COLORADO — The statewide total of COVID-19 cases stands at 20,838 as of Thursday afternoon, including 1,091 deaths. To date, 3,789 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.
Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.
Thursday, May 14
El Paso County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimous approval Thursday morning on a variance for limited in-person dining. The variance will now move along to the state health department to approve.
A squadron of more than 40 planes will fly over the Denver metro area Thursday for an aerial parade and fundraiser in support of Colorado frontline workers. Gov. Jared Polis and Mile High United Way coordinated the parade, along with Lockheed Martin, which offered to match up to $500,000 in donations to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund.
9 a.m.| El Paso County Health presents resolution for variance to allow limited in-person dining
El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan made a presentation to the Board of County Commissions of a plan outlining what limited in-person dining would look like if approved by the state health department. This resolution by the health department details how restaurants could reopen and still follow safe guidelines against the spread of COVID-19 in the county.
Wheelan said this what be a gradual approach to reopening the economy that was developed with help from the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association and the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation. "Our prevention measures have worked," she said in regards to the county's progress in comparison to the rest of the state.
"We will do this in a responsible way, protecting the health and safety of [El Paso County]," Wheelan said. She said because El Paso County is one of the most populous in the state, the health department reviewed other counties' variances to try and implement what is possible to accomplish.
Lori Seago, senior assistant county attorney of El Paso County, went through some items on the resolution. It lays out requirements restaurants will have to follow if they would like to reopen their dining areas. For seating inside and outside of the facility, there will need to be a total of 50 customers, or "customer occupancy" that will allow 6 feet of distance between seats or tables.
The initial resolution stated 75 customers, but the revised number is set to follow White House guidelines. Part of the reason the resolution was created was to help the restaurants who faced economic impacts due to the virus. Carry out or deliveries will not be impacted by the variance.
Every group seated at a restaurant would have to give the name and contact information of one adult in the event the health department would need to contact them. State public health law, that was in place before the virus, requires people to comply with epidemiologists. Commissioner Mark Waller proposed that this requirement, labeled 2C on the document, should be up to the restaurant to which Wheelan replied that it is important to hear from restaurant owners' perspectives.
Greg Howard, restaurant owner and president of the local Pikes Peak Chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association, said the item in the agenda regarding collection of information should be up to the restaurant. The language in the resolution was written to gain support from the hospitals to approve the resolution. Howard was emotional during his comment and said that the industry has taken a hit since March with the shutdown of restaurants in-person dining.
Commissioners were asking for a proposed amendment to 2C that would "highly encourage" restaurants to ask for customer information. The health department submitted an amended portion to include that language instead of requiring it.
District Attorney Dan May spoke at the meeting to clarify that violations of the health order will not be a criminal issue. The health department further clarified that enforcement would start with education and if they did not comply, they would place restrictions on business and liquor licenses.
Seago clarified that once there is state approval, the local health department will issue a public health order that will give restaurants time to prepare for the updated guidelines.
To say the coronavirus has turned our world upside down this spring is a bit of an understatement. To all you parents out there, we salute you. Take a deep breath because you’ve almost made it. You’re in the homestretch of homeschooling and summer is right around the corner. Of course, then begins the anxiety of what summer might look like this year. Will the pools be open? Can you dine out? Can you even visit the mountains?
The coronavirus pandemic and quarantine has impacted all of us in some way, but mental health experts say they're especially concerned about older adults in our lives. Many of them say they are feeling isolated and vulnerable, but there are steps we take to help them conquer these mental health battles.
Staying in isolation due to COVID-19 means older adults remain cut off from friends and extended family. Mental health experts are especially concerned about mental an emotional challenges facing those older adults.
Many counties in Colorado believe they are ready to reopen and should not have to wait on the rest of the state to start. News5 spoke with three different southern Colorado counties about the process of applying for variances from the safer-at-home order and what exactly they are asking for from the state.
Waller also told News5 the El Paso County Commissioners are voting on another variance on Thursday. That variance, if approved, would allow limited in-person dining at restaurants.
Wednesday, May 13
At Thursday's Board of County Commissioners meeting, El Paso County Public Health will present a resolution requesting a variance to allow for the limited reopening of in-person dining at restaurants.
4:30 p.m. | Gov. Jared Polis provides update after a meeting with President Trump at the White House to discuss COVID-19 response efforts
4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado
112,505 people tested
Find the latest information from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment here.
3:00 p.m. | Air National Guard to have second flyover on Friday
The Air Naitonal Guard is planning a second flyover in parts of Colorado on Friday. The Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing will conduct a second F-16 Fighting Falcon flyover from approximately 11:00 am - 12:45 p.m., primary in western Colorado. This flight will include healthcare facilities in Brighton, Granby, Kremmling, Rifle, Fruita, Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose, Cortez, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Alamosa, Trinidad, La Junta, and Parker, Colorado.
Approximate locations and times where the aircraft will be visible are:
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
All time windows may vary by 15 minutes or more
Another Colorado county is seeking reprieve from the state's safer at home order. Teller County submitted a request May 8, asking the state to grant them a variance from the order. The county says they made the request to help the economy start to reopen and recover. Before the request was submitted, the county said they "solicited input from local businesses and community members and spent considerable time and effort with the variance request to demonstrate the unique circumstances in Teller County that justify the granting of a variance from the Order."
There is no word yet if the request was granted. County leaders said they are hopeful the state will recognize they can be trusted to reopen.
Cerberus Brewing Company has created Howling for Heroes, a brew that they are offering for free to our first responders and healthcare workers. At the end of April, and continuing still, Cerberus started offering their new brew to frontline workers in an effort to say thank you for all the work they do to keep our community safe.
For Americans waiting for a stimulus check in the mail, the IRS is urging taxpayers to submit banking information by noon ET on Wednesday in order to get the check via direct deposit. Starting later this month, the number of paper checks being delivered to taxpayers will sharply increase, the IRS said. For many taxpayers, Wednesday will be the last last chance to obtain a direct deposit of their stimulus check rather than receive a paper check.
Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman who was convicted of tax fraud and conspiracy as part of the Mueller investigation, will serve out the remainder of his prison sentence at home, according to ABC News and CBS News. ABC News reports that Manafort was released FCI Loretto in Pennsylvania on Wednesday due to the spread of COVID-19 and will serve out the remainder of his seven-year sentence in home confinement.
KOAA is proud to partner with Denver7, our Denver sister station, for a special town hall featuring Gov. Jared Polis, the head of the Department of Labor and leaders with the Colorado Department of Public Health. News5 and Denver7 have been collecting questions from viewers to bring straight to Polis for tonight's town hall. Be sure to tune in at 6 p.m. or watch right on koaa.com.
By now, nearly 100 million Americans have received or will soon get a stimulus check. But millions of other people who desperately need money will not be able to participate in this part of the rebound. Young people, who are out there in the workplace, are not the only ones left behind when it comes to those much-needed $1,200 stimulus checks.
5 a.m.| Gov. Jared Polis to meet with President Trump
Gov. Jared Polis is scheduled to meet with President Trump at the White House today. The leaders will discuss Colorado's need for more federal support during the COVID-19 pandemic, including critical testing supplies and personal protective equipment.
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.