NOTE: This is the live blog from Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Click here for the live blog for Thursday, April 23, 2020.
According to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, more than 10,400 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Colorado since the outbreak began, as of data from Tuesday afternoon. In total, 486 people have died.
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.
Wednesday, April 22
7:58 p.m. | Additional data on deaths will affect COVID-19 mortality count this week, state says
Those visiting the state's COVID-19 data page will start to notice new data points and additional deaths related to the new virus that had not previously appeared in the state's mortality count, state health officials said Wednesday night. That's because the CDPHE will now provide COVID-19 death data by date of death. Previously, the department reported deaths based on the day it received the information. The state does not always receive death data on the day a person dies, health officials said in a news release.
Health officials said that CDPHE epidemiologists began to review cause of death information on death certificates and began to enter COVID-19 caused deaths into the state's database if those deaths had not been previously reported to the state.
Officials said this new data will include adding "probable" COVID-19 deaths - meaning the decedent was a Colorado resident who had no known positive laboratory test for COVID-19 but the death certificate lists as a cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats, announced Wednesday new legislation to create a Health Force to battle COVID-19.
4:56 p.m. | Colorado Springs Airport sees lower passenger numbers due to coronavirus
Colorado Springs Airport officials say that in the months of March and April, the airport experienced a "significant downturn in air service due to a decrease in passenger traffic related to the coronavirus pandemic."
In March, for example, after two months of increase in foot activity, the airport deplaned 34,595 passengers bringing the total number for the year to 310,233 passengers who moved through the airport. Officials said the figure represented a 7.9% decrease for the year and a 40.7% decrease for the month.
4:09 p.m. | State reports there are currently 1,077 beds in use due to COVID-19
Colorado state and health officials say there are currently 1,077 hospital beds in use due to the COVID-19 -- three more beds in use than reported Tuesday, according to the latest numbers.
4 p.m. | Coronavirus cases in Coloraado near 11,000
The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the state has grown to 10,878 cases, an uptick of 433 cases from Tuesday, according to the latest numbers provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
A total of 2,123 people have been hospitalized, 121 more than reported a day prior, and 50,645 people have been tested (an additional 1,941 more than reported Tuesday). The state also reported 508 deaths Wednesday, 22 more than reported a day prior. A total of 123 outbreaks have been reported at residential and non-hospital healthcare facilities — 10 more outbreaks than reported on Tuesday by the CDPHE.
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.
Colorado's stay-at-home order expires Sunday, and the state will then move into a "safer-at-home" phase, with social distancing still strongly encouraged. But how will May be different than April? How will it be the same? Read the full story here.
To view the governor's full safer at home initiative, click here. To view the PowerPoint presentation showcased during today's news briefing, click here. To view the governor's executive order extending the suspension of in-person learning at Colorado schools, click here.
2:38 p.m. | Gov. Polis to virtually visit Eagle County To view
Colorado Governor Jared Polis will virtually “visit” Eagle County at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, for the formal approval of the county’s request for some exemptions from the state’s COVID-19 executive and public health orders. The Eagle County Board of Commissioners will also be joined by officials from Vail Health. The event will be available to view through the Eagle County Facebook page.
1:45 p.m. | Gov. Polis outlines "safer at home" phase of social distancing guidelines
Governor Polis outlined during a press briefing Wednesday how Colorado will gradually reopen the economy after April 26, when the stay-at-home order expires. While some restrictions will be eased, many others will remain in place in the coming weeks and month, Pollis said, describing what he calls the "safer at home" phase of social distancing.
Senior citizens and immunocompromised populations are being asked to remain at home and social gathering guidelines — limiting gatherings to no larger than 10 — will stay in place throughout the month of May. The general population is encouraged to continue practicing stay-at-home habits and only go out when absolutely necessary.
On April 27, more retailers will be allowed to open if they can offer curbside delivery. Come May 1, those retailers can begin opening their doors to customers for in-person shopping, granted they maintain social distancing and mask-wearing. Also allowed to reopen May 1 are hair salons, dog grooming and tattoo parlors with social distancing precautions in place.
Restaurants, bars and nightclubs will still not be allowed to serve customers, other than take-out or delivery options for restaurants. Polis said he hopes that restaurants can reopen sometime later in May.
On May 4, Polis said businesses would be allowed to welcome back at least 50% of their workforce, but he stresses that telecommuting should still be used as much as possible. Elective dental procedures can also restart at this time.
The governor said many local communities would have community-specific rules. Some of those local guidelines might be more restrictive than at the state level, and county health departments will have the flexibility to increase or ease some restrictions based on virus activity in their regions.
Polis also said testing would increase in the coming weeks and months, but he stressed expanding testing will not solve this crisis.
"While testing is an important tool…., it doesn't solve this. We can't just test and trace our way out of this in any model that I've seen that's credible," Polis said.
12:30 p.m. | State says services for domestic violence survivors are still available during COVID-19 outbreak
The Colorado Department of Human Services says domestic abuse survivors are allowed to leave their residence during the current stay-at-home order or upcoming safer-at-home policy, despite what an abuser may say behind closed doors.
Michelle Barnes, executive director of the Colorado Department of Human Services, said abusers may use misinformation and lies to control their partners and create fear.
"It is acceptable to leave your home — and to take any dependents like children or parents with you — in order to ask for help or escape violence," she said.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 to connect with local domestic violence service providers that offer free and confidential help.
12:15 p.m. | 54,000 school-age children without home internet access in Colorado
As Colorado schools transitioned to online learning this spring, about 54,000 school-age children were living in households without internet access, a study found, and the majority of those students are Hispanic and come from low-income families.
Also, nearly half the children without internet access are in elementary school and nearly 60 percent have at least one parent who works in an essential industry, according to the study from the Colorado Futures Center, a group based out of Colorado State University that studies fiscal issues in the state.
Colorado has about 1 million school-age children, and nearly 95% have internet access. But of the 54,102 school-age children without internet, about two-thirds are Hispanic, and Hispanic students are disproportionately without internet in four of five regions in the state, according to the study.
Read the full story here.
11:37 a.m. | Jefferson County Public Health prepping for lifting of stay-at-home order
Jefferson County Public Health says it is still waiting for more details on Gov. Polis’ plan to let the statewide stay-at-home order expire April 26 but that “the population density of the Denver Metro Area will call for a level of response that will be different than what is needed in more rural areas.”
The public health department says it is working with business leaders and public health officials across the Denver metro area to determine what the gradual opening will look like. But the department said people should still expect to stay home as much as they can.
“We want to reiterate that public health’s guidance is to continue to stay at home to the greatest extent possible, even after the statewide Stay-at-Home order is eased,” the health department said. There is evidence social distancing is working, but that effort must continue to minimize the spread of disease, severe illness and death. This is a critical time and what we each do individually will have an impact on our community as a whole.”
11:20 a.m. | King Soopers donates gift cards for students
King Soopers and the Denver Scholarship Foundation is partnering to donate at least 200 gift cards to high school and college students battling food and housing insecurities who receive College Access and College Success programming from the scholarship foundation.
The DSF says 60% of students in its College Access program have already been referred to food or housing assistance and that the College Success team has seen a 30% increase in student referrals to resources for food pantries, rent assistance programs and counseling.
“Thanks to our valuable community partnerships like the one with King Soopers, we are able to serve as the first line of support for our students’ overall wellbeing through this uncertain time, while continuing to advise students on academics, finances, career exploration, connection, housing, and transportation,” said Lorii Rabinowitz, CEO of DSF.
10:58 a.m. | More changes at DIA as traffic remains low
Passenger traffic at Denver International Airport was down 95% last week compared to the same week last year – a trend that has held steady over the past few weeks. The airport averaged 625 flights a day – about 1,000 fewer than it averaged in April 2019, according to the airport.
The airport’s shuttle parking lots will be closing “until further notice” at 12:01 a.m. on May 11.
The west economy lot, east and west garages, short-term parking and the 61st and Pena Blvd. lot will remain open.
TSA will also start installing plexiglass barriers at security checkpoint podiums starting this week.
10:30 a.m. | Trump says national parks will reopen soon
At an Earth Day tree planting ceremony on the White House lawn, President Donald Trump said he would begin to reopen national parks to the public.
Rocky Mountain National Park completely closed to the public on March 20. Mesa Verde National Park followed on March 25. The Great Sand Dunes National Park closed April 17. Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park has remained open, but only to the visitors center, which is closed. Roads beyond the center are closed.
9:44 a.m. | Free community testing for COVID-19 in Pueblo
The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office said free community COVID-19 testing is available as of today at the Colorado State Fairgrounds at 1001 Beulah Ave. It is open until 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until May 30. You must have symptoms to be tested.
9:35 a.m. | Douglas County schedules discussion about 'road to recovery'
All Douglas County residents are welcome to join in on a public discussion on Thursday at 7 p.m. regarding the road to recovery and resources available, the county announced Wednesday morning. Experts from Arapahoe County, Douglas County and Tri-County Health will answer questions live. To participate, call 1-855-436-3656 or listen in via Facebook or on the county's website here. Click here to learn more.
9:25 a.m. | Polis will give 1:30 p.m. update
Gov. Jared Polis will give an update on the state's response to COVID-19 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. You can watch the update on Denver7 and on our streaming app and Facebook page.
8:38 a.m. | National Jewish Health to offer COVID-19 antibody tests
On Wednesday morning, National Jewish Health announced that starting Friday, it will offer COVID-19 antibody testing. The tests were submitted for emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Moving forward with antibody testing provides important information about who has had COVID-19,” said Michael Salem, MD, President and CEO of National Jewish Health. “It adds an additional invaluable tool to our high-capacity virus testing towards understanding the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the broader population and in charting a path to renewed social and economic activity.”
The testing, which involves a blood draw, is available for the public by appointment. You can decide to get the test on your own (without a referral) for $94 or through a physician referral order. This testing is meant for people without COVID-19 symptoms.
7:59 a.m. | RTD receives 2,000 masks and 240 face shields
Denver Streets Partnership said one of its members, Mile High Connects, was able to get 2,000 masks and 240 face shields transferred from the Golden-based bicycle manufacturer Yeti Cycles to RTD for frontline workers to use.
In addition, Mile High Connects created a rapid response grant fund. It has provided Redline Contemporary Art Center with a grant to kickstart a mask-making business that employs their resident artists, and will produce hundreds of masks for the transit agency.
6:30 a.m. | Larimer County to open community-wide testing Friday
COVID-19 testing for symptomatic individuals will begin Friday in Larimer County, the county announced Wednesday morning. The county received a delivery of limited testing supplies from the state, and testing will go on until those supplies are gone.
Anybody over the age of 18 who wants to be tested must by symptomatic. The testing will be done by appointment and pre-registration is required. A doctor's note is not needed. To register for testing through Larimer County, visit and fill out the form at larimer.org/community-testing.
6 a.m. | City-operated golf courses reopen today in Denver
All city-operated golf courses in Denver will reopen today, weather permitting, with some restrictions in place. The city said it will continue to monitor and enforce physical distancing in parks and golf courses. Earlier this week, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced they would reopen today.
Here are some, but not all, of the restrictions and changes:
-Tee times must be made over the phone or online. Call 720-865-4653 or visit www.CityOfDenverGolf.com
-Only single rider carts will be available
-Golf carts and pull carts will be cleaned and disinfected after each use
-Scorecards and pencils will not be available. Keep score on the Denver Golf app
-Don't arrive more than 15 minutes before your tee time
-Call the pro shop when you arrive and pay the fee over the phone
-Only 4 people are allowed in the clubhouse at one time
-Leave flagsticks in the cup
-Don't touch other people's equipment
-Food from the restaurant is only available to-go with a limited menu
Anybody seen not obeying the rules will be removed without a refund.
5 a.m. | FEMA testing in Pueblo County becomes available today
A FEMA-sponsored COVID-19 drive-through testing site is being expanded to Pueblo County, officials said Tuesday, and will be available beginning today at the Colorado State Fair Grounds, near Gate 4 off Mesa Avenue and Gaylord Avenue. Up to 250 tests per day will be available for health care workers, first responders, people who are over 65 and people in the critical business workforce. The tests will be offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays of each week, through May.
There is no cost for the testing, and people only need to bring a picture ID.
FEMA-sponsored testing will still be available in El Paso County at the UCHealth site at 175 South Union Boulevard.
Click here for the live blog from Tuesday, April 21, 2020.