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Latest COVID-19 updates in Colorado: Polis: Virus contingency plans key for schools reopening

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Posted at 7:02 AM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 08:42:43-04

COLORADO — The statewide total of COVID-19 cases stands at 28,347 as of Tuesday afternoon, with 1,553 deaths among people who had the virus. Of those, 1,312 are directly due to COVID-19. To date, 5,025 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.

Tuesday, June 9

4 p.m.| Colorado couples face tough decisions while wedding planning during COVID-19 pandemic

Months of planning and thousands of dollars hang in the balance for couples who were hoping to say "I do" this year.

3 p.m.| Polis: Virus contingency plans key for schools reopening

Colorado’s public schools will need to be flexible about reopening classroom instruction this fall by keeping remote learning options available for students at schools that have coronavirus outbreaks, the governor and the state’s chief epidemiologist told the education board Monday.

2:30 p.m.| NASCAR to welcome 1,000 troops this weekend, 5,000 fans next weekend
NASCAR is on track to be the first major professional sports league in the US to welcome back fans to its venues.

2 p.m.| If approved, COVID-19 vaccine patch could eliminate painful shot

With over 160 vaccines in development, the race to defeat COVID-19 continues. A California company hopes to deliver its vaccine to your mailbox; one that is pain-free and doesn't require a needle and syringe.

12:15 p.m.| Gov. Polis to give COVID-19 update

Gov. Jared Polis is scheduled to give a COVID-19 update this afternoon at 12:45 p.m. News5 will be streaming this on Facebook and online.

The legislatures are working on a budget for June amidst the health and economic deficit Colorado has faced due to COVID-19. Governor Polis is working to rebuild businesses and the economy with a small business relief program, unemployment program, and sick leave for those affected by coronavirus. The COVID-19 Relief Fund has already raised $18.9 million, $14 million to support every county in the state. Half the workers are still telecommuting without sacrificing any productivity, which the governor believes Coloradanas can do for some time.

If anyone is in need of a coronavirus test, there are 46 free testing centers available.

Gov. Polis says that Colorado needs to be prepared should there be a second wave, which is why people need to continue to maintain social distancing, wear masks, and take additional precautions to stay safe. He stated that the Colorado is doing periodical updates on personal protection equipment.

Polis also addressed the nearly unanimous vote to pass a police reform and accountability measure brought in the wake of the death of George Floyd and massive demonstrations across the state calling for better accountability for officers and an end to racial injustice.

"This is the people of Colorado working together to pass a major reform bill with a nearly unanimous vote. It really shows what Coloradans can do when we roll up our sleeves and tackle a problem together," said Polis.

Polis also addressed the legislature meeting in which the budget for June was discussed. With fire season approaching and schools to be in session in August, the governor ensures that the legislatures are hard at work to have the budget finalized by the end of June. In addition, the legislatures will allocate funds to small businesses and hourly workers that have struggled through the pandemic. They have created a loan relief fund, small business grant program, working on paid sick leave, and using the coronavirus relief funds.

12 p.m.| Pikes Peak Community College announces in-person classes will resume in the fall

Pikes Peak Community College announced this afternoon that in-person classes will be held at all three campuses for the fall semester, which begins Aug. 24. They will continue to offer in-person, online and hybrid class options for students.

The college said it will follow guidance in place by the state and local health departments to help maintain safety.

11:35 a.m.| El Paso County Health creating plans with schools to let family, friends attend graduation ceremonies

El Paso County health officials announced Tuesday they are coordinating with local superintendents to develop a graduation plan that allows families and friends to attend ceremonies that were already scheduled for this week.

9:45 a.m.| El Paso County Public Health presents variance request at commissioner meeting

While gyms and some activities have already been reopened under state guidelines, the county is seeking to allow more capacity and include other guidelines. Dr. Susan Wheelan, director of El Paso County Public Health, said in Tuesday's meeting that the county's shift from state guidelines is looking more at percentage capacity than number caps.

Wheelan said this variance request is different than previous requests. "This is the biggest variance we have proposed yet," she said. Dr. Robin Johnson, El Paso County Public Health medical director, began the presentation by emphasizing factors needed to move forward. The health department is taking into account anticipated and unanticipated effects of reopening.

The department is encouraging people to continue social distancing measures, sanitizing services, and they will keep up contact tracing to track disease spread.

Dr. Leon Kelly, who is acting as deputy medical director for El Paso County Public Health, announced parents and families will be able to attend graduation ceremonies for those beginning Thursday. Kelly said between this Thursday and Saturday, the county will see nine ceremonies. He said the number of family members who can attend depends on the size of the venue.

9 a.m| Colorado Democrats introduce 14 COVID-19 response bills to aid recovery

Colorado Democrats unveiled a COVID-19 response package to help the state recover from the worst pandemic it’s seen in more than a century.

8:10 a.m.| El Paso County commissioners to vote on variance to reopen multiple facilities

Attractions, theaters and malls are among the many businesses included in a "sweeping" reopening variance El Paso County commissioners will vote on Tuesday morning.

This variance request will be the fourth sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health for approval in an effort to reopen more of the county. It will seek to reopen "gyms, athletic facilities, theaters, indoor malls, indoor and outdoor activities, attractions, the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge, libraries, and small private special events."

7 a.m.| Outdoor World Arena events to provide boost for local businesses, community mental health

Locked down snack bars and empty seats are the reality inside sports and entertainment venues in Colorado and across the country in the wake of coronavirus.

Monday, June 8

6:25 p.m.| Cripple Creek casinos can reopen next week

After months of being temporarily shut down due to COVID-19, casinos in Cripple Creek will soon be able to welcome back gambling fans.

6 p.m.| Denver Zoo to reopen with new safety guidelines

The Denver Zoo is set to reopen after being closed since March 17 due to COVID-19.

3 p.m.| WHO: Asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 ‘very rare.’ Leading expert disagrees

A World Health Organization leader said on Monday that it has found data that suggests that asymptomatic spread of the coronavirus is “very rare," while another expert cautioned the findings.

11:15 a.m.| Rise in robotics is helping companies survive the pandemic

Businesses across the country are being forced to close permanently in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, but many companies who specialize in robotics and artificial intelligence say their phones are ringing off the hook because of the pandemic.

9:55 a.m.| State approves Teller County variance request to reopen casinos
Teller County announced Monday its variance request to reopen casinos and other establishments has been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health.

At this time, the opening of slot machines is the only approval from the state health department in casinos. The state health department also approved the reopening of movie theaters, places of worship and gyms.

7 a.m.| Colorado Springs start-up navigates COVID-19 pandemic

A start-up business is working its way through the pandemic to see the light at the other side and help create opportunities for minority women and military spouses. Sharai Johnson, CEO of the start-up WeAssist, created work-from-home opportunities for businesses and assistants.

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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 COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.