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Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from May 15, 2020

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Posted at 5:20 AM, May 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 02:16:06-04

If you live in western Colorado, keep your eyes to the sky today. The Colorado Air National Guard will do a second flyover in Colorado beginning around 11 a.m. to reach more areas of the state and and salute more COVID-19 front line heroes.

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, May 15

6:45 p.m. | Colorado now breaking down deaths due to COVID-19 versus people who died with COVID-19

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Friday started breaking down its publicly-released COVID-19 death data differently – by the number of people who died directly due to COVID-19 and the number of people who died and had COVID-19.

The officials – among them the state epidemiologist, the department’s chief medical officer and representatives from the Vital Statistics program – acknowledged that the difference was confusing but tried to explain to reporters and others through a presentation how the process works and why the numbers are different.

According to Friday’s data, 878 people died in Colorado due to COVID-19, while a total of 1,150 people – including the 878 – have died and had COVID-19.

The distinction, according to the CDPHE officials, comes as a result of the way death certificates are put together by physicians, coroners and medical examiners for state epidemiologists and how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) measures deaths on a national scale.

Dr. Eric France, the chief medical officer for the CDPHE, said that deaths occur and are reported to the department in two ways – by a physician, coroner or medical examiner on a death certificate or by health care providers, coroners or local public health departments to state epidemiologists.

The state Vital Statistics program shares information based on death certificates and the state reports deaths to the CDC through a national vital records program.

But when reporting nationally to the CDC, France and CDPHE State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Friday, it is important to have a standardized case definition across the country “So we all understand what we’re talking a death looks like for someone who has COVID-19,” France said.

France said that surveillance work allows for an “apples-to-apples comparison” where everyone is using the same definition – one that is distinct from what is seen on a death certificate.

The officials pointed to the latest guidance from the CDC, which says: “When COVID-19 is reported as a cause of death on the death certificate, it is code and counted as a death due to COVID-19. COVID-19 should not be reported on the death certificate if it did not cause or contribute to the death.”

Click here to read the full story.

5:51 p.m. | USPS officer in Denver closed due to COVID-19 outbreak

The USPS office located at 3800 Buchtel Blvd. S in Denver has been temporarily closed by the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

"There are jurisdictional questions about the applicability of this order, and we continue to work with USPS towards implementing controls as quickly as possible to keep employees and patrons safe," officials said in a statement.

4:23 p.m. | King Soopers announces Thank You Pay for frontline workers

King Soopers and its parent company, Kroger, hasa announced that it will provide a special Thank You Pay to hourly frontline grocery, supply chain, manufacturing, pharmacy and call center associates to acknowledge their dedication to maintaining safe, clean and stocked stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company also announced that it will continue its COVID-19 Emergency Leave guidelines to provide paid time off to associates most directly affected by the virus or experiencing related symptoms.

4 p.m. | CDPHE clarifies how deaths are being reported as state sees more than 21,000 people testing positive from coronavirus

Here are the latest numbers of COVID-19 in Colorado from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE). The (+) denotes the increase in reported numbers from the previous day:

21,232 positive cases (+394)
3,842 hospitalized (+53)
60 counties (no change)
119,759 people tested (+3,763)
1,150 deaths among cases (may or may not have had COVID-19); 878 deaths due to COVID-19
213 outbreaks (+5)

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 685 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — showing no change from the number of beds reported on Thursday.

Recent 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.

3:32 p.m. | Loveland expects further cuts, furloughs due to COVID-19

Revenue losses and extended facility closures in Loveland due to COVID-19 "have led the city to impose more furloughs and reduced work hours for City employees," a city spokesperson said in a statement.

The city manager has also asked directors of all General Fund departments to submit proposals for 10% cuts in their remaining 2020 budgets.

More than 40 employees in the city's recreation, cultural services and library operations are affected, with furloughs and reduced hours for some, extending through planned facility closures. The furloughs announced this week are in addition to the city's already 280 furloughed employees.

3:09 p.m. | State's Vital Records Office to offer some in-person services

Effective Monday, May 18, 2020, the Colorado State Office of Vital Records will begin offering in-person service for corrections or changes to birth certificates, such as name changes, by appointment-only. Customers that only need to purchase a certified copy of a birth or death certificate may continue to submit their requests online, via mail, or through a county vital records office in their area.

To set an appointment and/or obtain information to submit other vital records requests, please visit the state Vital Records website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/birth-certificates.

If you have an appointment that requires you to go to the Colorado State Office of Vital Records in person, you are asked to keep your party to three people or fewer, arrive on time and have all paperwork ready and filled out to keep proper social distancing guidelines.

3:04 p.m. | Denver to resume some parking enforcement beginning June 1

Denver's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) will resume some - but not all - parking enforcement activities that were suspended in March as part of the city's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the city's stay-at-home order. DOTI says they are not yet ready to fully return to parking enforcement as it was before COVID-19. Here are the general guidelines that will be effective June 1:

-- Downtown-area parking meters will be turned on and operational between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. People utilizing a metered parking space downtown must pay the meter and adhere to posted time limits between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. starting June 1. Downtown parking meters will be free of charge from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.
-- Parking meters outside of the downtown area will be turned back on and will operate at the price and time limits posted on the meters. People utilizing meters located outside of downtown should pay the meter and adhere to posted time limits.
-- Enforcement of time-limited, non-metered parking spaces and residential parking programs will resume. Residents who are eligible for residential parking permits should apply now and can check their eligibility at www.parksmartdenver.com. Existing permit holders are encouraged to renew expired permits. For those who are eligible for residential parking permits but who are unable to provide necessary documentation due to COVID-19, DOTI can issue 90-day temporary permits via an online application.

Starting on July 1, the follow guidelines apply:

Enforcement of posted parking restrictions for street sweeping will resume, as well as enforcement of 72-hour parking limits will resume.

The following enforcement activities remain suspended for the time being:

-- Large vehicle parking (vehicles more than 22 feet in length) is still allowed until further notice in non-residential areas.
-- School bus loading zones will not be enforced until in-person schooling is back in session.
-- Cars will not be booted until further notice
-- Street paving.

1:45 p.m. | Polis: "Every number has a name"

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday took several minutes to remember those lost to coronavirus in Colorado. More than 1,000 people have died of the virus, and the state will honor those victims with a moment of silence at 7 p.m. Friday.

"It's important to remember that every number has a name," Polis said. "It's easy to say over 1,000 people. Each one of those is a person with friends, loved ones and family. If you’re fortunate enough not to have known someone who was lost, take a moment and remember why we all need to do our part."

Noon| Eagle County moving to "blue phase" of reopening

Eagle County officials on Friday said the county will move to a "blue phase" of reopening on May 25, with gatherings of up to 50 people and some dining at restaurants allowed, with certain social distancing measures in place.

Dining at restaurants and bars will be limited to 50% seating capacity and social distancing of six feet will be required for non-household members. Hotels and motels will also be able to operate at 50%.

The new phase still has to be approved by the state. The county has submitted a variance request for the new measures, which are less strict than the statewide safer-at-home phase.

Eagle County, home to the Vail ski resort, was among the hardest-hit counties in the state early in the COVID-19 crisis but has since recovered and been praised by Gov. Jared Polis for their efforts to contain the virus.

In the new phase, outdoor recreation businesses would be able to open in Eagle County if social distancing guidelines are met. But the announcement Friday did not specifically detail plans for ski areas, which remain closed in Colorado under an order from Polis.

Summer camps will be allowed under the phase, if mitigation measures are followed, such as limiting gathering and symptom screenings.

Pools that use chlorine or bromine will be allowed to open at 50% capacity.

The "black phase" of reopening is targeted for June 22, according to the county, though details about that phase have not been released.

11:17 a.m. | Summit County to hold Senior procession for Class of 2020

A procession for the graduating seniors of Summit High School, Snowy Peaks and The Peak School, will be held May 21 at 3 p.m. More details will be released in the coming days.

10:47 a.m. | Gov. Polis to provide update at 1:30 p.m.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to host a briefing on the latest on the state’s response to COVID-19 from the state Capitol at 1:30 p.m. We will carry the briefing live.

10:45 a.m. | Census field operations to resume

The U.S. Census Bureau will resume field operations in Colorado next week, with field staff socially distancing and wearing personal protective equipment. Staff will drop off 2020 Census invitation packets at front doors of households that do not receive mail.

5:53 a.m. | Heroes Parade at St. Anthony North Health Campus

St. Anthony North Health Campus will host a special celebration honoring health care workers and first responders in an apparatus procession, known as a Heroes Parade, today, beginning at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony North Health Campus (14300 Orchard Pkwy, Westminster).

5 a.m. | Another Colorado Air National Guard flyover today

The Air National Guard is planning a second flyover across parts of Colorado today to reach more areas of the state and salute more COVID-19 front line heroes. From 11 a.m.-12:45 p.m., the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing will conduct a F-16 Fighting Falcon flyover, mostly in western Colorado.

These are the approximate locations and times where the aircraft will be visible:
-11:03 am - Platte Valley Medical Center, Brighton, CO
-11:11 am – Middle Park Medical Center, Granby, CO
-11:14 am – Kremmling Memorial Hospital, Kremmling, CO
-11:24 am – Grand River Health, Rifle, CO
-11:31 am – Colorado Canyons Hospital & Medical Center Community Hospital, Fruita, CO
-11:37 am – Saint Mary’s Hospital and Medical Center Heliport, Grand Junction
-11:42 am – Delta County Memorial Hospital, Delta, CO
-11:45 am – Montrose Memorial Hospital Heliport, Montrose, CO
-11:55 am – Southwest Memorial Hospital-Emergency Room, Cortez, CO
-12:00 pm – Animas Surgical Hospital, Mercy Regional Medical Center, Durango, CO
-12:06 pm – Pagosa Springs Medical Center, Pagosa Springs, CO
-12:14 pm – SLV Health Regional Medical Center, Alamosa, CO
-12:24 pm – Mt. San Rafael Hospital, Trinidad, CO
-12:33 pm – Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center Helipad, La Junta, CO
-12:48 pm – Parker Adventist Hospital, Parker, CO

5 a.m. | Today is Day of Remembrance Friday for Colorado COVID-19 victims

The governor’s office says 94 cities, towns and counties, as well as the Pepsi Center, Empower Field at Mile High and Coors Field, have confirmed they will participate in today’s Day of Remembrance for the more than 1,000 Coloradans who lost their lives to COVID-19 so far.

At 7 p.m. MT today, the state Capitol, cities, counties and organizations will turn their lights red to honor the victims and police and fire departments are encouraged to turn on their lights for a minute at 7 p.m. People are also asked to hold a minute of silence at the same time while wearing a face covering or mask.

Gov. Polis has also ordered flags be lowered to have staff Friday for Peace Officers Memorial Day.

“This global pandemic has cost 300,000 lives across the world and over 1,000 in Colorado alone. Too many Coloradans have lost family members and friends to this deadly virus, and we honor and celebrate their lives especially because many victims couldn’t have proper in-person funerals, remembrances, and wakes,” said Polis said in a statement. “This is a challenging moment for many of our friends and neighbors and to those Coloradans who are struggling: you are not alone and we are all in this together. We still have work to do to stop the spread of this virus and can defeat this virus by staying home as much as possible, wearing facial masks when in public, and washing our hands regularly. Together we can avoid burying and remembering more Coloradans far too early.”

Click here for the live blog from Thursday, May 14, 2020.