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Latest COVID-19 in Colorado: Commissioners approve 2 new variance requests

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Posted at 5:48 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 23:03:36-04

COLORADO — The statewide total of COVID-19 cases stands at 25,121 as of Thursday afternoon, with 1,421 deaths among people who had the virus. Of those, 1,168 are directly due to COVID-19. To date, 4,254 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.

Colorado Springs and Pueblo have both set up hotlines for people to call with questions about COVID-19. In Colorado Springs, call 719-575-8888 or the United Way 2-1-1 hotline. In Pueblo, call 719-583-4444.

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Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.
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Thursday, May 28

8:30 p.m. | El Paso County Commissioners approve two variance requests

El Paso County Commissioners have approved two new variance requests to submit to the state for reopening.

They seek to allow places of worship to hold in-person servicees, as well as permission to reopen the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, one of the biggest attractions in the Pikes Peak Region.

"I'm hopeful that we can do this and not have any problems and go on the next step and not have any issues there, which means we get to go to the next step and the next step. and then we get this county up and operating as soon as absolutely, as possibly we can," said Board of Commissioners Chair Mark Waller.

The county has already had two variances approved by the state: one for restaurants to begin allowing dine-in customers again, and one giving local school districts approval to hold graduation ceremonies.

4:30 p.m. | Gov. Polis provides update on state response to COVID-19

Governor Polis again emphasized the importance of staying at home for older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions during his update on the state's response to COVID-19 Thursday afternoon.

“While Colorado is returning to greater normalcy and more Coloradans safely return to work, older Coloradans and those with underlying health conditions should continue staying home as much as possible,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are proud of the progress Coloradans have made over the last months, but everyone needs to continue taking the serious necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our neighbors. We are all in this together, and we will get through this together. This is a difficult time for many people in our state, but we can’t lose sight of what is at stake if we don’t follow social distancing protocols, wash our hands, or wear masks when leaving the house.”

The Governor's mother, 76-year-old Susan, joined him via video chat for part of the briefing. She has been staying at home since early March and will continue to do so through June. The pair discussed ways to communicate with family members and loved ones during this time.

The Governor also announced that the state's Care Facility Task Force has completed 747 infection control surveys, including 100% of all nursing homes in the state. These surveys are a critical part of helping the state track the spread of coronavirus.

He also applauded the announcement extending the Colorado National Guard's federal deployment until mid-August. Their deployment was previously set to end after 89 days, one day short of the 90-day threshold for retirement and education benefits.

Governor Polis also highlighted Johnny B. Good's Diner in Steamboat Springs as part of the "Can-Do Colorado" Campaign.

Watch the entire news conference on Governor Polis's Facebook page

9 a.m.| Commissioners discuss variance requests for places of worship, zoo

7 a.m.| El Paso County commissioners to discuss variance requests for places of worship, zoo

El Paso County Board of County Commissioners are meeting this morning and part of the discussion are two variance requests regarding places of worship and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. You can view the meeting, which begins at 9 a.m., by clicking here.

6 a.m.| Local experts share resources to help face stress fueling addiction, binge eating

Even as parts of Colorado begin to reopen, many people continue to work from home and still feel isolated. Health experts fear some of us may be turning to food, alcohol, or even drugs to manage those emotions, but there are ways we can rebound from the challenges to protect ourselves and our families from addiction.

Wednesday, May 27

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

24,767 cases
4,196 hospitalized
60 counties
160,796 people tested
271 outbreaks
1,392 deaths among cases
1,135 deaths due to COVID-19

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

3:45 p.m. | U.S. deaths from COVID-19 now at 100,000

The U.S. has reached another grim milestone amid the coronavirus pandemic, as deaths linked to the disease topped 100,000 on Wednesday, according to a database kept by Johns Hopkins University.

All U.S. deaths linked to the virus have occurred since February — a span of just three months.

Read the full story here.

3:30p.m. | Cheyenne Frontier Days canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

For the first time in its 124-year history, Cheyenne Frontier Days has been canceled.

Billed as the world's largest outdoor rodeo, the popular event will not go on as scheduled in July due to COVID-19 concerns, event organizers announced Wednesday.

Ticket sales have been suspended and ticket holders will have the option of either getting a refund or using them for next year's Frontier Days. More information can be found here.

3:20 p.m. | Colorado Democrats approve resolutions to allow for remote voting during public health disasters

Colorado lawmakers on Wednesday approved, on party-line votes, resolutions to allow the House and Senate to vote remotely during floor sessions during public health disaster emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The House and Senate resolutions allow the House Speaker and Senate President to allow remote participation and voting on the floor during declared public health emergencies, but do not apply to committees, where lawmakers and citizens will have to show up in person in order to testify and speak.

The Senate rules require one of several conditions be met in order for a senator to participate remotely. Senators would have to be in an increased risk group, have a member of their household who is part of an increased risk group whom the senator would come into contact with, or be exhibiting symptoms of COID-19 or had exposure to someone with the virus.

Republicans did not support either measure, arguing that the lawmakers were elected to serve their constituents in person at the Capitol. The GOP lawmakers have sparred with Democrats, who hold the majority in both chambers, over rules regarding returning to the Capitol and remote or proxy voting.

Democratic leaders said Wednesday that the passage of the resolutions will allow members who are most at-risk from the novel coronavirus to do their jobs without putting themselves or others at risk.

3 p.m. | Safer-at-home guidelines extended

Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday extended and amended the state's safer-at-home guidance, allowing additional businesses such as dine-in restaurants, private campgrounds and summer and day camps to open with abundant precautions. The orders also urge anyone over the age of 60 to stay home as much as possible.

Under the amended order, ski resorts are able to work with their local health agency to discuss reopening.

9 a.m. | CDC: Some coronavirus antibodies tests only half accurate

The CDC has recently issued guidance indicating that up to nearly one half of antibody tests are inaccurate. While early indications are that having antibodies offers some protection against reinfection, the CDC said too little is known about antibodies to determine whether it is safe for a person to no longer need to conduct social distancing. Additionally, the CDC said that a positive test should not be used at this time to determine if an individual is immune.

6:55 a.m.| Rocky Mountain National Park will begin its reopening phase Wednesday

Rocky Mountain National Park, the most popular National Park in Colorado, announced more details Tuesday morning about its phased reopening, which begins on Wednesday. Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) will reopen with limited services, per guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health officials, park officials said. The park closed to all visitors on March 20.

5:40 a.m.| Dining out during a pandemic: Restaurant changes made for customers and patrons

With restaurants starting to reopen across the state, many people may wonder what dining out will look like with all the new regulations. News5 went to Edelweiss Restaurant, which has been open since Sunday, to learn more about what changes customers can expect.

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The Rebound Colorado: Relieve. Respond. Revive.

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 COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.