths among cases (+64)
3,907 deaths due to COVID-19 (+6)
3,039 outbreaks (+17)
The latest hospital data showed 1,086 beds in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, 64 fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests is 7.95%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Thursday, Colorado had administered 94,297 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
11:50 a.m. | Eagle County to open clinics to vaccinate resident 70 years old and up
Eagle County Public Health & Environment will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to county residents 70 years old and older next week.
Three clinics are expected to open next week in Eagle, El Jebel and Edwards:
- Golden Eagle Senior Center, 715 Broadway in Eagle, 8 a.m. to noon
- Eagle County Community Center, 0020 Eagle County Drive in El Jebel, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Battle Mountain High School, 0151 Miller Ranch Road in Edwards, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Residents can make appointments beginning at 8 a.m. on Monday by clicking here or calling 970-328-9750. If appointments aren't available, it means the clinic is full that day. Appointments are required.
Any person with a permanent mailing or physical address, and who will stay in the area to receive the second dose, in Eagle County can receive their the vaccinations from any of these clinics.
Additional clinics will open when the county gets more supplies.
7:30 a.m. | Colorado unemployment numbers
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) reported that 25,360 regular initial unemployment claims were filed during the week ending on Dec. 26. There were also 19,555 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed for the same week.
Since mid-March, a total of 732,119 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed and a grand total of 984,043 claims, including federal PUA benefits, were filed.
For the week ending Dec. 19, a combined total of 265,507 continued claims were filed from the regular UI (102,851), PUA (86,464), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (76,192) programs.
Wednesday, Dec. 30
Gov. Jared Polis is asking the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to move counties currently on Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial to Level Orange as the number of cases have seen a "sustained decline" and ICU capacity has improved over the past 13 days.
"Throughout this pandemic, we have had to walk a difficult line between the public health crisis and the economic crisis. In reviewing the data today, Colorado has been in a sustained decline for 13 days, and only 73% of ICU beds statewide are in use. This is a direct result of Coloradans stepping up and taking the steps to protect themselves and others. In light of this and based on the data, I'm asking CDPHE to move counties in Red on the dial to Orange, effective Monday, January 4, 2021."
Polis said in a statement the loosening restrictions only apply to those counties currently on Level Red. Polis also urged Coloradans to continue to act with prudence as the year comes to a close.
"To save lives, maybe even your own, it is more important than ever that Coloradans not gather outside their household to celebrate the New Year, and to continue to take the basic steps to protect themselves and others, like wearing masks, only interacting with their own households, and staying 6ft apart from others when in public."
Under Level Orange guidelines, restaurants can open for indoor dining at 25% capacity.
The announcement from Polis comes a day after Colorado became the first state in the U.S. to have a confirmed case f the COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 - a new, more contagious mutation of the coronavirus.
6 p.m. | Coalition to apply for 5 Star program
A coalition of El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Fountain, Manitou Springs, Monument and other non-governments from the area will send their application to the state to enter the 5 Star State Certification Program, which would allow them to reopen restaurants to in-person dining and increase other businesses’ capacity limits despite being in the Safer at Home Level Red in the state’s dial framework.
The coalition said in a news release that is plans to submit the application on Jan. 1 and believes that it could meet state criteria.
“The success of a program of this magnitude hinges on the whole-hearted support from our community coalition,” said Dirk Draper, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. “And this program is critical for our local businesses most impacted by COVID protocols to reopen as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Preschool and elementary school-aged children in Douglas County will return to the classroom on January 5, 2021, according to the latest letter to parents, teachers and staff from district officials.
Center-based programming students at the middle and high school levels will be returning that same day to in-person learning four days a week, the interim superintendent wrote in the letter.
In the letter, Wise said district school leadership will work closely with each principal and all the district’s teachers starting next month to monitor the students’ return “to ensure we can sustain operations, in preparation for the return of middle and high school students.”
“If we stay in the current range, we hope to welcome our middle and high school students back to hybrid learning at the same time … possibly by the end of January,” Wise said.
4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, with the change from Tuesday in parentheses:
330,859 cases (+2,451)
18,502 hospitalized (+272)
64 counties (+0)
2,126,572 people tested (+7,598)
4,368,131 test encounters (+24,722)
4,750 deaths among cases (+63)
3,901 deaths due to COVID-19 (+98)
3,022 outbreaks (+36)
The latest hospital data showed 1,150 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 38 fewer than Tuesday. Tuesday's three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests was 6.6%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
Colorado had administered 82,342 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Wednesday.
2:11 p.m. | Arapahoe County granted variance request to launch 5-Star program
Arapahoe County was granted a variance request Wednesday that will allow businesses to operate with fewer restrictions as long as they meet certain public health guidelines set forth by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), otherwise known as the 5-Star program.
Businesses that are interested can begin applying by tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 31 at arapahoegov.com/fivestar. Inspections are expected to begin on Monday, Jan. 4.
“We’re pleased that our COVID case numbers have decreased enough to enable Arapahoe County to be granted the variance that will allow us to launch the Five-Star program while the County is in the Red Dial Position,” said Nancy N. Sharpe, Arapahoe County Board Chair. “This will provide a consistent method for reopening area businesses in a way that will help them earn more revenue and get their employees back to work, while also helping their customers and our communities control the spread of COVID-19.”
12:47 p.m. | Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser warns Coloradans of COVID-19 vaccine scams
Colorado's attorney general has released an advisory warning Coloradans about potential COVID-19 vaccine scams and vowed that the State will enforce laws prohibiting fraudulent or deceptive sales of fake COVID-19 vaccinations and cures.
“We are committed to ensuring the medical safety and security of all Coloradans,” said Weiser in a prepared statement. “As such, we will take seriously the sale or advertising of fake COVID-19 vaccinations and we will bring legal action against those who engage in such illegal conduct.”
The news release from the AG's office states selling or advertising to sell a fake COVID-19 vaccine or cure, or an appointment to receive a vaccination, is punishable by a civil penalty of up to $20,000 per violation, or $50,000 per violation against an older person.
Weiser provided some tips to help people avoid these scams:
- Do not respond to unsolicited e-mails, text messages, advertisements, or telephone calls offering to sell COVID-19 vaccines or other cures or treatment.
- Do not pay for a COVID-19 vaccine. You will not have to pay for the vaccine itself, although you may be charged a small fee for administration of the vaccine—any offer to “sell” a vaccine is a scam.
- Beware of any attempt to sell you an appointment for the approved vaccine.
- Before responding to communications from a doctor, pharmacy, health department, or other health care practitioner, verify the source of that communication.
- Talk to your doctor to receive accurate information on when a vaccine will be available for you.
- Above all, do not rely on unsubstantiated claims from strangers about COVID-19 vaccine availability.
For more information about how to avoid potential scams, click here.
12:45 p.m. | Anyone 70 and older will get vaccine within weeks
Colorado is expanding its current vaccine distribution plan to include anyone 70 and older, in addition to frontline workers and first responders already being vaccinated, state officials announced Wednesday.
Phase 1B of the state's distribution began Wednesday, though vaccine doses will still be limited based on available supplies. Still, the addition of the 70-and-up age group to the current vaccine distribution plan will be crucial in the widespread inoculation of the most at-risk population.
Polis said the state estimated that 78% of COVID-19 deaths have been among people aged 70 and older. The state plans to distribute free doses of the vaccine to anyone in Phase 1B over the next 4-5 weeks, given the size of the over-70 population in Colorado.
Polis said there has been "some uncertainty and instability" with the federal supply of vaccine doses but that state officials expect enough doses to vaccinate all 70-and-older residents by February.
Protecting older Coloradans "would end the crisis phase" of the pandemic, Polis said, reducing deaths and hospitalizations.
Phase 1B also includes people who work in dental settings, EMS, firefighters, police and correctional workers.
Go here to read our full story on the expanded vaccine distribution plan.
12:10 p.m. | Colorado National Guard member in Elbert County first to have confirmed COVID-19 variant
A day after Colorado officials identified the first known case of COVID-19 variant B.1.1.7 in the United States, local public health officials are continuing to work to identify anybody else who may have been exposed and any other potential cases of the variant.
Dr. Emily Travanty, scientific director with the Laboratory Services Division of the CDPHE, noted a second "highly suspicious" case of B.1.1.7 in the same county, but said the results remain unconfirmed as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Both individuals are Colorado National Guard personnel.
9:45 a.m. | Summit County offering vaccine to 75 and up
Summit County is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents 75 and older, starting Thursday, county officials announced. Residents can register here to receive the vaccine beginning Wednesday.
The county received several hundred more Moderna doses than originally anticipated, Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said in a news release.
"This is truly a holiday gift," Wineland said.
Summit County officials said the CDPHE is now including all residents 75 and older in the Phase 1B3 of the vaccine distribution. Go here for more information about how to receive a vaccine in Summit County.
6:30 a.m. | Extended and new executive orders in Colorado
On Wednesday morning, Gov. Polis announced an extension to an executive order pertaining to juvenile justice and released two new ones: one allowing local public health agencies to reallocate contract dollars for COVID-19-related responses, and another to allow veterinarians to provide telehealth services to pet owners.
The extension to the juvenile justice order will lengthen the temporary suspension of certain regulatory statutes concerning juvenile justice, regional centers, and behavioral health due to the presence of COVID-19.
The new executive order on reallocating contract dollars will authorize the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to reprioritize the use of existing funds will provide flexibility to local public health agencies as they respond to COVID-19 during State Fiscal Year 2020-2021.
Lastly, the new executive order for veterinarians allows them to use telehealth services whenever possible.
Tuesday, Dec. 29
9:45 p.m. | Denver says it is actively pursuing 5 Star certification program
On Tuesday evening, the Colorado Restaurant Association said the City and County of Denver had actively pursued the state's program, and that the application is under development.
9:20 a.m. | Second COVID-19 variant case suspected
Elbert County Commissioner Chris Richardson said there is a second unconfirmed case of the COVID-19 variant in Colorado, ABC News confirmed Tuesday evening. According to CNN, County Health Director Dwayne Smith said the confirmed case and this new suspected instance both involve men who had been working at the Good Samaritan Society assisted living facility in Simla.
4 p.m. | COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to trend downward but positivity rate remains above 5%
Colorado reported another day below 2,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus and saw hospitalizations for COVID-19 slightly increase over the past 24 hours, but the state's positivity rate remains above 5% - which state health officials say is needed to control the spread of the disease. Here are the latest figures from the CPDHE:
328,408 cases (+1,740)
18,230 hospitalized (+268)
64 counties (+0)
2,118,974 people tested (+4,718)
4,343,409 test encounters (+14,153)
4,687 deaths among cases (+56)
3,803 deaths due to COVID-19 (+86)
2,986 outbreaks (+21)
73,867 vaccine doses administered (+6,820)
The latest hospital data showed 1,188 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – 15 more than Monday with 119 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 93% of hospitals reporting. Monday's seven- and three-day average positivity rates in Colorado were 6.29% and 7.07%, respectively. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
Colorado officials have identified the state’s first case involving a COVID-19 variant seen in the United Kingdom and some other countries in recent weeks, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.
The variant, B.1.1.7, was identified in a man in his 20s who is currently isolating in Elbert County. The man had no travel history and public health officials have so far not identified any close contacts of his, though the investigation is ongoing.
The state said its lab was the first in the country to identify the new variant. A PCR test done on the sample did not find a so-called “S gene” signal, which officials say is a signature for the variant of COVID-19.
Scientists then sequenced the genome from the man in Elbert County’s sample and found eight mutations that the Colorado Department of Health and Environment say are specific to the variant’s signature spike protein.
“The fact that Colorado has detected this virant first in the nation is a testament to the sophistication of Colorado's response and the talent of CDPHE's scientist and lab operations,” said CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan in a statement Tuesday. “We are currently using all the tools available to protect public health and mitigate the spread of this variant.”
The variant has been identified in countries across the globe, but scientists are still trying to figure out whether it is truly more severe than prior strains of COVID-19 and whether or not it is more contagious, which initial research has suggested.
There have been restrictions surrounding travel from the U.K. to other countries put in place in recent weeks, including a testing requirement for people traveling to the United States and all-out bans on air travel from the U.K. to other countries.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that scientists were “intensively” studying the variant and its effects.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Ryan, the public health department executive director, are expected to further discuss the variant’s arrival in Colorado in a news conference Wednesday morning.
“There is a lot we don’t know about this new COVID-19 variant, but scientists in the United Kingdom are warning the world that it is significantly more contagious. The health and safety of Coloradans is our top priority and we will closely monitor this case, as well as all COVID-19 indicators, very closely. We are working to prevent spread and contain the virus at all levels,” the governor said in a statement.
1:30 p.m. | Castle Rock testing center opening
A community COVID-19 testing site will open Jan. 2 at the Castle Rock Fairgrounds, 500 Fairgrounds Drive, in Castle Rock. Testing will be free at the site, though residents are encouraged to register ahead of time to reduce waiting times.
You can register to be tested here.
The site will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here's a map of other community testing sites across Colorado.
Monday, Dec. 28
4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19, vaccine numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus and vaccine numbers for Colorado, with the change from Sunday in parentheses:
326,668 cases (+1,650)
17,962 hospitalized (+50)
64 counties (+0)
2,114,256 people tested (+6,480)
4,328,896 test encounters (+22,325)
4,631 deaths among cases (+21)
3,717 deaths due to COVID-19 (+112)
2,965 outbreaks (+6)
67,047 vaccine doses administered (+1,765)
The latest hospital data showed 1,186 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, the same as Sunday. It was unclear if the data had been updated as of 4 p.m. Sunday's three-day average positivity rate among COVID-19 tests was 6.59%. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.
Check back for updates.
Click here for the COVID-19 live blog from Dec. 21-Dec. 27, 2020.