Coronavirus in Colorado: Emergency declaration extended 30 additional days

Posted at 5:28 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-10 20:09:56-04

The statewide total of COVID-19 cases stands at 19,703 as of Sunday afternoon, including 971 deaths. To date, 3,631 people have been hospitalized since the start of the pandemic.

Check 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.

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Sunday, May 10

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado

19,703 cases
3,631 hospitalized
60 counties
104,077 people tested
174 outbreaks
971 deaths

Find the latest information from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment here.

3:00 p.m. | Continued recycling encouraged during COVID-19

We've all changed our daily routines during the pandemic and it's showing up in our trash.

Officials at the Midway Landfill said they see 1,800 tons of trash every day and it hasn't slowed down despite businesses being closed. Instead, the commercial trash has now switched to residential.

Waste Management also has a recycling facility in Colorado Springs. People can sign up for recycling along with trash collection.

The company wants to remind you that containers must be cleaned before they go in the bin. If containers are dirty, they can't be recycled.

1:00 p.m. | UFC 249 ushers in fan-free, mask-filled era of sports (AP)

Kicks, punches and grunts echoed through the empty arena. Coaches, commentators and camera clicks resonated like never before. Blood, sweat, swollen eyelids and face masks signaled the return of UFC, the first major sporting event to resume since the coronavirus shuttered much of the country for nearly two months.

UFC 249 ushered in a new look for sports, too. One without fans and amid several safety precautions.

Saturday, May 9

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado

19,375 cases
3,623 hospitalized
59 counties
100,610 people tested
174 outbreaks
967 deaths

Find the latest information from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment here.

1:00 p.m. | US approves new coronavirus antigen test with fast results

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement.

The antigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA.

Friday, May 8

3:49 p.m. | Gov. Polis extends state emergency declaration 30 days

Governor Polis has extended the state's Emergency Disaster Declaration for another 30 days. That allows the state government to dedicate extra resources to COVID-19 response statewide.

That move also extends the call-up of the Colorado National Guard to support those efforts.

Gov. Polis said he will provide more details in the next two weeks on what the full reopening of things like bars and restaurants could look like.

"When we laid out what May would look like we put out a goal of opening restaurants in May," Gov. Polis said. "I'm still confident that could occur, but it's data we don't have yet."

He said based on current information the weekend of May 22 is a possibility.

When asked what threshold would be necessary for the state to go back into the Stay-at-Home phase, Gov. Polis said that is based on hospital capacity.

He also emphasized the importance of wearing masks and reminded residents the importance of social distancing even as we look to take in the the outdoors for which our state is famous.

9:40 a.m. | Gov. Polis update at 1 p.m.

As the Denver metro area counties and Pitkin County move to safer at home starting Saturday, Gov. Polis has announced two new online initiatives -- and

Connect to Care Jobs has opened to encourage any healthcare job seekers to find immediate openings. By following the link to the website, people are able to connect and either find openings or to find help for their facility.

The Can Do Colorado initiative has been implemented to provide guidance and additional tips for businesses reopening in the upcoming week. Gov. Polis stressed the need to wear masks and remain socially distant, including in the workplace. Though Colorado's numbers are great as of right now, the real test will be when some return to work next Monday.

"The current data says we have no alarms and we are meeting benchmarks. However, this is early indicator," said Gov. Polis.

It is important to be responsible--honor spacing requirements and wear a mask. He encourages those that are returning to the office to stagger their shifts and maintain social distancing. While the state is excited to return to "normal," all facilities need to have a plan in place for more sustainable living over time.

In order to see if the safer-at-home order is truly effective, Gov. Polis needs to see number of cases and hospitalizations to confirm, especially with Denver moving to the safer-at-home order this Saturday.

Though the data indicates Coloradans are hitting the benchmark, the data is not able to determine if people are social distancing or wearing masks.

Maintaining this progress is important, especially for hospitals.

"We monitor hospital capacity every day," said Gov. Polis. "We are working with hospitals to expand capacity by about 20%."

When asked about the reopening of schools in the Fall and how he expects schools to proceed, Gov. Polis said,

"We expect schools to resume in person classes in the fall. For those who don't want to do that, we are working to provide the guidance for safe classroom discussion (smaller class sizes, staggered schedule, spaced desks, etc). We are working closely with the CDE to reopen schools in the fall."

El Paso County just submitted a variance for Gov. Polis' review, detailing the course of action schools would take regarding 2020 graduations. Gov. Polis plans to have these graduations similar to that of the Air Force Academy--outdoors and separated. Families will not be able to attend, but will have the option to watch graduations virtually from home. Working alongside the State Department, Gov. Polis plan to honor this right of passage for the 2020 graduates, but in a manner that abides by the safer-at-home order.

A top priority has been nursing homes and their employees. The Colorado National Guard and Colorado State University have provided testing across the state in an effort to remove anyone that is symptomatic to isolation. Compliance has been raised; nursing homes needed to submit plans of action along with wearing masks. Personal protection has been provided to these facilities.

In regards to the outbreaks in correctional facilities, Gov. Polis stated it is due to the mass number of people in a confined space, making them vulnerable to outbreak. Action has been taken, and all inmates, prison guards, employees and other employees must wear masks. Anyone that is symptomatic is moved to isolation, but rest assured, no dangerous criminals are being let out.

Gov. Polis is optimistic that restaurants will open in May. Though the data is not conclusive, he hopes to have restaurants open before Memorial Day Weekend.

In addition to the opening of restaurants, Gov. Polis is optimistic that parks and wildlife will soon open with respect to the counties in which they reside. Though recreation has been open throughout this crisis, the issue of traveling across the state is still a cause for concern. While many want to visit, precautions to minimize risk and safety dangers are still in place to limit exposure to these residential communities. They are not ready for visitors across the state, country, or world.

For those that have lost their health care coverage, Gov. Polis encourages people to visit to see health care coverage options.

8:30 a.m. | Colorado to get more than $11 million to expand testing capabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Colorado $11,740,936 in grants to expand its capabilities for COVID-19 testing.

This is in addition to the more than $10 million that was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April to increase Colorado’s testing capability. Click here for a breakdown of the $11 million.

8:05 a.m. | Polis extends disaster emergency declaration

Today, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extended the Disaster Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 by signing Executive Order DD 2020 058, which can be read here.

This order extends the state of disaster emergency and provides additional funds for response activities. It also extends the employment of the Colorado National Guard to support the state and local authorities.

6:30 a.m. | 20.5 million jobs were wiped away from American payrolls in April, unemployment up to 14.7 percent

20.5 million jobs were wiped away from American payrolls in April, according to the Department of Labor's monthly jobs report as the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent.

Prior to April, the U.S. economy was working at nearly full employment with an unemployment rate of about 4.4 percent.

The stunning figures shatter all-time job loss records. According to The Washington Post, the previous one-month increase in job losses was about 2.2 million — which came in the months after World War II.

6:00 a.m. | Happening today: The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, OneRepublic to play at Colorado Gives Back concert

The Lumineers are bringing some of the biggest names in the state for Colorado Gives Back, a livestream benefit concert that will raise money to help workers in the industry as well as restaurant employees affected by COVID-19. The concert is today starting at 1 p.m.

Nathaniel Ratliffe, OneRepublic, Jewel and many other musical guests will share the Red Rocks Stage. At the Mile High Stage, you'll hear from retired Broncos MVP Peyton Manning, Nolan Arenado (from the Colorado Rockies), Mikaela Shiffrin and more. Gov. Jared Polis and former Gov. John Hickenlooper will also be in attendance. You can watch it live on the Colorado Gives Back YouTube channel.

5:25 a.m. | Front Range counties move to Safer at Home

The counties of Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Pitkin and Jefferson have all so far announced they will move to safer at home starting Saturday.

The counties extended their stay-at-home orders through May 8 in order to further flatten the curve of COVID-19 in their areas and to take more time to prepare for businesses to reopen in the heavily-populated counties. But much of the rest of the state moved to the safer at home phase starting April 27, when retailers were allowed to open to curbside delivery.

In counties that have already moved to safer at home, such as El Paso, Pueblo and Teller counties, retailers and personal services were allowed to reopen May 1 with strict guidelines, and businesses were allowed to bring back up to 50% of their workforces to workspaces starting Monday.

5 a.m. | Happening today: Private family funeral for Paul Cary

Today, the family of Paul Cary will hold a private funeral for him. Cary, a Colorado paramedic, volunteered to fight coronavirus in New York City. He died at age 66 from complications with COVID-19. .

His son Chris Cary wrote a statement that was shared with media. It reads, in part:

As I talk with more people that knew my father, it is apparent of the impact he had on so many lives. An overwhelming sense of peace calms me as I know he was doing what he was called to do. One struggle is knowing there isn’t enough time for me to thank everyone involved or to impact these superheroes lives’ in the same way they have impacted my family’s life. All I can offer is a simple and heartfelt thank you for honoring my Father, family and all you do on a daily basis. Not only does this shed an intense light on my father’s life, but focus has been placed on health care workers, EMS, police, fire, military, and teachers who don’t get the credit and gratitude they deserve. To all of you, I end with a very humble thank you!

12:00 a.m. | County health department moves forward with cease and desist order towards restaurants

The El Paso County Health Department said Thursday it is proceeding forward with a "cease and desist" order against Karen's Kafe And Stephanie's Bar and Grill in Calhan.

As of Thursday evening, the businesses were still operating with customers inside the dining room.

A spokesperson for El Paso County Public Health confirms complaints were made about the two eateries. Keith Siemsen, the environmental health division director for El Paso County Public Health, explained that there is a notification process that occurs whenever a complaint is received about a business violating a public health order. They will contact that business owner and provide them with additional education and clarification.

If that business continues to operate in a way that violates an order, they will make a follow up contact with the owner either over the phone, through email or an in-person visit for a more detailed conversation. Continued violations of the health order can lead to the department issuing a Notice of Determination.

"What that is is just basically a document that's given to the operation so that a written record that they are aware that we, El Paso County Public Health, have made a [determination] that they're operating outside of compliance with a public health order," Siemsen said.

READ MORE: County health department moves forward with cease and desist order

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Get the latest from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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.

People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019 can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 for answers in many languages. Email for answers in English.