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A look back at 2020 and COVID-19 in Colorado

Posted at 1:37 PM, Jan 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-01 15:52:35-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Undoubtedly the biggest story in 2020 is something we're still living through: the COVID-19 pandemic. And in a matter of months, it's impacted nearly every part of our lives.

Coronavirus dominated international headlines at the beginning of 2020 as we learned about it in other parts of the world, starting in China and making its way across Asia and Europe.

And by March, a lot changed when we learned of our first case of the coronavirus here in Colorado, major sporting events were canceled and schools decided to take an extended break which led to full-on remote learning for many.

In a matter of days, test sites were up and procedures were changing in public spaces with social distancing and cleaning practices put in place. And by mid-March, a Colorado woman in El Paso County died from COVID-19 that was traced back to a bridge tournament in the county.

State lawmakers suspended the legislative session and with case counts high in mountain towns, ski resorts were shut down. This shutdown was also followed by closures of gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, bars and casinos, putting thousands out of work.

Then, more test sites opened up in the state, including one in Pueblo. Near the end of March, Gov. Jared Polis announced a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the virus as the state passed more than 2,000 positive cases in a matter of weeks.

The start of a new month brought with it tragedy as an El Paso County sheriff's deputy died from the virus. And as many in-person events were canceled, the Air Force Academy held a socially distanced, outdoor graduation with no families present, instead watching their cadets graduate from the comfort of their homes.

Masks then became another way to slow the spread with local leaders, encouraging Coloradans to wear them in public spaces.

In mid-April, protesters descended on the State Capitol in opposition of the stay-at-home orders. After a month at home, the state began to move into the "Safer at Home" phases, slowly reopening some businesses, offices and elective medical procedures.

By mid-May, testing expanded in the state to allow anyone with symptoms to receive a test and restaurants were allowed to reopen with guidelines in place.

As some counties fared better than others with variances for tourist attractions were granted, including rafting in Fremont County, places of worship in El Paso County also received a variance in May and the economy started to rebound as more industries were able to get back to work.

After Memorial Day, cases across the country and in some parts of the state saw an increase as protests over police brutality caused concern for public health officials as crowds of thousands gathered in public.

The summertime also brought a new trend in transmission of the virus, primarily between young adults.

In July, cities began adding mask mandates in an effort to mitigate the virus with discussions underway in Colorado Springs. By mid-July, it was mandated at the state level in all indoor spaces.

Then, conversations over the summer shifted to how kids would return to school, if at all. Some districts opted to begin the school year remotely while other schools, particularly smaller ones, adopted other practices to meet in person and some colleges and universities also decided to meet in person.

In October, President Donald Trump tested positive for the virus, even getting sent to Walter Reed Medical Center, as a spread of the virus was linked to the Supreme Court nomination announcement at the White House.

As we entered the fall, cases began to rise in southern Colorado, especially in Pueblo County where leaders eventually put in place a COVID-19 curfew. More restrictions were placed on businesses as we moved levels on the state's COVID-19 dial. The state would later add an additional level ahead of a stay-at-home order.

As we enter 2021, there's some optimism in the progress of the virus as vaccines are administered to healthcare workers, long-term care facility employees and residents, and the elderly in Colorado.

As for what happens next, we'll discover in the months to come.
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