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Coronavirus in Colorado updates for Dec. 12 - Dec. 20

Coronavirus Live Updates
Posted at 9:00 AM, Dec 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 12:50:52-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Colorado, leading many counties to shift to Safer at Home Level Red, meaning communities are at severe risk of transmission. News5 is keeping you up to date on restrictions and guidelines across the region, including updates on a statewide level.

More than 276,000 people have been infected with coronavirus in Colorado since the onset of the pandemic, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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.

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

Monday, December 14

The first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine have arrived in Colorado on their way to front line health care workers, treating COVID-19.

Governor Jared Polis is urging Colorado hospitals to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine within 72 hours of receiving shipments of it as the vaccine arrived in Colorado.

Allocations were based upon the population in each state and the quantity of ready-to-ship doses from the manufacturer. Colorado will receive 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and expects to receive 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Colorado's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan will be implemented in three phases, giving priority to the highest-risk healthcare workers and staff at long-term care facilities.

Statewide

Colorado is getting closer to receiving its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines. On Dec. 9, Governor Jared Polis and Incident Commander with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Scott Bookman announced Colorado is expecting the first shipment of 46,800 doses of Pfizer vaccines between Dec. 13-16. The state anticipates 95,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine the following week.

The two vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses, the second dose on day 21 and 28, respectively, and both have around a 95% efficacy.

As for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, we can expect high-risk health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents to get the vaccine first, followed by moderate-risk health care workers and first responders.

Then in phase 2, which is expected to happen in the springs, the vaccine will be given to higher-risk individuals and essential workers. Finally, the general public is expected to get the vaccine this summer.

The governor's office announced last week that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has started to issue one-time stimulus payments of $375 to Coloradans facing economic hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor's office said Coloradans who received weekly unemployment benefits between $25 to $500 between March 15, 2020, and October 24, 2020, will be eligible for the one-time payment.

"It may take several days for claimants to receive their one-time payment, depending on their bank's direct deposit guidelines and method of payment preference on file," the release stated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases, joined Gov. Jared Polis last Tuesday afternoon to discuss the state of COVID-19 in Colorado and the anticipated surge in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Monday, a special legislative session may bring some economic relief to the pockets of Coloradans thanks to stronger than anticipated sales revenue. But lawmakers say it will be just a stop-gap measure until Congress passes a second stimulus bill.

On Saturday, Nov. 29, Gov. Jared Polis announced via social media that both he and First Gentleman Marlon Reis have tested positive for COVID-19. The statement released by Polis said both he and Reis are asymptomatic and feeling well. They will continue to isolate at their home.

The State of Colorado recently rolled out an update to the COVID-19 dial used to gauge Safer at Home versus Stay at Home. There's a new level beyond Red which now represents severe risk. The purple status is now considered the extreme risk category. The changes to note the red status are the number of cases per 100,000 people, the positivity rate, and hospital capacity. Purple is when hospitals are being overwhelmed.

Updated Colorado COVID-19 dial

The following counties are under Level Orange (High Risk), meaning restaurants can only be at 25% capacity (or up to 50 people) inside. The office workforce will be reduced to 25% capacity. Gyms must sit at 25% capacity or up to 25 people. Retail stores must also be at 25% capacity.

  • Teller
  • Fremont
  • Custer
  • Park
  • Chaffee
  • Lake
  • Pitkin
  • Eagle
  • Grand
  • Elbert
  • Lincoln
  • Kit Carson
  • Cheyenne
  • Yuma
  • Phillips
  • Costilla
  • Conejos
  • Rio Grande
  • Mineral
  • San Juan
  • Ouray
  • Montezuma
  • Montrose
  • Delta
  • Garfield
  • Eagle
  • Grand
  • Moffat

The following counties now fall under Severe Risk. In these counties, indoor dining is temporarily closed, though takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining are allowed. If you do go for outdoor dining, it should only be with family. Bars remain close and gyms can operate at 10% capacity. Last call for alcohol would be at 8 p.m.

  • Baca
  • Prowers
  • Bent
  • Otero
  • Las Animas
  • Kiowa
  • Crowley
  • Huerfano
  • Alamosa
  • Pueblo
  • El Paso
  • Douglas
  • Arapahoe
  • Adams
  • Jefferson
  • Denver
  • Broomfield
  • Boulder
  • Clear Creek
  • Summit
  • Washington
  • Morgan
  • Logan
  • Sedgwick
  • Weld
  • Larimer
  • Routt
  • Mesa
  • San Miguel
  • La Plata
  • Archuleta

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado:

  • 260,581 cases
  • 14,868 hospitalized
  • 1,633 patients currently hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19
  • 64 counties
  • 1,858,341 people tested
  • 3,478,160 test encounters
  • 3,356 deaths among cases
  • 2,724 deaths due to COVID-19
  • 2,386 outbreaks

The mandatory mask-wearing requirement for Colorado is in effect until December 11. This order has remained in place since July on a continual basis, per executive orders from Gov. Jared Polis. An estimated one in 41 Coloradans are contagious with coronavirus, up from one in 49 last week and a large increase from an estimated one in 110 in recent weeks.

Read more:

If you are considering travel for the holidays, click here for information on COVID-19 restrictions in every state.

EL PASO COUNTY: Safer at Home: Level Red (Severe Risk)

El Paso County COVID-19 testing sites, all free

  • Citadel Mall Testing Site, 750 Citadel Mall, in the parking lot just south of JCPenney

Monday – Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • North Colorado Springs Testing Site, 2070 Interquest Pkwy (PPCC Rampart Campus, southeast of the campus) Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Fountain Testing Site, 6436 US Highway 85-87

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Falcon/Peyton Testing Site, 12072 Royal County Down Road (Behind Falcon Fire Station 1)

Tuesday and Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced that El Paso County will be moving to Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial scale on Friday, Nov. 27, at 5 p.m.
Under Level Red the guidelines are as follows:

  • Personal gatherings involving members from multiple households aren't allowed.
  • Restaurants are limited to outdoor dining online,
  • Gyms are limited to 10% capacity, bars are closed. Last call at other establishments serving alcohol is 8 p.m.,
  • Personal services will be at 25% capacity
  • Retail is limited to 50% capacity,
  • Places of worship are limited to 25% capacity indoors. Outdoors parties must maintain 6 feet of social distancing
  • Schools can remain open, but they're encouraged to go to hybrid or remote learning as appropriate.

Schools

  • District 49, District 11, and Academy District 20 have all moved to e-learning for the remainder of the fall semester. Elementary students in D20 will transition to e-learning after the Thanksgiving break. Harrison School District 2 moves to e-learning after the Thanksgiving break.
  • Widefield D3 moves grades 3-12 to distance learning after the Thanksgiving break. Preschool to K2 will continue in-person learning. K-12 students with special services will continue in-person services and learning. Specific information will be sent out from your child's school.
  • Starting Wed., Nov. 18, Pikes Peak Library District locations will be open by reservation only. Curbside service will still be available. Visit ppld.org/COVID-19 to learn more.
  • El Paso County officials are launching an educational campaign as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. The county said #SmallActs, the campaign kicking off Monday, will encourage residents to perform small acts "that can make a big impact on stopping the spread of the coronavirus cases."

Find the latest from the El Paso County Public Health

PUEBLO COUNTY: Safer at Home: Level Red (Severe Risk)

Restrictions

  • The City of Pueblo is currently under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Jan. 1, 2021.
  • Under this level, indoor dining is closed. Take out, curbside, delivery, or to go, will be available. Outdoor dining is open with only groups of your own household. Bars are closed on this level.
  • Restaurants can only be at 25% capacity (or up to 50 people) inside. The office workforce will be reduced to 25% capacity. Gyms must sit at 25% capacity or up to 25 people. Retail stores must also be at 25% capacity.
  • For a break down of capacity on Level Red, click here.

Schools

  • District 60 high schools are conducting distance or remote learning for the remainder of the fall semester. Students in grades PreK-8 will also transition to distance learning following Thanksgiving break on November 30.
  • District 70 moved to remote learning on Nov 11. Meal services will continue with distribution at each school site from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two-days worth of food will be given on Tuesdays and three days worth will be given on Thursdays in a bundle. Those in Rye can pick up their meal bundles at Rye Elementary or Craver Middle School. On top of the meal pickups during the day, the district will also offer its Supper Program on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Find the latest information from the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment

TELLER COUNTY: Safer at Home: Level Orange (High Risk)

Restrictions

  • Restaurants can only be at 25% capacity (or up to 50 people) inside. The office workforce will be reduced to 25% capacity. Gyms must sit at 25% capacity or up to 25 people. Retail stores must also be at 25% capacity.
  • Jury trials are suspended until next year in El Paso and Teller counties as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.
  • Andrew Wommack Ministries is the subject of a preliminary injunction to require compliance with the state's COVID-19 public health orders.
  • Casinos in Cripple Creek will not be required to close their doors.

Schools

  • Woodland Park School District is under Phase 3 High Control. Read more on the district's Reintegration Plan
  • Cripple Creek-Victor schools are under remote learning for K-5 starting November 15 through the end of the fall semester. Junior High and High School classes transitioned to all remote last week. Read the superintendent's letter.

Find the latest information from the Teller County Health Department

FREMONT COUNTY:

Fremont County moved into Level Orange: High Risk on the state's COVID-19 dial on Friday, Dec. 4

For a county to operate within the Level Orange: High-Risk level on the COVID-19 dial, the county would have to have a 15% positivity rate or less, 175-350 cases per 100,000 people, and greater than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day.

As of Tuesday, the county said it is seeing a two-week incidence rate of 2,258 per 100,000 cases, a positivity rate of 11.3% and a stable hospitalization rate for 10 days

Under this dial level, restaurants will operate at 25% capacity indoors with 6 feet between parties outdoors per guidance and bars will be closed.

For a break down of capacity on Level Orange, click here.

Schools

Fremont County School District RE-2 officials released a plan Monday that would bring students back into schools for in-person learning.

The school district's plan details students from Fremont and Penrose elementary schools will return to in-person learning Tuesday, Dec. 1. Officials stated that spots for the online learning program are full through the rest of the school year.

Students from Florence Jr/Sr High School follow a hybrid-learning model starting Tuesday. Seventh and eighth-grade students will follow in-person learning on Mondays and Wednesdays and have remote learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students in ninth through 12th grade will have in-person learning on Tuesdays and Thursdays with remote learning on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Find more information here.

Find the latest from the Fremont County Department of Public Health and Environment

Colorado guidance for residential care visitation

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released an updated public health order and guidance for indoor visitation at residential care facilities serving older adults and people with disabilities. The state says the new guidance allows for indoor visitation with enhanced safety precautions.

Facilities should continue outdoor visits if weather permits and the resident is able to participate. Indoor visitation for family and friends is now permitted at facilities that meet all of the following criteria:

  • Must be located in a county that has less than 10% average two-week positivity rate as determined by utilizing the COVID-19 dial dashboard.
  • Must implement ongoing weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing as required for all staff and residents. Surveillance testing is done to identify the presence of COVID-19 in people before they have symptoms of illness. Surveillance testing is an important tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in facility settings.
  • Must not be experiencing a current COVID-19 outbreak nor have any other ongoing infectious disease outbreak, such as flu or norovirus.
  • Must maintain a 14-day supply of all necessary personal protective equipment.
  • Must maintain adequate staffing levels and provide ongoing training in the latest COVID-19 prevention protocols.

The public health order also stated reinforced that the following groups must be permitted to enter facilities with safety precautions:

  • Essential health care service providers (physicians, hospice, and home health staff of all disciplines, along with other types of medical and nonmedical health care and services).
  • Religious exercise.
  • Adult Protective Services.
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman.
  • Designated support persons (must be screened and may be offered testing).
  • Compassionate Care Visitation.
  • Emergency medical and service personnel (neither screening nor testing required and no delays from response or access in carrying out duties).

“The updated guidance balances the need to be as safe as possible in facilities that continue to be at highest risk-- with the need for visitations. We know that visitations are critical to the health and wellbeing of those served by the facilities, so we are proceeding cautiously, and we will continue to closely monitor and respond to the situation,” said Randy Kuykendall, Director, Heath Facilities and EMS Division, CDPHE.News5 has compiled links to all the school districts in southeastern Colorado so parents can find out district plans amid concerns about COVID-19. We're covering this issue as part of The Rebound Colorado as our communities find safe ways to get life back to normal while keeping everyone's health in mind. Click here to learn more.