Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Feb. 22-Feb. 28 2021

Posted at 5:21 AM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 19:49:35-05

More than 420,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and 23,100 have been hospitalized as of Sunday 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.

Latest updates:

Friday, Feb. 26

4 p.m. | Colorado reports "significant increase" of new COVID-19 cases Friday, as hospitalizations decrease at a slower pace

Colorado reported 1,521 new cases of the novel coronavirus Friday, in what Gov. Polis called "a significant increase from where we’ve been in last few days." The number of hospitalizations continues to decline, but trends show the pace is beginning to plateau, according to the latest data from the CDPHE.

426,198 cases (+1,521)
23,438 hospitalized (+53)
64 counties (+0)
2,565,792 people tested (+7,357)
6,159,303 test encounters (+39,957)
5,940 deaths among cases (+15)
5,874 deaths due to COVID-19 (+14)
3,882 outbreaks (+12)

The latest hospital data showed 409 beds in use by confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients, three fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.45% on Thursday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 856,874 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 439,712 people had received two doses.

2:27 p.m. | Middle and high school kids in Adams 12 Five Star Schools to return to four days of in-person learning by the end of March

Kids in grades 6-12 in the Adams 12 Five Star Schools district who have been in hybrid learning will be able to return to the classroom by the end of March.

The superintendent, in a letter to parents, teachers and staff, said seniors and identified special population students will begin four-days per week in-person learning on Monday, March 8. All other secondary students, those in grades 6-11, will begin four-day in-person learning after spring break, on March 29 or March 30 - depending on each school's calendar.

Wednesday will remain asynchronous days for all secondary students, regardless of learning mode, "in an effort to provide additional time for teachers to prepare for classes that have students in two learning models (simultaneous remote and in-person), and to spend time remotely with smaller groups of students who need additional support."

The superintendent said the decision was made due to the continued declined in new cases of COVID-19 across the county, as well as the significant progress that has been made to get staff vaccinated, and enhanced health and safety measures at schools.

1:07 p.m. | Jeffco Public Schools to bring grades 6-12 back to in-person learning by April 5

Jeffco Public Schools will bring students in grades 6-12 back to in-person learning with a phased approach that will have students back in classrooms full time by April 5, the district announced Friday.

On March 15, Jeffco will start bringing those students back to classrooms based on each school’s Multi-Tiered System of Supports process, the district said, along with considerations for various students’ needs. The district said each school will be contacting families based on their prioritization.

Starting April 5, the district will end its hybrid model and move to in-person learning for middle school and high school students Monday through Thursday unless a student is on a 100% remote model, which they will stick with, the district said.

In March, the district said that schools will continue to keep 6 feet of distance between people and require everyone to wear masks and undergo health screenings before coming to school.

But by April, the district says it believes the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will relax the social distancing requirement.

Jeffco Public Schools said the students will attend classes Monday through Thursday and that Friday will be an asynchronous learning day for middle and high school students to meet with teachers, catch up on work and meet with other students.

The district is the latest in the metro area to announce a return to in-person learning for middle and high school students in the coming weeks. Littleton Schools plan to return that group of students on March 15, while the Poudre School District and Thompson School District announced those students would return March 22. The Douglas County School Board will vote next week whether to return secondary students to in-person learning on March 22.

Jeffco Public Schools have been mulling the decision for weeks, but the process has ramped up with the county moving to Level Blue on the state’s COVID-19 response dial.

Younger students in Pre-K-5 classes returned in-person in January, and the district moved grades 6-12 back to a hybrid model shortly afterward.

District principals gathered feedback from staff and school families over the past several weeks on what the next steps should be and met with the superintendent and other officials earlier this week.

“Our principals provided a consensus on a full return to 100% in-person on April 5. They also identified issues in implementing a return to in-person learning, and gave me their assurance that they had consulted with their stakeholders, including school staff and families,” said Interim Superintendent Kristopher Schuh. “This information gathering and feedback process has been extensive and deliberate. We have come to a consensus decision that April 5 is the correct date for a full return of our secondary schools to 100% in-person learning.”

Schuh said in the letter to district families and staff that he knows “not everyone will agree with the decisions made,” which was part of the reason to continue the remote-only classes for those students through the rest of this schoolyear and the next, if students so choose.

He said that “nearly all” staff have been invited to get their first vaccine dose and that he believed most teachers and staff who interact with students will be able to be fully vaccinated by the end of March.

But Schuh also warned that there is still virus spread ongoing in the community and that quarantines and outbreaks were still possible, which could lead to a move back to remote learning if buildings need to be cleaned.

“In closing, I know this has been a challenging and unsettling time for everyone. No one has escaped the uncertainty, worry, health concerns, and additional workload this pandemic has put upon us,” Schuh added in his letter. “I do believe we are turning a big corner and seeing hope become reality. The increased availability of the vaccine, the reduction of community spread and hospitalizations, and the slow, but progressive opportunities of being together, will enable us to enjoy life moments which we have so desperately missed over the past year.

Click here to read the full story.

10:55 a.m. | Colorado Rockies allowed 12,500 fans in stands for Opening Day vs. Dodgers

The Colorado Rockies will be allowed to host 12,500 fans starting on Opening Day after the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment granted a variance to the organization.

That means the Rockies will be able to fill 25% of the capacity of Coors Field. The team said in a statement it has already implemented all requirements from the CDPHE, CDC and Major League Baseball to open with fans in the stands this season.

“The Rockies and CDPHE will continue to monitor the conditions, with the hope of safely adding to the capacity number in the future,” the Rockies said in a statement.

The CDPHE confirmed Thursday night that it had approved the variance “pending a few adjustments” but did not release those parameters or the variance.

Click here to read the full story.

10:03 a.m. | Latest COVID-19 modeling data shows 1 in 194 Coloradans are infectious, transmission control has dropped

The latest COVID-19 modeling data from the state and the Colorado School of Public Health shows transmission control of the novel coronavirus has dropped from 83% to 76% over the last week, with 1 in 194 people in Colorado currently infectious.

The state says if Colorado remains on the current trajectory state-wide, hospital demand and cases will continue to decline, and it may take over a month before hospital demand and infection prevalence reach levels comparable to last summer, according to the latest modeling data.

But if the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the U.K., spreads rapidly in Colorado and transmission control lessens over the short-term to 60%, "we could see another peak in hospital demand" and ICU capacity could be exceeded and approach hospital capacity.

However, the modeling data states that increased vaccine distribution and intake would increase the level of protection should there be a surge of the B.1.1.7 variant.

6 a.m. | Jefferson County moves to Level Blue

Jefferson County is now in Level Blue of the state's COVID-19 dial.

This shift comes after the county's one-week incidence rate and test positivity rates for COVID-19 fell into the designated metrics for this lower level of restrictions. The trend was sustained for one full week.

5:47 a.m. | Thompson School District going back to all in-person

The school district announced Friday that middle and high school students will return to a full five-day, in-person schedule beginning Monday, March 22. This does not impact students enrolled in Thompson Connect Online.

5:45 a.m. | PSD students return to full in-person learning

Poudre School District announced its middle and high school students will join pre-K through fifth graders by moving to full-time, in-person learning. This will begin on Monday, March 22.

“Our goal has been to get students back to in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so. We’ve worked closely with our school districts throughout this pandemic and have confidence that their COVID-19 protocols prioritize the health and safety of the students and staff,” said Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment's public health director.

He said he supports PSD's decision.

Thursday, Feb. 25

11:10 p.m. | Counties inching closer to state goal of 70% vaccination of 70 and up by end of February

Tri-County Health Department says Douglas County has over 70% of 70 and older vaccinated with their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, and more counties are inching closer to the state's goal.

Tri-County, on average, has 61.8% of residents 70 and older vaccinated.

Denver Public Health says 63.1% of residents 70 and up have received their first dose, and 37.2% have received their second dose.

On Tuesday, Jefferson County announced they had also reached the state's goal of vaccinating 70% of residents 70 and older by the end the month.

10:18 p.m. | Jeffco Schools to offer 100% remote option for 2021-2022 school year

Jefferson County Public schools announced an option for 100% remote learning for families in the 2021-2022 school year.

Enrollment for the Jeffco Remote Learning Program (JRPL) will open March 2-26. Students who enroll in JRLP will still be considered a student at their school of choice.

9:55 p.m. | Douglas County School District plans for full, in-person learning after spring break

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Douglas County School District (DCSD) plans to return students to full, in-person learning after spring break.

In a message, Corey Wise, the interim superintendent, said the number of employees who have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or have an appointment, have exceeded their expectations.

DCSD elementary students already returned to full, in-person learning on Jan. 5. Middle and high school students began an enhanced hybrid learning model in early February.

The next step is for recommendations to be presented at the DCSD Board of Education meeting on March 2 for a full return to in-person learning beginning Monday, March 22, which marks the start of the fourth quarter.

Current health and safety protocols will remain in place, which includes wearing face coverings, hand washing, increased ventilation, seating charts to decrease quarantines, use of alternate and outdoor spaces and social distancing where feasible. Students currently enrolled in eLearning would remain in that learning model through the end of the school year.

Updates on official time frames and next steps will follow the Board of Education meeting on March 2, which can be watched on the DCSD YouTube channel.

4:10 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with the change from Wednesday in parentheses:

424,677 cases (+1,119)
23,385 hospitalized (+36)
64 counties (+0)
2,558,435 people tested (+7,962)
6,119,346 test encounters (+39,073)
5,925 deaths among cases (+8)
5,860 deaths due to COVID-19 (+23)
3,870 outbreaks (+16)

The latest hospital data showed 412 beds in use by confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients, 15 less than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.57% on Wednesday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 839,310 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 423,237 people had received two doses.

3:30 p.m. | More vaccine plans for Denver-area hospitals

National Jewish Health and Kaiser Permanente on Thursday announce vaccine events in the coming days.

Kaiser plans to vaccinate 18,000 people through Monday, including 8,000 this weekend. Most of those doses will be administered to 70-and-older Coloradans, along with educators and child-care workers at 11 Kaiser locations across the Front Range.

National Jewish plans to administer more than 3,200 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and nearly 1,000 second doses at three vaccine events over the weekend. While most appointments are booked, some appointments are still available for the event Saturday at National Jewish Health. Signup information is here.

12:05 p.m. | Thornton Fire hosts COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those 70 and up

The Thornton Fire Department, along with the Adams 12 Five Star School District, is hosting a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for those aged 70 and up on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Adams 12 Five Star School District Building, located at 1500 E 128th Ave., in Thornton.

Appointments are required in order to get vaccinated at this event, and can be made at

Individuals who are not 70 years and older or arrive without pre-registering will be turned away.

11:36 a.m. | Jefferson County moving to Level Blue: Cautious, on the state's COVID-19 dial effective Friday at 6 a.m.

Jefferson County will move to Level Blue: Cautious, on the state's COVID-19 dial effective Friday at 6 a.m. after the county reported 531 cases of COVID-19, or 91.1 cases per 100,000 residents from Feb. 17-23.

The move will allow the county to ease capacity restrictions on restaurants, gyms as well as indoor events up to 175 people. Bars remained closed, however, and personal gatherings remain limited to ten people from no more than two households. For a full list of changes, click here.

Jefferson County Public Health reminds residents to continue to follow guidance on disease prevention steps, like wearing a mask, staying home when possible, keeping a 6-foot distance, washing hands often, avoiding large gatherings, getting tested for COVID if you experience symptoms, and getting the vaccine when eligible.

“The virus is still out there and we still need to take steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. We should look at Level Blue not as a ‘free for all,’ but rather a step in the right direction," said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director of JCPH.

9:58 a.m. | Jefferson County COVID-19 testing sites closed today due to weather

All Jefferson County Public Health COVID-19 testing sites are closed today due to weather. For the latest info. on these sites, click here.

7:30 a.m. | Colorado unemployment

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported that an estimated 14,977 regular initial unemployment claims were filed during the week that ended on Feb. 20.

Since mid-March 2020, a total of about 832,982 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed. There were also 8,014 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims filed for the week ending Feb. 20. The CDLE noted that PUA initial claim numbers for last week include reopened claims related to Phase 1 claimants plus new and reopened claims tied to the Phase 2 rollout.

For the week ending Feb. 13, a combined total of 186,575 continued claims were filed from the regular UI (71,617), PUA (76,330), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) (38,628) programs, the CDLE reported.

The CDLE estimates those continued claims were filed by approximately 118,802 individuals (64,723 for regular UI; 32,427 for PUA, and 21,652 for PEUC).

Wednesday, Feb. 24

10:12 p.m. | Adams County Sheriff's Office HQ delaying opening Thursday

Adams County Sheriff Reigenborn announced the Sheriff's Office HQ will delay opening until 10 a.m. Thursday due to inclement weather.

The vaccination clinic at the Government Center will open at 8:30 a.m.

8:30 p.m. | Some Denver COVID-19 testing centers will open late Thursday due to weather

The City and County of Denver said Wednesday multiple testing locations will open later Thursday due to winter weather.

All Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) testing locations will open at 12 p.m. Feb. 25, which includes Pacho Sanchez, GVR Pool, Denver DHS East and Ruby Hill.

To find testing locations, visit here.

4:03 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the change from Tuesday in parentheses:

423,558 cases (+1,168)
23,349 hospitalizations (+56)
64 counties
2,550,473 people tested (+7,918)
6,080,273 test encounters (+36,690)
5,917 deaths among cases (+10)
5,837 deaths due to COVID-19 (+35)
3,854 outbreaks (+21)

The latest hospital data showed 427 beds in use by COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.62% on Tuesday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 824,298 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 411,107 people had received two doses.

2:30 p.m. | Littleton Schools returning to in-person

Littleton Public Schools will return to full-time in-person learning on March 15, according to an email sent by the district to families.

"We’ve heard from students, parents and staff that a return to a more normal in-person school experience every day would be the very best thing we could do for our community’s children," the email said.

Elementary students have been going to in-person learning full-time, while secondary students have been on a hybrid model.

The district pointed to improving COVID-19 data and more school employees being able to receive the vaccine.

1:55 p.m. | Colorado to expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations

State officials in Colorado have said additional frontline workers and people with multiple chronic health conditions could become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines starting late next week.

The Denver Post reported Tuesday that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment confirmed the state is expecting to move into the next phase of its vaccination plan on or around March 5 but did not provide details on when everyone in the phase would be eligible.

The new phase will encompass frontline workers across multiple industries, including the U.S. Postal Service, grocery stores and public transportation.

It would also expand to people with two or more high-risk health conditions, including cancer, diabetes and Down syndrome.

10:30 a.m. | CU Boulder announces updates for summer and fall semesters

CU Boulder announced Wednesday that it will offer a combination of in-person, hybrid in-person, and remote courses for the summer semester.

In addition, campus events and activities will increase during the summer term as much as public health guidelines allow, the school said.

The school will announce campus housing options for the summer in April.

Regarding the fall semester, CU Boulder said it is planning a more comprehensive on-campus experience. Based on current COVID-19 projections, most courses should be able to be in-person. Students will have increased access to campus dining options, amenities and facilities and social activities.

Campus leaders will provide more details on these plans on or before March 24.

8:45 a.m. | BVSD's plan to return to in-person learning

Under Boulder Valley School District's current plan, secondary students will move to Phase 4 (in-person learning) four days a week beginning on March 30, following spring break. BVSD will move to a 5-day school schedule in August.

8:40 a.m. | UFCW Local 7 secures vaccine distribution site at JBS meat processing plant in Greeley

On Wednesday, UFCW Local 7 announced essential workers at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley will have access to on-site COVID-19 vaccines in early March.

On March 5 and 6, 3,000 UFCW Local 7 members and thousands of other nonunion JBS workers can get the vaccine outside of the JBS Greeley plant.

Kim Cordova, president of UFCW Local 7, said these employees help ensure that the nation's food supply never falters.

"Too many lives have been lost at JBS Greeley because of COVID-19. The Union has never stopped fighting for each and every one of them because we recognize them for what they are — essential," Cordova said. "Together, they have been on the front lines since day one and now they will finally have the opportunity to access the vaccine--a critical step to immunize themselves against this deadly virus."

Six members of the Local 7 JBS have died of COVID-19 since March 2020.

“Even after vaccination, it will be critical that JBS implement proper safety protocols to protect their workers who are still at high risk of contracting the virus," Cordova said. "Local 7 continues to call on JBS to slow down line speeds to allow for proper social distancing, provide adequate PPE, end the ‘work-while-sick’ culture, and provide accessible and affordable health care.”

7:40 a.m. | Polis applauds FDA report on Johnson & Johnson

An FDA report released today indicates that Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective, setting the stage for its potential approval and distribution in the coming days. Read more here.

Gov. Jared Polis applauded the announcement and released the following statement: “I’m thrilled that a third safe and highly effective vaccine will soon arrive in Colorado. Having a vaccine that only requires one dose will help us move more quickly to end the pandemic, and I encourage the federal government to not only approve, but ramp up supply as quickly as possible. We are ready to use many more vaccine doses than we are currently receiving each week.”

7 a.m. | Did the pandemic leave you without a job?

Colorado's Workforce Centers and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment are holding a statewide virtual job fair today. Here's how to register.

Tuesday, Feb. 23

7:47 p.m. | Clear Creek County OEM reschedules 80 second dose vaccinations due to shipping delay

Clear Creek County Office of Emergency Management says they had to reschedule 80 COVID-19 vaccinations because of shipping delays caused by last week’s winter weather.

Clear Creek County OEM said they received no vaccine shipment this week. They’ve been in contact with the 80 people scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine on Feb. 24 to reschedule their appointments for March 3.

Clear Creek OEM said they had not received a shipping notification as of 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says they expect to receive all doses ordered for last week by Feb. 24, which includes 100 delayed doses of Moderna for Clear Creek.

CDPHE said individuals should receive their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days after the first dose, and the second dose of Moderna vaccines should be given 28 days after the first dose. If it isn’t possible to get the second dose on the right day, the second dose can be given up to four days early, or as late 42 days after the first dose, according to CDPHE.

7:25 p.m. | Jeffco reaches state goal to vaccinate 70% of residents 70 and up

Jefferson County has vaccinated 70% of their residents 70 and older by the end of a February, a goal set forth by the state in January.

According to Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), 44,843 Jeffco residents 70 and up have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Thirty-four percent have received both doses.

Jeffco has the largest population of residents 70 and older, with about 64,000 residents in the age group, according to JCPH.

“The older adult population in Jeffco has been severely affected by this virus and we are so grateful that the vaccine is now available to provide much needed protection,” said Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director at JCPH.

JCPH says even with hitting the milestone, their focus remains on getting the rest of their 70 and older residents vaccinated, as well as pushing forward to vaccinate other high risk groups.

JCPH encourages older adults who haven’t been able to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine to follow the below tips:

  • Sign up directly with a local vaccine provider. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory have also created an appointment search tool.
  • Call Benefits in Action at (720) 221-8354 for assistance with registering for a vaccine.
  • Check your email, voicemail and/or text messages often if you are on a waitlist so you don’t lose your spot in line.

JCPH also reminds residents they can get vaccinated in any city or county, the vaccine is free, you do not need to be a U.S. citizen or provide proof of citizenship and you should not be asked to provide ID. You may be asked to verify your age or health care worker/first responder status.

7:05 p.m. | Declining COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations allow state to partially deactivate crisis standard of care plan

The state deactivated Colorado’s Crisis Standard of Care (CSC) Plan for health care staffing and emergency medical services on Feb. 11 in response to declining cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations.

Crisis standards of care are recommendations for how the medical community should allocate resources, like ventilators and intensive care unit beds, when patient needs exceed available resources.

The crisis standards of care for PPE remains active, which allows health care providers to extend the use of or reuse some PPE. It also allows for the use of alternative equipment to provide some protection from disease transmission when supplies are scarce.

6:57 p.m. | Walmart to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Aurora

Beginning Friday, Walmart will host a COVID-19 community vaccine event.

The clinic will take place at the Walmart Garden Center at 3301 Tower Road in Aurora. Walmart anticipates the events will continue over the next several weeks as allocation allows.

Vaccines will be available to those who met the current phase of vaccine eligibility of 65 and up. Patients can schedule a vaccine appointment here.

Walmart will administer Pfizer vaccines through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, with the change from Monday in parentheses:

422,390 cases (+1,096)
23,293 hospitalizations (+110)
64 counties
2,542,555 people tested (+4,854)
6,043,583 test encounters (+17,107)
5,907 deaths among cases (+14)
5,802 deaths due to COVID-19 (+79)
3,833 outbreaks (+16)

The latest hospital data showed 433 beds in use by COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.66% on Monday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 811,926 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 398,795 people had received two doses.

Monday, Feb. 22

4:15 p.m. | Broomfield moves to Level Blue: Cautious on state's COVID-19 dial

The City and County of Broomfield moved to Level Blue: Cautious on the state's COVID-19 dial Monday, which allows up to 175 people indoors at restaurants as well as gyms and a last call for alcohol at midnight. Bars remained closed, however, and personal gatherings remain limited to ten people from no more than two households.

Here are some of the changes residents can expect to see at city buildings.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Monday, with the change from Sunday in parentheses:

421,294 cases (+680)
23,183 hospitalizations (+14)
64 counties
2,537,701 people tested (+4,430)
6,026,476 test encounters (+15,137)
5,893 deaths among cases (+1)
5,723 deaths due to COVID-19 (+4)
3,817 outbreaks (+11)

The latest hospital data showed 433 beds in use by COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day positivity rate was 3.60% on Sunday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 801,329 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 388,490 people had received two doses.

GRAPH: COVID-19 numbers as of February 22, 2021

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Feb. 15-Feb. 21, 2021.