The total number of Coloradans who have recovered from the novel coronavirus remains unknown — since many never seek or need medical attention — but of the people who have been hospitalized, we're starting to see stories of hope.
There's the story of Ines Santa Cruz, 55, of Aurora. She tested positive for COVID-19 and was so sick she was put into a medically induced coma for 10 days. She wasn't expected to survive, but did after doctors tried a trial drug. Now, she's preparing to be discharged from the hospital. A 35-year-old man from Evans, who was also in a coma for multiple days after testing positive, had been training for a marathon when he became very sick. At some points when he was in the hospital, he didn't think he'd make it — but his prayers were answered and he was discharged on March 30.
Then, there are the stories of woman who tested positive while they were pregnant. Cat Garcia of Denver was 34 weeks pregnant with twins when doctors had to perform an emergency C-section because the twins and virus were putting too much strain on her lungs. She's now at home recovering while her premature twins continue to improve in a NICU. And Johanna Sprunk of Denver was 37 weeks pregnant when doctors decided they had to induce labor. The baby tested negative for COVID-19 and Sprunk is starting to feel better.
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.
April 10, 2020
5:06 p.m. | 9 confirmed deaths at nursing home in Aurora
Nine people died at the Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora from COVID-19, according to the Tri-County Health. No other details were immediately available.
4:45 p.m. | Routt County reporst 1st death from coronavirus
Routt County reported its first death from the novel coronavirus - a centenarian resident at Casey's Pond.
4 p.m. | Latest data from CDPHE
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the latest COVID-19 data for the state: The number of cases rose by 308 to 6,510. Here's the full data (with the increase in parentheses):
6,510 cases (+308)
1,312 hospitalized (+91)
56 counties (+0)
32,653 people tested (+1,473)
250 deaths (+24)
59 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities (+5)
UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova identified the second victim at the JBS meatpacking plant as Eduardo Conchas de la Cruz, 60. She said at least 42 union members who work at JBS and eight non-union employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently hospitalized. But she said the union believes there “may be significantly more individuals at the plant who are carrying the virus but may either by asymptomatic, not tested, or afraid to come forward as they are not eligible for sick pay.”
On Friday, Cordova sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment Executive Director Dr. Mark Wallace and JBS Labor Relations Manager Matthew Lovell demanding that the plant be closed immediately for at least seven days to be deep-cleaned.
She also demanded that after a closure and cleaning, employees be provided proper PPE, grant the union regular access to the plant, provide reports on epidemiological inspections and other inspections and that the plant implement host of other spacing and cleanliness measures.
She also demanded hazard play for union employees and fully-paid wages for anyone who has to isolate due to the virus.
“We fully understand the seriousness of a plant closure and its economic impact. However, safety must take precedence over profits. As you are no doubt aware, a number of plants throughout the United States have now been closed because of the spread of the COVID-19 virus among their workforce. One death is a tragedy – two deaths at the same plant is simply beyond human understanding. With regret, we have no option but to conclude that the time for collaborative efforts has ceased. JBS has left us with no alternative,” Cordova wrote.
“Talk is cheap – workers’ lives are not. We look forward to your very prompt response and immediate action. The lives of Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Conchas de la Cruz, our 3,000 plus members at the plant and the general public in Greely demand no less,” she added
Click here to read the full story.
A second worker at a Greeley meatpacking plant that is experiencing an outbreak of the novel coronavirus has died, the workers’ union president said Friday afternoon, and White House officials are in contact with Colorado’s governor and a U.S. senator about the situation that has affected hundreds.
Shortly after Denver7 confirmed the second worker’s death, Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump both spoke about the outbreak at the plant during the day’s White House coronavirus briefing.
Click here to read the full story.
2:47 p.m. | Red Rocks now closed until further notice
Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre will close at 6 p.m. Friday until further notice "due to the threat of spread of COVID-19." Officials said other mountain and urban parks remain open for outdoor activities such as walking and jogging, provided individuals adhere to social distancing guidelines.
1:45 p.m. | Gunnison County: Some non-resident homeowners exempt from order
Gunnison County officials on Friday said 199 non-resident homeowners who were in the county before the coronavirus outbreak have been exempted from the county's public health order. The order prohibits non-residents from the county, including those who might own homes. But the non-residents who were already in the county in February have been exempted from the order.
"At the same time, almost all requests for waivers for travel into our valley by non-resident homeowners have been denied," officials said Friday.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday wrote a letter to Gunnison County officials asking them to modify the order so Texas residents who own homes in the county can be there.
1:05 p.m. | Polis: Convention center operational in about two weeks
Gov. Jared Polis gave his afternoon news conference Friday from the Colorado Convention Center, where crews were working to transform the space into a care facility for coronavirus patients. Polis said the facility will be be operational in about two weeks, with about several hundred beds by April 18. The convention center will be able to house up to 2,000 patient, but Polis said he hopes that capacity level won't be needed.
Polis said the convention center will be a "Tier 3" facility for ambulatory sub-acute patients. Those would be patients who aren't in critical condition but not ready to go home.
1 p.m. | Polis gives coronavirus update
Gov. Jared Polis said the number of COVID-19 cases in Colorado is now 6,508, up by 306 from Thursday. The number of deaths rose from by 15, to 241. About 1,300 people have been hospitalized by the virus and more than 32,600 people have been tested. We're expecting fully updated numbers in the CDPHE's daily release at 4 p.m.
12:35 p.m. | 2nd JBS plant employee dies
A union president on Friday confirmed to Denver7 that a second JBS meatpacking plant employee in Greeley has died of COVID-19. Also on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence said federal officials were looking into an outbreak at the plant.
Pence said he spoke with Gov. Jared Polis on Friday and was also in contact with Sen. Cory Gardner about the outbreak. At least 14 people in the outbreak have been hospitalized, Pence said, and 200-300 have been impacted in some way. Pence said he was working with Polis and Gardner to ensure testing resources would be available in the response to the outbreak.
Polis in a Friday afternoon news conference confirmed he spoke with Pence about the outbreak and said their talks centered on ensuring the plant can operate safely.
Breaking— We have confirmed a SECOND DEATH of an employee at the JBS plant in Greeley. Vice President Pence announcing the federal government is now involved. @DenverChannel pic.twitter.com/M3SpSBMQS2
— Tony Kovaleski (@TonyKovaleski) April 10, 2020
11:07 a.m. | More RTD physical distancing actions
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is taking new steps to increase physical distance between riders and for employees and drivers.
RTD hopes to limit bus capacity to 15 passengers on regular buses and 20 on larger buses. It says buses might bypass stops if those limits are reached. It also hopes to add additional buses on popular routes.
RTD said that rail cars would be limited to about 30 people per car.
“Our intent is to provide sufficient service while asking passengers to exercise social distancing on our vehicles,” said Paul Ballard, RTD interim general manager and CEO. “It is imperative that our passengers use sound judgment when boarding and selecting a seat on our buses and trains to ensure they can maintain social distancing.”
For more on the steps RTD has taken during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.
9:30 a.m. | Gov. Polis to provide update at 12:30 p.m.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will host a COVID-19 briefing at 12:30 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center. We will carry the news conference live.
7:30 a.m. | City of Arvada approves $2.5 million to help local businesses
On Friday morning, the city said it is launching the Arvada Emergency Business Recovery Initiative. This includes the creation of an Emergency Small Business Loan Fund, which is a $2.5 million fund that's available for interest-free “bridge loans” up to $10,000. This fund is only available to local, for-profit businesses with fewer than 50 employees. These loans are intended to help small businesses until federal funds become available. there is little paperwork involved and it's easy to apply, the city said.
The city said the applications will be "reviewed right away" and the checks will be mailed out immediately.
The city is funding this in partnership with the Arvada Economic Development Association and Arvada Urban Renewal Authority. More details about applying are available at www.Arvada.org/BusinessRecovery.
The Paycheck Protection Program will open to independent contractors, sole proprietors, gig workers today. The program provides almost $350 billion to help cover payroll for small businesses and income for self-employed workers who have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus crisis. Read more here.
What if you could combine your time outside exercising with helping a local business? That is the motivation behind the Qua-RUN-tine To Change Lives challenge. Jason and Gina Anguiano, who run several charity races in Douglas County like the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey ROCK Trot, created the challenge. Anybody is welcome to register for it, and the couple uses the registration fees to buy the gift cards from local businesses that are in turn given away to participants. Learn more here.
If you live on the Front Range, you've been asked for a while to avoid going to the mountains unless absolutely necessary. On Thursday, the Clear Creek County commissioners voted to close all county roads to non-residents, beginning 12:01 a.m. Saturday, as officials hope to reduce activity in the county during the coronavirus outbreak.
Wondering why? Through Wednesday, Clear Creek County had seven confirmed cases of COVID-19, though officials on Thursday warned that county's healthcare system could not handle a spike in cases. The nearest hospital is in Jefferson County, and Clear Creek only has three ambulances. Read more here.
Click here for the live blog from Thursday, April 9, 2020.