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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Jan. 18-Jan. 24, 2021

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Posted at 8:38 AM, Jan 18, 2021

More than 374,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and 20,600 have been hospitalized as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

READ MORE: COVID-19 vaccine FAQs | List of Colorado businesses that are open

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.


Latest updates:

Sunday, Jan. 24

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Sunday, with the change from Saturday in parentheses:

386,285 cases (+1,319)
21,237 hospitalized (+18)
64 counties
2,350,150 people tested (+7,053)
5,246,911 test encounters (+25,746)
5,505 deaths among cases (+23)
4,709 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,402 outbreaks (+2)

The latest hospital data showed 737 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests Saturday was 4.66%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

Colorado as of Sunday had administered vaccines to 364,819 people, 9,765 more than Saturday. Of those, 80,181 people have received two doses, 3,533 more than Saturday.

2:41 p.m. | Vaccine town hall Wednesday

People can learn more about getting vaccinated during an AARP telephone town hall this week.

Governor Jared Polis will answer questions about the state's vaccination efforts.

The town hall is Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. All you have to do is call 855-962-1468 to listen in.

Saturday, Jan. 23

4:15 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Saturday, with the change from Friday in parentheses:

384,966 cases (+1,958)
21,219 hospitalized (+73)
64 counties
2,343,097 people tested (+8,927)
5,221,165 test encounters (+35,757)
5,482 deaths among cases (+20)
4,709 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,400 outbreaks (+26)

The latest hospital data showed 716 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's three-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 tests Friday was 4.54%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

Colorado as of Saturday had administered vaccines to 355,054 people, 21,422 more than Friday. Of those, 76,648 people have received two doses, 6,555 more than Friday.

Friday, Jan. 22

9:30 p.m. | Last call moves to 10 p.m. for 5 Star certified Summit County restaurants

Last call will move to 10 p.m. at 5 Star certified restaurants in Summit County starting Jan. 23.

Previously, the cut-off time was 9:30 p.m.

“We hope that this change gives restaurants that have gone through the process of 5 Star Certification the ability to expand their sales with the extra half hour,” said Public Health Director Amy Wineland. “This decision was made with a lot of consideration as we know that alcohol consumption can promote COVID transmission as individuals let their guards down and compromise mask wearing, physical distancing, hand hygiene and other precautions. We ask that businesses ensure that customers are continuing to follow the Restaurant COVID Guidelines and 5 Star protocols with this extension.”

Public health officials also eased requirements on contact information collection from only one person per household to make the process more manageable for restaurants. Restaurants were previously required to collect contact information for every person in the group.

Other requirements remain in place, including a limit on seating at tables to a max of 10 individuals from no more than 2 households and limitations on restaurant operations included in the most recent public health order.

8:20 p.m. | 5 Colorado National Guard senior leaders receive COVID-19 vaccine

Five of the Colorado National Guard’s senior leaders received COVID-19 vaccines at Buckley Air Force Base Friday.

Assistant Adjutant General, Air U.S Air Force Brig. Gen. Floyd Dunstan, State Command Chief U.S Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Troy Cook, Assistant Adjutant General, Army U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Doug Paul, State Command Chief Warrant Officer U.S. Army Command Chief Charles Zanoff, and State Command Sergeant Major U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Ed Macias received the vaccine.

“With a focus on beating the virus and protecting our force, our families and our communities, our Colorado National Guard leaders are stepping up to set the example and encourage all members of the Colorado National Guard and our Colorado communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” The Adjutant General of Colorado U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Laura Clellan said.

Clellan received the first of two vaccines earlier this month along with Chief of Joint Staff U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Bruno, 140th Wing Commander U.S. Air Force Col. Micah Fesler and 140th Wing Command Chief U.S. Air Force Command Chief Master Sgt. Lisa Perry.

Select members of the CONG, including senior leaders and personnel directly supporting the state’s COVID-19 response and national security missions, will be able to receive the vaccine during phase one. The vaccine will also be available to CONG members deploying in support of U.S. Combatant Commands because they're at a higher risk for contracting the virus.

Soldiers from the Colorado Army National Guard Medical Command and Airmen from the 140th Medical Group are administering the vaccine.

8:15 p.m. | Governor's office reacts to improving COVID-19 data

For the first time since October, Colorado's three-day average positivity rate is below 5%, which is the state's goal.

Governor Jared Polis' office released the following statement:

“Colorado is currently doing well compared to many states across the country thanks to Coloradans commitment to doing their part to protect our state. I know it hasn’t always been easy, but thanks to our aggressive approach we have been able to save lives while allowing for the maximum amount of economic and social activity. It’s important that we don’t get too comfortable and we continue to wear a mask and practice social distance.”

4:15 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Friday, with the change from Thursday in parentheses:

383,008 cases (+1,798)
21,146 hospitalized (+105)
64 counties (+0)
2,334,170 people tested (+8,597)
5,185,408 test encounters (+45,107)
5,462 deaths among cases (+22)
4,709 death due to COVID-19 (+1)
3,374 outbreaks (+24)

The latest hospital data showed 772 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 11 fewer than Thursday. Thursday's three-day average positivity in Colorado was 4.57% — the first time the positivity rate has met the state's goal to be below 5% since October.

As of Thursday, 333,632 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 20,463 from Wednesday. Of those, 70,093 have received a second dose.

2 p.m. | Polis update on COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis gave an update Friday on the state's response to COVID-19, saying Colorado's vaccination goals — 70% of 70-and-up residents by the end of February — are "completely in the federal government's court" due to a limited supply chain. Polis said the state receives about 80,000 vaccine doses per week and hopes that numbers increases to more than 100,000 by February. Still, Polis said he trusts the Biden administration to release as many doses as possible, as Biden plans to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

Polis also announced the state's vaccination location map, viewable here:

Watch Polis' full update here:

Full news conference: Gov. Polis update on coronavirus pandemic - January 22, 2021

Thursday, Jan. 21

9:28 p.m. | Adams County applies for 5-Star program certification to operate with less restrictions

Adams County has applied with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for its 5-Star certification program - officially titled the Maintain & Sustain Adams program.

The Maintain & Sustain Adams – 5-Star Certification Program will allow Adams County businesses that provide a safety plan and establish more stringent safety protocols additional flexibility to operate one level down from their current status in the state's COVID-19 dial.

The county's program has not yet been approved, as it needs full recognition from the CDPHE before it can start running. However, businesses can start applying now to jump-start the process.

9:20 p.m. | Jeffco COVID-19 testing sites impacted by Curative testing

After the state announced Thursday they'll no longer use Curative testing, Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) says the change will affect several of their testing sites.

In a news release Thursday, JCPH said the change affects the testing sites at Jeffco Fairgrounds and Curative Mobile Vans in Conifer and Evergreen will temporarily close. Through a partnership with Colorado Department of Health and Environment's (CDPHE) Rapid Response Team, the Jeffco Fairgrounds site will reopen Jan. 23, and the Mobile Van sites will resume their regular operating schedules Wednesdays and Sundays, respectively.

According to CDPHE, the primary concern with the Curative test is the potential for a false-negative result, meaning an individual could actually have COVID-19 and incorrectly receive a negative result. Anyone who was tested at a Curative site using an oral swab on or after Jan. 13 should get tested again using a nasal swab. Find testing sites in Jeffco here.

JCPH said they're also working to add several new sites in high-needs areas, with plans to expand testing locations in Lakewood in Arvada. The additional sites are still in development.

4:30 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with the change from Wednesday in parentheses:

381,210 cases (+1,983)
21,401 hospitalized (+64)
64 counties (+0)
2,325,573 people tested (+9,599)
5,140,301 test encounters (+41,760)
5,440 deaths among cases (+18)
4,708 deaths due to COVID-19 (+129)
3,350 outbreaks (+16)

The latest hospital data showed 783 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 44 fewer than Wednesday. Wednesday's three-day average positivity in Colorado was 5.49%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 313,169 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of 14,855 from Wednesday. Of those, 61,881 have received a second dose.

1:30 p.m. | Colorado halting use of Curative tests at congregate facilities, moving away from use at local sites

Effective Thursday, Colorado will no longer use Curative COVID-19 tests at residential care facilities, correctional facilities, shelters and other congregate care settings after further warnings from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about false negatives with the tests and issues with the test’s assay.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said nearly 1,000 facilities of those types had been using the tests over the past three months and that about 70,000 Curative tests per week had been done in the state since its contract with the state came online in early November.

The state said that 715,619 Curative tests had been performed in Colorado as of Jan. 19.

Thee CDPHE said it would halt usage of the test at the congregate facilities after warning on Jan. 12 that it was “closely monitoring” the Curative test and its administration to people.

That notice came after the FDA issued a safety alert that day warning about false negatives with the test and improper administration of the test by some providers. The CDPHE said at the time that the Curative test, which did receive an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, that it believed the tests would still be “a reliable option in the context of FDA guidance.”

But the department said that further concerns from the FDA led them to make the decision announced Thursday.

The FDA’s latest warning about the Curative tests says it should only be used under three conditions: if a person is symptomatic and within 14 days of the onset of symptoms; if specimen collection is supervised; and when an oral test gives a negative reading, it must be confirmed with a different method.

In addition to using the tests at some congregate care facilities, the state has also been using Curative tests at several mobile and drive-through community testing sites set up across the state with local public health departments., including some larger sites at Denver International Airport, the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and the University of Northern Colorado – all of which were still operating this month.

The CDPHE said Thursday it plans to transition away from using the Curative tests at community testing sites as well in coming weeks. The department is advising people who got tested at Curative sites on Jan. 13 or after with an oral swab who received negative results to be tested again with an anterior nares swab.

The CDPHE said that sites still using Curative tests in the meantime should only use them on symptomatic people with anterior nares or nasopharyngeal swabs and not oral swabs. It is advising people who are asymptomatic to get tested at a non-Curative site.

Click here to read the full story.

1:03 p.m. | Boulder County says COVID-19 vaccine supply is limited, encourages people to sign-up to get the shot

Boulder County Public Health says COVID-19 vaccine allocations “continue to be very limited,” but thanks to a partnership with hospitals and healthcare providers in Boulder County, a network of organizations is ready to provide the vaccine as soon as it becomes available.

Learn more about how to sign-up here: www.boco.org/COVIDVaccine

12:19 p.m. | Thornton Fire Dept. taking appointments for Spanish-speaking elderly Coloradans in need of COVID-19 vaccine

The Thornton Fire Department is accepting appointments for people 70 and up as well as health care workers who only speak Spanish at their vaccination site ta the Carpenter Recreation Center.

For more info. and to sign up, click here: https://www.thorntonco.gov/public-safety/fire-department/Pages/covid19-vaccine.aspx

10:40 a.m. | Elbert County vaccine sign up is full for Feb. 2 clinic

All appointments for the Elbert County vaccination clinic on Feb. 2 have been filled. A waiting list will be created for those interested in future vaccination — just leave your name, age, and phone number on the voicemail. As more vaccines are allocated to Colorado, healthcare providers and retail pharmacies will offer appointments to people in Phase 1A and 1B.

10:36 a.m. | Mayor Hancock to host vaccine panel to encourage communities of color to get vaccinated

Mayor Hancock will host a panel discussion Thursday to offer historic context around the interactions between communities of color and the medical community. The panelists will discuss the vaccine, current COVID-19 stats and the importance of getting vaccinated. All the while, they will address the fears people have about this virus and the previous experiences between the medical community and communities of color.

This is the first in a series of panels for underserved communities. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. You can watch it on Denver 8 TV, the mayor's Facebook page or at DenverGov.org.

READ MORE: Mayor Hancock to host vaccine panel to encourage communities of color to get vaccinated

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Reginald Washington of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Vice Chair Dr. Terri Richardson of Colorado Health Collaborative and Terri Gentry, a volunteer docent of Black American West Museum and Heritage Center, will join the panel.

7:30 a.m. | No new Colorado unemployment numbers

There are no new claims or benefit payment data available to report for the week ending on Jan. 16, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. The CDLE said this is due to the deployment of its new online unemployment benefits system, and impacts to underlying reports.

New UI claims data will be available for the Jan. 28 update, the CDLE said As a reminder, the next scheduled release is this Friday, January 22 at 8 A.M. for the December Employment Situation.

4:30 a.m. | Elbert County vaccine clinic sign up opens

Elbert County Public Health will begin to vaccinate first responders and people 70 and older on Feb. 2 in the Exhibit Building at the Elbert County Fairgrounds, which is located at 95 Ute Avenue in Kiowa.

The Moderna vaccine will be administered here. Anybody who receives their first dose here must return to get their second dose at the same location on March 2.

An appointment is required, and vaccine availability is limited. Call 303-621-3144 to schedule an appointment. Due to the expected high volume of calls, leave a voicemail with your name and phone number and someone will return your call, the county said.

Wednesday, Jan. 20

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers

Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the change from Tuesday in parentheses:

379,227 cases (+1,371)
20,977 hospitalized (+208)
64 counties (+0)
2,315,974 tested (+6,201)
5,098,541 test encounters (+40,778)
5,422 deaths among cases (+34)
4,579 deaths due to COVID-19 (+77)
3,334 outbreaks (+24)

The latest hospital data showed 827 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 41 more than Tuesday. Colorado's three-day positivity rate Tuesday was 5.34%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 298,314 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 54,541 people had received two doses.

Tuesday, Jan. 19

9 p.m. | State beginning to decommission Colorado Convention Center as COVID-19 alternative care site

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said Tuesday they're beginning steps to decommission the alternative care site at Colorado Convention Center.

Modeling data and information from hospital partners shows the state's hospital capacity is expected to be sufficient for health care needs of COVID-19.

The Tier 2.5 sites at St. Anthony's 84th Avenue and St. Mary Corwin remain in place.

By March 25, the Colorado Convention Center is expected to be turned back over to Denver County.

4 p.m. | Colorado continues to see decline in hospitalizations due to COVID-19; positivity rate remains just above 5%

Colorado continued to see a decrease in hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19, according to the latest Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) data. The state's positivity remains just above 5%, which is what federal, state and health officials say is the benchmark to curb the spread of the disease.

377,856 cases (+1,685)
20,769 hospitalized (+52)
64 counties (+0)
2,309,773 people tested (+7,989)
5,057,763 test encounters (+25,722)
5,388 deaths among cases (+2)
4,502 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,310 outbreaks (+15)

The latest hospital data showed 786 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – 76 fewer than Monday with 90 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 87% of hospitals reporting. Monday's seven- and three-day average positivity rates in Colorado were 5.52% and 5.39%, respectively. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 287,179 people have been immunized with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 51,299 people have been immunized with two doses. There are 474 vaccine providers.

GRAPH: COVID-19 numbers as of January 19, 2021

1:45 p.m. |Colorado plans to vaccinate 120,000 70-and-up this week

Colorado continues to ramp up vaccinations for 70-and-up residents, with 120,000 expected to get the shot this week, Gov. Jared Polis said Monday. If that expectation is met, it would mark 1/5 of Colorado's 70-and-up population, a big leap toward state's goal of getting at least 70% of that population vaccinated by the end of February.

Still, Polis expressed frustration over the vaccine supply chain, from the makers of the vaccine to the federal government.

Polis said Colorado, despite having 5% of the state vaccinated, continues to "simply suffer from a lack of vaccines at this point," receiving about 80,000 per week. The bump in vaccinations this week is partially a result of Polis ordering hospitals to repurpose second doses of the vaccine as first doses.

In a letter to vaccine providers sent Monday, Gov. Polis said the state had received large quantities of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and instead of letting them sit on shelves to be applied as second doses, Polis ordered hospitals to get them into the arms of Coloradans who need them immediately.

Polis did give a good update on the state's COVID-19 positivity rate, which fell below 5% for the first time in months. The state early in the pandemic set a goal to remain below 5%, an indicator of less community transmission and adequate testing.

Polis urged caution, though: One in 105 Coloradans remain contagious with the coronavirus, according to state data.

Watch Polis' update here:

Full news conference: Governor Jared Polis provides update on COVID-19 response, vaccinations for people 70 and up

8:17 a.m. | Hickenlooper, Bennet, Polis announce $181 million FEMA award to support COVID-19 testing

Colorado was awarded $181 million from the FEMA Public Assistance Program to support Colorado’s COVID-19 testing sites, the governor said in a news release Tuesday.

“With vaccine distribution underway, the end to this pandemic is in sight – but Coloradans need to continue to do their part by social distancing, wearing masks, and getting tested. I’m glad we’ve been able to secure funding to boost testing sites across Colorado and get over the finish line together,” said Senator Hickenlooper.

Polis said anyone who needs a test is encouraged to get one.

Monday, Jan. 18

4 p.m. | Hospitalizations continue to trend down; positivity rate now just above 5%

Hospitalizations for confirmed and suspected cases of the novel coronavirus continue to trend down across Colorado as the percentage of the number of tests that have come back positive over the past 7 days is now 5.41% - slightly above what federal, state and local health officials say is recommended to curb the spread of the disease.

376,171 cases (+1,190)
20,717 hospitalized (+30)
64 counties (+0)
2,301,784 people tested (+5,684)
5,032,041 test encounters (+24,915)
5,386 deaths among cases (+7)
4,502 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
3,295 outbreaks (+9)

The latest hospital data showed 862 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – 17 fewer than Sunday with 96 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 80% of hospitals reporting. Sunday's seven- and three-day average positivity rates in Colorado were 5.41% and 5.01%, respectively. Colorado's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 278,686 people have been immunized with one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 49,744 people have been immunized with two doses. There are 473 vaccine providers.

GRAPH: COVID-19 numbers as of January 18, 2021

3:53 p.m. | Gov. Polis orders hospitals to use second doses of COVID-19 vaccines right away

Some 40,000 Coloradans aged 70 and up will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine earlier than expected after Governor Jared Polis ordered hospitals to repurpose second doses of the vaccine as first doses.

In a letter to vaccine providers sent Monday, Gov. Polis said the state had received large quantities of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and instead of letting them sit on shelves to be applied as second doses, Polis ordered hospitals to get them into the arms of Coloradans who need them immediately.

“Extraordinary times calls for extraordinary efforts so I ask you to begin to actively manage your supply on a week to week basis, and do not let any vaccines sit on shelves,” Polis wrote in the letter, adding providers should only retain enough second doses for the week of Jan. 18-25.

The order outlined in Monday’s letter does not change who gets the shot first, meaning educators and other groups will still have to wait a little bit more before they can get vaccinated.

“The top priority right now is to get 70 year olds vaccinated as they account for 78% of the deaths in our state,” Polis said, adding the state is moving as quickly as it can to get 70% of Coloradans in that age group vaccinated by the end of February. “We expect that if federal supply continues to arrive in the state steadily, we may begin to vaccinate teachers in early March.”

Federal, state and local health officials recommend Coloradans receive the two doses of the same vaccine to make sure they have the best protection available against the virus.

Read the full story.

10:45 a.m. | State launches informational campaign on COVID-19 vaccine

On Monday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) launched the “Get the COVID-19 Vaccine Facts” campaign, which will focus on educating the public on how the vaccines are safe and effective.

The campaign emphasizes how Coloradans should rely on the CDPHE and other reliable sources for correct and up-to-date information on the vaccine.

CDPHE Executive Director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said with the distribution of the vaccines underway, they understand people have questions about it.

"It’s crucial to reach as many Coloradans as possible with fact-based information," she said. "When it’s your turn to be vaccinated, we want you to be ready,”

The campaign will build awareness about where people can access trusted information, with an additional focus on communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic

The "Get the COVID-19 Facts" campaign will run statewide through March 31. To share messages from the "Get the COVID-19 Facts" campaign, like and follow CDPHE on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

10:01 a.m. | Douglas County School District town hall on Wednesday

Douglas County School District Superintendent Corey Wise will be hosting a community town hall Wednesday evening to talk about the return to in-person learning for middle and high school students. The town hall will start at 5:30 p.m. and go for about an hour.

You can RSVP here. To register and participate, click here.

8:24 a.m. | HealthONE will host virtual vaccine event

On Tuesday from 10-11 a.m., HealthONE will hold a free virtual event for people to learn more about the novel coronavirus, the vaccine and what to expect in 2021.

It will address questions such as:

  • How does the COVID-19 virus affect different systems in the body?
  • What types of vaccines are in current use and/or development?
  • How do they work and are they effective?
  • What can I do now if I have a chronic medical condition to have the best response to the vaccine?
  • Will I have to practice mask-wearing and social distancing after I receive the vaccine, and for how long?

Dr. Scott Joy, MD, Internal Medicine will leas the conversation. Click here to RSVP.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog from Jan. 11-Jan. 17, 2021.