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Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates for Sept. 21-Sept. 27, 2020

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Posted at 10:44 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:25:37-04

More than 68,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Colorado since the virus was first detected in March.

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:

Sunday, Sept. 27

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers

69,079 cases (+569)
7,523 hospitalized (+3)
64 counties (+0)
888,539 tested (+10,518)
1,313,403 test encounters (+17,748)
2,041 deaths among cases (+1)
1,940 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
736 outbreaks (+0)

Sunday's hospital data showed 263 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Saturday, Sept. 26

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers

68,510 cases (+584)
7,520 hospitalized (+31)
64 counties (+0)
878,021 tested (+10,078)
1,295,655 test encounters (+18,042)
2,040 deaths among cases (+3)
1,940 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
736 outbreaks (+8)

Saturday's hospital data showed 285 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients.

Friday, Sept. 25

5:04 p.m. | Boulder bans sale of alcohol at bars, restaurants and clubs after 10 p.m.

The City of Boulder has issued an emergency public health order banning the sale of alcohol at restaurants, bars and clubs after 10 p.m. The order goes into effect this evening and will last through Oct. 8 at noon, according to city officials.

The emergency public health order comes as the city has seen a sharp increase in cases of the novel coronavirus for nearly three weeks across the county, with the majority of those cases among people aged 18-22.

"Alcohol can play a big part in social gatherings,” said Boulder City Manager Jane Brautigam in a statement. “We are hoping this order will help curb the current case increase we are seeing among younger members of the community. We understand that this order may be frustrating for bars and restaurants that sell alcohol, but the intent is to prevent the city from reverting to Safer at Home Level 3, which would place a further burden on local businesses.”

Click here to read the full story.

4:12 p.m. | Latest Colorado coronavirus data

Here were the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Friday, with the change from Thursday in parentheses:

67,926 cases (+709)
7,479 hospitalized (+25)
64 counties (+0
867,943 people tested (+9,835)
1,277,613 test encounters (+16,752)
2,037 deaths among cases (+4)
1,940 deaths due to COVID-19 (+5)
728 outbreaks (+4)

Friday's hospital data showed 246 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients, with 79% of facilities reporting data. Sunday's three-day positivity rate was 3.35%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of Sept. 25, 2020

1:10 p.m. | CSU detects 'significantly high' COVID-19 levels in two residence halls' wastewater

Students at Colorado State University's Braiden Hall and Summit Hall were told on Thursday that the school had detected high levels of COVID-19 in the wastewater from those halls.

The residence halls are now under mandatory quarantine and students are not permitted to leave their residence halls. The quarantine will remain in place until all positive cases and close contacts have been identified and the wastewater results return to normal, CSU said.

On Saturday, the Pandemic Preparedness Team will set up tents for testing outside of the residence hall. Testing is mandatory.

Read the story here.

Thursday, Sept. 24

6:41 p.m. | Colorado releases new guidance on temporary indoor vs. outdoor settings as cooler weather approaches

Though Denver reached record-breaking high temperatures again Thursday, Colorado officials, as promised, are preparing for the cooler fall and winter weather and for how restaurants can continue to operate expanded seating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released guidance Thursday afternoon for restaurants and event spaces to see what will constitute indoor and outdoor spaces as colder weather approaches and outdoor dining and events become more difficult to host.

The guidance for what will be allowed will be based on a local community’s level on the state’s dial system that determines which level of COVID-19 response said community is at.

It classifies various types of structures as indoor or outdoor based on the type of walls it has and where they are located, which determines how well-ventilated the area is. You can see the differences in the table below or by clicking here.

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Depending on what type of temporary structure a business is using, they would be able to have different capacities indoors. All levels except for Stay at Home on the state’s dial response framework will be allowed to have unlimited outdoor capacity in accordance with local zoning measures if parties can remain 6 feet apart.

For communities in the Protect Our Neighbors phase, up to 500 people or 50% capacity would be allowed in indoor settings. That decreases to up to 175 people or 50% capacity for Safer at Home Level 1; to 50 people or 50% capacity for communities in Safer at Home Level 2; and up to 50 people or 25% capacity for Safer at Home Level 3.

Click here to read the full story.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here were the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with the change from Wednesday in parentheses:

67,217 cases (+548)
7,454 hospitalized (+10)
64 counties (+1)
858,108 tested (+9,902)
1,260,861 test encounters (+15,116)
2,033 deaths among cases (+3)
1,935 deaths due to COVID-19 (+9)
724 outbreaks (+7)

Thursday's hospital data showed 258 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or suspected COVID-19 patients, one fewer than Wednesday, with 84% of facilities reporting data. Wednesday's three-day positivity rate was 3.84% rate. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of Sept. 24, 2020

11:30 a.m. | Rapids announce dates for fans to return to games

The Colorado Rapids soccer team — whose plan to have a limited number of fans at games this season was approved last week — announced their upcoming games where fans will be allowed:

  • Wednesday, October 7, at 7 p.m. MT — LAFC
  • Saturday, October 10, at 5 p.m. MT — LA Galaxy
  • Sunday, October 18, at 7 p.m. MT — Real Salt Lake
  • Sunday, November 1, at 7 p.m. MT — Seattle Sounders FC

Dick's Sporting Goods Park will allow up to 1,165 fans, or 6% of the stadium's capacity, adhering to protocols outlined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All fans will be required to wear masks.

7:30 a.m. | About 5,000 unemployment claims filed last week in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported that 5,007 regular initial unemployment claims were filed during the week ending Sept. 19.

There were also 1,899 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims filed for the same week.

Since mid-March, a total of 558,625 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed. A grand total of 718,666 claims, including federal PUA benefits, were filed.

For the week ending Sept. 12, a combined total of 231,674 continued claims were filed, including 150,665 from regular UI, 59,912 from PUA, and 21,097 from Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

6:45 a.m. | Another 870,000 Americans file new unemployment claims

New US jobless claims reach 870,000 last week as layoffs remain elevated 6 months after the coronavirus pandemic struck the economy. The number of people seeking unemployment benefits each week is still high, and the economy has recovered only about half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic.

Read more here.

Wednesday, Sept. 23

4 p.m. | More than 600 new cases of COVID-19 reported in 24 hours

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) reported more than 600 new cases of the novel coronavirus from Tuesday into Wednesday as the positivity rate over the past three days inched closer to 4%.

66,669 cases (+616)
7,444 hospitalized (+28)
63 counties (+0)
848,906 people tested (+8,454)
1,245,745 test encounters (+13,457)
2,030 deaths among cases (+5)
1,926 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
717 outbreaks (+8)

The latest hospital data shows 259 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – 29 more than Tuesday with 26 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 85% of state hospitals reporting. Tuesday’s 3-day moving average positivity rate was 3.81%. The state’s target is to remain below 5%.

Click here to explore the latest COVID-19 case data for Colorado.

3:45 p.m. | COVID-19 outbreak at CU Boulder now the largest in Colorado, state data says

Over 1,200 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to the latest outbreak data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), making it the largest outbreak in the state so far.

Wednesday's outbreak data showed 1,198 lab-confirmed positive cases among students, and 12 among staff. A total of 104 are suspected but have not been confirmed by a lab.

The announcement comes a day after Gov. Jared Polis urged Coloradans to continue to wear masks, avoid large gatherings and keep six feet of social distancing. During the news conference Tuesday, the CDPHE said they were seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases across all age groups - not just college-aged adults.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, Sept. 22

4:26 p.m. | Latest Colorado COVID-19 data

Here is the latest data on COVID-19 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

66,053 cases (+654)
7,416 hospitalized (+43)
63 counties (+0)
840,452 people tested (+6,175)
1,232,288 test encounters (+13,151)
2,025 deaths among cases (+7)
1,926 deaths due to COVID-19 (+12)
709 outbreaks (+8)

The latest hospital data showed 230 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or patients under investigation, nine fewer than Monday, with 86% of facilities reporting data. Twenty-six patients have been discharged or transferred in the last 24 hours. Colorado's three-day positivity rate Sunday was 3.32%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

3:56 p.m. | Colorado officials say recent increase in COVID-19 cases goes beyond college students

Colorado is again seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases that caused officials to sound another alarm Tuesday, saying the new cases were seen across all age groups and were not limited to the spike involving college-aged adults.

While Colorado has seen a large spike in cases among 18-25-year-olds over the last two weeks, namely at CU Boulder and a few other universities, State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said there was also “concerning” increases among other age groups that are more vulnerable to more-severe bouts with the virus.

“Even among other age groups, we’re seeing rapid acceleration of the virus,” Herlihy said.

Among age groups excluding the 18-25 range, Colorado saw a 45% increase in positive tests week-over-week, she said. Cases among the 18-25 age group increased by 74% last week, putting the state average at 54%.

She and Gov. Jared Polis said that the increases in cases – 12 of the last 14 days have seen increasing case numbers in the state – were similar to the spike seen after the July 4 holiday but that they were still investigating the exact cause and if the Labor Day holiday gatherings were attributable.

But Polis also said that it was possible that Coloradans had again reduced their caution in wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart and not attending large gatherings.

“Now is not the time to do that,” he said, saying that he hoped Colorado was past the halfway point in its battle with the virus and “in the third quarter here” but that it was again time to refocus efforts on stopping the spread.

As of Monday, more than 65,000 Coloradans had tested positive for the virus since its onset, more than 1,900 people have died due to COVID-19, and there were 239 hospital beds in use by suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.

On Monday, CU Boulder announced it was moving to fully remote classes for at least the next two weeks as cases continue to spread there and have grown by the hundreds over the past week-and-a-half.

Colorado is now seeing new-case levels around the same level that were seen in July. But combined with increased testing for this latest wave, the three-day moving average positivity rate was 3.43% on Monday, compared to rates in the 5-6% range in July.

Still, Herlihy said, the increasing positivity rate is “an indicator of a true increase in disease transmission in the state” and said that Colorado public health officials would be watching the lagging hospitalization indicator closely.

Click here to read the full story.

12:19 p.m. | White House report on Colorado COVID-19 cases released

The weekly White House Coronavirus Task Force report on Colorado, obtained by ABC News, shows a sharp uptick in cases last week, which stems primarily from institutions of higher education – data already reflected in reports prepared daily by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Boulder County -- site of University of Colorado Boulder -- reported the largest number of cases last week, according to the report.

CU Boulder has had a total of 765 positive cases of COVID-19 since students returned to campus in August, and those numbers have been on the rise this month. Since Sept. 11, 546 new cases have been identified, according to CU Boulder data as of Friday.

The school is moving to online-only classes for at least two weeks, beginning Wednesday, due to the rise in cases on campus.

Monday, Sept. 21

8:25 p.m. | NFL fines Vic Fangio $100K for not wearing mask during Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers

The NFL showed its teeth with its policy on face coverings in the bench area Monday night, fining three teams more $1 million for violations.

According to multiple reports, including The Washington Post, the Broncos' Vic Fangio was docked $100,000 and the team fined $250K for the coach not wearing his mask during Sunday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Following the opening week, the NFL warned teams and coaches about the mask-wearing protocols. Disciplinary action was promised for violators.

Read the full story here.

4:15 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here were the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Monday, with the change from Sunday in parentheses:

65,399 cases (+542)
7,373 hospitalized (+10)
63 counties (+0)
834,277 people tested (+6,169)
1,219,137 test encounters (+10,712)
2,018 deaths among cases (+4)
1,914 deaths due to COVID-19 (+1)
701 outbreaks (+4)

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of Sept. 21, 2020

The latest hospital data showed 239 beds in use by COVID-19 patients or patients under investigation, the same as Sunday, with 79% of facilities reporting data. Fifteen patients have been discharged or transferred in the last 24 hours. Colorado's three-day positivity rate Sunday was 3.43%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

4 p.m. | New cases in Cherry Creek School District

The Cherry Creek School District has announced two new positive cases, at Cherry Creek High School and Homestead Elementary.

The Cherry Creek High student was last at school Sept. 15. The Homestead student was last at school Sept. 11.

Last week, Cherry Creek officials notified parents that several senior students at Cherry Creek High tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the school's "A" cohort to quarantine through Wednesday of this week.

The large district has had a total of 20 students and four staffers test positive for COVID-19.

10:42 a.m. | CU Boulder moving to remote classes for two weeks amid rising COVID-19 cases

The University of Colorado Boulder is moving to online-only classes for at least two weeks, beginning Wednesday, amid a rise in COVID-19 cases on campus, officials announced Monday.

All undergraduate, graduate and law classes will be held remotely under the change in format.

Philip DiStefano, CU Boulder chancellor, said in a statement Monday that the move was "in the immediate interest" of the campus community's health. Students are being asked to remain in university housing, and employees will work remotely, if possible.

"At the moment, this is a temporary situation, but it could become permanent if we continue to disregard public health guidelines," DiStefano said. "During this period, enforcement policies will continue, including suspension for repeat public health guidelines violators. We have the power to control our own destiny. If we all work together, I am hopeful we can return to campus for learning and discovery in the ways we all desire. The choice is ours."

The university has struggled this month to contain COVID-19 among students, with university officials last week imploring students to avoid gatherings on and off campus. The university last week also issued a 14-day quarantine for all students, requiring students to avoid interacting with each other, except for essential purposes, such as attending classes.

CU Boulder has had a total of 765 positive cases of COVID-19 since students returned to campus in August, and those numbers have been on the rise this month. Since Sept. 11, 546 new cases have been identified, according to CU Boulder data as of Friday.

The number of isolation spaces being used on campus has also been on the rise, with 251 spaces, or 68% of available space, in use as of Friday.

Click here to read the full story.

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Click here for the COVID-19 blog from Sept. 14-20, 2020.