Latest COVID-19 updates: Some services open with strict precautions this week

Posted at 5:20 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-26 20:04:56-04

COLORADO — Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Colorado, with the statewide total at 12,968 cases as of Saturday afternoon, including 672 deaths and 2,410 people hospitalized.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a new site offering details on COVID-19 outbreaks in the state.

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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.

Sunday, April 26

5:30 p.m. | Polis issues Executive Order on Safer-at-Home

Sunday, Governor Polis issued Executive Orders on Safer-at-Home and Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and Procedures.

According to the Governor's Office, the Safer-at-Home Executive Order outline a new level in Colorado's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes more sustainable ways of living while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more people to return to work. The order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27 but can be amended or extended at any time.

Under the Safer-at-Home Order, Coloradans should continue to stay home as much as possible. The Order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home and only leaving when absolutely necessary.

4:00 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado

13,441 Cases
2,438 Hospitalized
57 Counties
63,274 People tested
680 Deaths
143 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

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

3:52 p.m. |Aurora Walmart allowed to reopen

A Walmart in Aurora closed after three people associated with the store died of COVID-19 has been given the green light to reopen. The Tri-County Health Department has permitted the Walmart Supercenter at 14000 East Exposition in Aurora to reopen Sunday. The department, which serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, said the Aurora store was cleaned and disinfected by a third party contractor over the weekend and has implemented an array of safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Saturday, April 25

4:00 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado

12,968 cases
2,410 hospitalized
57 counties
59,791 people tested**
672 deaths
141 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

PLEASE NOTE: The death toll was listed at 674 Friday after the CDPHE included older cases and probable deaths to the dataset. However, two deaths were removed from the set Saturday, bringing the total to 672. The CDPHE said the reduction was because a portion of probable deaths gathered from death certificate data were entered as duplicates.

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

1:20 p.m. | Colorado providing targeted testing in Weld County

Colorado is conducting targeted testing in Weld County through Tuesday. The state lab has dedicated capacity to run 300 samples per day from this event. Testing started Friday at Island Grove Park and will run through Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. each day and ending when 300 samples have been collected.

Testing is open to any Weld County resident with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, coughing, shortness of breath). Asymptomatic individuals will not be tested. The majority of tests will be administered through drive-up lanes. There will be a walk-thru lane for individuals not in a vehicle.

No appointment or doctor’s note is necessary. An ID is not required but is recommended for patient intake forms. The form will include basic information to help identify test samples.

The testing, coordinated by the State Emergency Operations Center and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, is being staffed by members of the Colorado National Guard and the Colorado State Patrol.

11:22 a.m. | At least 20 test positive for COVID-19 at long-term care facilities with no previous identified outbreaks

Colorado health officials announced Saturday the results of COVID-19 testing done at three long-term care facilities with no previous known outbreaks. Testing revealed at least 20 people (staff and residents) have the infection, and some results are still pending. The state provided tests to each facility to test staff and residents. Nearly 900 tests were administered.

Approximately 40% of Colorado’s COVID-19 fatalities are associated with long-term care facilities. As of Friday, there have been 134 facilities experiencing outbreaks of the virus across the state.

The state says this proactive testing strategy was instrumental in identifying previously unrecognized infections in the facilities.

4:30 p.m. | White House daily briefing

President Donald Trump said Friday that half of Americans live in states that have taken steps to reopen. He said as states reopen it's important Americans continue to follow guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing masks or facial coverings to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

The President signed the latest version of the CARES act to provide aid to small businessees suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill also includes $85 billion for hospitals.

Doctor Stephen Hahn from the Food and Drug Administration said the agency is paying close attention to safety, as well as validity and reliability of tests for coronavirus. He said the FDA is "laser-focused on working with industry experts and academia" in approving tests, both diagnostic and serologic, or tests for COVID-19 antibodies.

Dr. Hahn also said they are "leaving no stone unturned" in the search for treatments. So far the FDA has approved 72 trials for medications to treat COVID-19, and more than 200 are currently in planning stages.

Vice President Mike Pence said Friday 5.1 million Americans have now been tested for COVID-19.

"As testing increases dramatically across the country cases will increase as well," Vice President Pence cautioned. "People should not be discouraged by those numbers."

He said the White House Coronavirus Task Force continues to see positive progress in the fight against this pandemic.

1:15 p.m.| Gov. Jared Polis updates state on COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis reminded people of the new phase going into effect next week. Many services will reopen with strict precautions and some elective surgeries will be available as well.

When asked about the tests arriving this week, Polis said they would be used to test more of the workforce that are asymptomatic. He said this would be in part to keep our most vulnerable populations safe. He said moving from the stay-at-home order to safer at home is that there is an ability for county health departments to close down businesses if they are not following guidelines. Polis said there will be the opportunity for law enforcement and other agencies to enforce and keep people safe.

In response to a question about Weld County potentially disregarding restrictions as it reopens, Polis said he would not allow that and do what he will to protect the residents. Polis said there are guidelines set in the safer at home phase that should be followed. He said Weld County has a high number of cases and is a hotspot.

Polis said for workers who are able to return to their jobs but may be nervous to return, he said they should weigh the risks. If you need to make a living, you may do so in a safe manner. Those who fall under the vulnerable population should stay at home.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock extended the city's stay-at-home order earlier today and Polis said "no matter where you live in Colorado, you should stay at home." He said there are different situations across the state, but no matter where you live you should wear a mask if you are out. "If we're going to be effective in the stay-at-home phase, the number of people who wear masks needs to increase. Polis said the city's move was a thoughtful decision for the city to prepare for its eventual reopening.

With talks of a resurgence of another COVID-19 wave in the fall, Polis said the virus is likely to coexist with society, like the flu, and hopefully by that time there would be a vaccine. He is focused on making it through the summer and keeping up with hospital capacity. Polis said if counties are not treating this situation with importance, they could risk losing emergency funding.

10:45 a.m.| Trump signs $484 billion measure into law to aid employers, hospitals

President Donald Trump has signed a $484 billion bill that aids employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak has killed more than 50,000 Americans and devastated broad swaths of the economy.

10:35 a.m.|FDA: Hydroxychloroquine 'not been shown to be safe and effective' in treating COVID-19

The FDA issued a warning against the use of hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the coronavirus outside of a hospital or clinical trial.

According to the agency, the drug can cause "serious heart rhythm problems" in some patients, especially when used in combination with other drugs.

10:33 a.m.| Pueblo Zoo throwing free, virtual concert with local artists

In lieu of its annual Brew at the Zoo, the Pueblo Zoo is hosting a virtual concert on Facebook Saturday with local artists.

The live Facebook event will begin at 5 p.m. with a lineup including: Mark’s Midnight Carnival Show, Wayne Faust, The Family Juls, and Sunshine and the Segway Band. These bands will set up at the zoo and practice social distancing, according to the zoo.

10:30 a.m.| Gov. Jared Polis to give update on COVID-19

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is providing an update on COVID-19 response. He is expected to make additional comments on the transition from the stay at home order to the safer at home guidance which goes into place next week. News5 will be airing this live and streaming it on our Facebook page or streaming devices.

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10:20 a.m.| Provecho supports restaurants and community members

Provecho Fresh Mexican Cuisine which is working to promote other local restaurants as well as recognize the efforts of individuals who are working to give back and support the community in ways that they can.

Over the past few weeks, this Springs restaurant has been working to provide special deals to customers on top of purchasing food from other restaurants and using their own social media accounts to promote those businesses.

10:15 a.m.| Presient Donald Trump to sign $500 billion stimulus bill on Friday

President Donald Trump will be holding a signing ceremony Friday for a bill providing a nearly $500 billion infusion of coronavirus spending.

It's aimed at rushing new relief to employers and hospitals buckling under the strain of a pandemic that has claimed almost 50,000 American lives and one in six U.S. jobs.

10 a.m.| Aurora Walmart ordered to shut down due to employee COVID-19 cases, deaths

A Walmart in Aurora has been ordered to close by the health department Thursday after multiple confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths among employees, according to the Tri-County Health Department.

The Tri-County Health Department said they made the decision to close the store at 14000 East Exposition Avenue after multiple complaints from employees and shoppers about "the lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time, and employees not wearing masks or face coverings."

5:15 a.m.| COVID-19 survivor shares recovery story

A Utah man who got sick with Coronavirus during a ski trip in Colorado last month is opening up about how the symptoms impacted him in to raise awareness about the seriousness of the virus. Matt Newey and four of his friends were planning to spend a few days at Steamboat Springs when the resort unexpectedly shut down.

5:10 a.m.| Colorado unemployment payment delays to be resolved by Friday

Technical issues regarding unemployment payments are causing them to be delayed and will appear in bank accounts by Friday, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The department addressed these issues Thursday and said that this past Sunday's filings were "the largest single file in the history of the program."

5 a.m.| Second round of Paycheck Protection Program approved

A $484 billion coronavirus relief bill was passed on Thursday with over $320 billion going toward the second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans created by the CARES Act.

The money is designed to help small businesses stay afloat for two months and keep their employees working. News5 spoke with two local business owners about the PPP loans, one who is hoping for some financial relief from this new funding and another who received money the first time around.

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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.