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Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 20, 2020

Posted at 5:16 AM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:41:35-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Monday, April 20, 2020. Click here for the live blog for Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

As of Monday at 4 p.m., more than 10,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and of those, 1,880 have been hospitalized.

Total deaths in Colorado from COVID-19 reached 422 on Sunday.

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:

Monday, April 20

11 p.m. | Daily rate of hospitalizations starting to level off in Colorado

The daily rate of hospitalizations due to the novel coronavirus in Colorado is starting to level off, according to Gov. Jared Polis. Nearly 1,900 people have been admitted to the hospital since the virus arrived to our state, but the state reported Monday only 1,096 hospital beds were currently being used to treat patients.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 20, 2020

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8:15 p.m. | Boulder Valley to continue remote learning through the end of the school year

The Boulder Valley School District says it has decided to continue "home learning" for the remainder of the school year and the 2020 summer learning program as there are only five weeks left of school.

"While this decision is difficult, we believe that it provides a level of certainty in an uncertain time, allowing everyone including our families, teachers and schools -- to plan accordingly," BVSD officials said in a letter to parents, which you can read here.

7 p.m. | Littleton announces furloughs of city employees

The Littleton City Manager announced that effective Sunday, April 25, 58 employees will be placed on a mandatory furlough until Wednesday, June 24. The employees, "have positions that require public interaction that cannot be performed from home such as library and museum staff, Littleton Immigrant Resource Center, and shuttle bus drivers."

The city manager said it is possible the furlough could be extended or shortened. The furloughed employees will keep their benefits during the furlough period.

5:51 p.m. | Colorado releases latest COVID-19 modeling information

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) says it received additional modeling information from a group of public health scientist experts today which show the latest findings of the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado to date, as well as projections for future scenarios of social distancing.

You can view the modeling report here.

4:15 p.m. | Stay-at-home will end Sunday, as scheduled

Gov. Jared Polis on Monday said Colorado's stay-at-home order will end on Sunday, as scheduled. The state will transition into a "safer at home" phase, with social distancing and telecommuting still strongly encouraged.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that our job isn't finished," Polis said. "Your job isn't finished. This hinges on individual responsibility."

Polis said non-critical retail stores will be able to re-open for curbside delivery, though bars and restaurants will stay closed. Polis said the state hopes to begin a phased re-opening of restaurants over the month of May. The state will evaluate how restaurants could re-open after receiving initial data about the "safer at home" phase in mid-May. Polis said he'd like to see restaurants re-opened by May 15.

Non-essential offices will be allowed to be 50% open, though telecommuting should continue to be maximized, when possible. Elective surgeries will resume with strict precautions.

Public gatherings will still be limited to 10 people under the "safer at home" phase. While the stay-at-home order aimed for 75%-80% social distancing, the goal in the new phase will be 60%-65% social distancing.

The wearing of face masks in public will still be strongly encouraged under the "safer at home" phase, Polis said.

Polis' new guidelines came Monday, as he and other state officials reiterated the need for continued social distancing beyond the stay-at-home order. Officials said the wearing of face masks in public and aggressive testing and case identification will be also be necessary to help the state's hospital avoid reaching capacity.

Read the full story here.

4. p.m. | Coronavirus cases in Colorado surpass 10,000, CDPHE says

The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the state has grown to 10,106 cases, an uptick of 376 cases from Sunday, according to the latest numbers provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

A total of 1,880 people have been hospitalized, 67 more than reported a day prior, and 47,466 people have been tested (an additional 1,271 more than reported Sunday). The state also reported 449 deaths Monday, 27 more than reported a day prior. A total of 113 outbreaks have been reported at residential and non-hospital healthcare facilities — 2 more outbreaks than reported on Sunday by the CDPHE. So far, the new virus is present in 56 of Colorado's 64 counties.

New epidemiological modeling predicts that between 65,000 to 75,000 people have COVID-19 throughout the state, but state and health officials are prioritizing testing for those who are most at-risk.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 20, 2020

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2:15 p.m. | State officials: Social distancing alone will not work

State data modelers on Monday said social distancing alone will not work to contain the spread of COVID-19 and lessen the surge of patients in Colorado hospitals. Sustainable social distancing will be needed as the state begins to re-open but several other factors will be necessary, too, including the wearing of face masks, aggressive case detection and isolation, and having older adults continue high levels of social distancing.

2 p.m. | Alternate care sites operational on May 15

State officials on Monday said the alternative care facilities at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver and The Ranch in Loveland are expected to be operational on May 15, three weeks after the scheduled relaxation of the statewide stay-at-home order. Officials expect the care facilities to be needed at that time.

The convention center will have 600 beds available on May 15, and The Ranch will have 195 beds available.

1:40 p.m. | Colorado to test up to 900 at three Front Range long term care facilities this week

Colorado will test up to 900 residents and staffers at three long-term care facilities along the Front Range for COVID-19 this week as the number of cases and deaths at those facilities continues to grow.

In total, around 40% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths have come at long-term care facilities.

Testing started at the Pikes Peak Center in El Paso County on Sunday. Testing will take place at the Elms Haven Center in Adams County on Tuesday, and at the Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Broomfield on Thursday.

Click here to read the full story.

1:25 p.m. | Mesa County commissioners to Polis: Disappointed over "massive lack of communication"

Mesa County commissioners on Monday sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, saying they were disappointed over the "massive lack of communication and coordination" in the state's decision to lease the Western Slope Memory Care facility as an alternative care facility for COVID-19 patients.

The facility would accept up to 50 regional patients who are recovering from COVID-19, according to the commissioners. But the county, according to the letter, was "denied the opportunity to have proper planning time to mitigate and to keep our community safe and informed."

"Furthermore, completely ignoring the fact that counties and cities are on the front line when it comes to providing services to the citizens across the state is simply disturbing," the letter said. "If the state is planning to place patients from outside of our community into a local facility, the state should be financially responsible for funding personal protective equipment (PPE), medical costs, and any additional impacts to our local community and economy."

Read the full letter here.

11:30 a.m. | Denver restaurant order to be extended, Hancock says

Mayor Michael Hancock said Denver's city order shutting down dining at restaurants will be extended beyond May 11, "you can bet on that," though the city is still exploring options for restaurants to re-open. Some restaurants may need to wait to re-open longer than others, depending on re-opening protocols. The city is still talking with restaurants about those possible protocols, Hancock said.

11:20 a.m. | More on Denver's new cases slowing

Bob McDonald, executive director of Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, said the city is seeing about 50-60 new cases per day, though some days have been higher due to delays in reporting. McDonald said the data is encouraging and is showing a slow in cases. Still, McDonald said residents should continue to wear face masks in public and stay socially distant.

The city also hopes to continue ramping up testing efforts. McDonald said ideally the city would be able to have 1,500-2,000 tests per week to be able to track the spread of the virus. The city is currently testing in the hundreds per week.

11:10 a.m. | Denver re-opening golf courses, but social distancing still crucial, Hancock says

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Monday said the number COVID-19 cases in the city is around 1,750 but new cases continue to slow. The city will also re-open city-operated golf courses on Wednesday. Still, the next 7-10 days will be crucial for residents to maintain social distancing, Hancock said, ahead of the scheduled lifting of the city's stay-at-home order on April 30.

10:21 a.m. | Eagle Co. Sheriff's Office looking for man accused of coughing on groceries, violating health order

The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help identifying a man who is accused of violating the public health order by telling a Village Market employee the COVID-19 outbreak was “media hype” and coughing on a person’s groceries.

Click here to read more.

10:18 a.m. | Mayor Hancock to give update at 11 a.m.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and other city leaders will provide an update on the city’s response to COVID-19 at 11 a.m. He is expected to discuss recovery planning, business relief, city-owned golf course, residential care facilities and shelter services, according to a press release.

9:20 a.m. | Gov. Polis update at 3:30 p.m.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to give an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at 3:30 p.m. today. We will carry it live on our website, social media, streaming apps and over the air.

7 a.m. | Garfield County sheriff calls for Colorado to open again

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, in a live Facebook video, called for Colorado to reopen and get people back to work.

6 a.m. | Women's shelter expected to open today at Denver Coliseum

The shelter is set to open on Monday, two weeks after the men's shelter opened at National Western.

5 a.m. | Colorado expands its unemployment system

Starting today, Colorado will start accepting unemployment claims for contractors, those who are self-employed and "gig workers." If you apply today, you'll get an additional $600 in your bank account every single week if you're already collecting unemployment.

To see if you qualify, visit www.Colorado.gov/cdle/unemployment. A virtual town hall is planned at 9:15 a.m. in English and one at 11:30 a.m. in Spanish. Both are available at that link.

Click here for the live blog from Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19, 2020.