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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for March 22-March 28, 2021

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Posted at 10:40 AM, Mar 22, 2021

More than 450,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and 24,490 have been hospitalized as of Sunday afternoon, according to 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.


Latest updates:

Sunday, March 28

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

458,554 cases (+957)
25,351 hospitalized (+15)
64 counties (+0)
2,712,128 people tested (+4,351)
6,909,282 test encounters (+21,751)
6,092 deaths among cases (+3)
6,196 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
4,235 outbreaks (+1)

The latest hospital data showed 375 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 10 more than Saturday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.95% on Saturday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Sunday, 1,584,648 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 962,363 people have received two doses.

Saturday, March 27

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

457,597 cases (+1,295)
25,336 hospitalized (+55)
64 counties (+0)
2,707,777 people tested (+5,212)
6,887,531 test encounters (+28,682)
6,089 deaths among cases (+3)
6,196 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
4,234 outbreaks (+10)

The latest hospital data showed 365 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 4 more than Friday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.87% on Friday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Saturday, 1,542,237 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 945,697 people have received two doses.

Friday, March 26

5:46 p.m. | Aims Community College planning to reopen by fall

The president of Aims Community College in Greeley says she’s “optimistic” they’ll be able to fully open in the fall.

The community college is moving forward with plans to offer in-person classes, as well as remote, online and hybrid learning options when classes begin Aug. 23, 2021.

Plans are in place to fully reopen student services and events as well, though Aims says it will continue to finalize plans based on information from the CDC and federal, state and local governments due to the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

456,302 cases (+1,409)
25,281 hospitalized (+56)
64 counties (+0)
2,702,565 people tested (+5,584)
6,858,849 test encounters (+35,279)
6,086 deaths among cases (+4)
6,196 deaths due to COVID-19 (+5)
4,224 outbreaks (+4)

The latest hospital data showed 361 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 4 more than Thursday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.88% on Thursday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Friday, 1,503,092 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 926,169 people have received two doses.

GRAPH: COVID-19 numbers as of March 26, 2021

12:01 p.m.| VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System extends vaccination eligibility to all enrolled Veterans

VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System (VA ECHCS) is extending COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all enrolled veterans. More than 130,000 veterans are enrolled in VA ECHCS. Appointments are offered at clinics in Alamosa, Aurora, Burlington, Colorado Springs, Golden, La Junta and Pueblo.

VA ECHCS currently offers thee vaccines by appointment only at seven sites. Veterans can schedule a vaccine appointment during their next VA visit or over the phone by calling 888-336-8262. The call center is open 24/7.

In addition, VA ECHCS will host its first-ever walk-in vaccination clinic for enrolled veterans on Sunday, March 28, at 14280 E. Jewell Avenue in Aurora, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. For this event only, appointments will not be required. Five hundred vaccines are available.

For more information, email vhaechcommunications@va.gov.

8 a.m. | Colorado employment situation for February 2021

Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 6.6%. The national unemployment rate declined 1/10 of a percentage point from January to 6.2%, according to the CDLE.

The CDLE also noted the following highlights from its February 2021 report:

  • Labor force in Colorado’s grew by 3,800 in February to 3,187,200. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force in February remained steady at 68.6% and slightly lower than the pre-pandemic rate of 68.7%.
  • Number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 5,700 in February to 2,977,900, which represents 64.1% of the state’s 16 and up population
  • Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio continues to improve since April, when it was 57%, but is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8%
  • Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in February:
    • Huerfano - 10.5%
    • Pueblo - 9.3%
    • Montezuma - 8.8%
    • Fremont - 8.7%
    • Costilla - 8.3%

Employers in Colorado added 5,200 nonfarm payroll jobs from January to February for a total of 2,662,300 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments, thee CDLE reported. Private sector payroll jobs increased 6,900 and government declined by 1,700. Since May, Colorado has gained back 219,100 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 58.3%.

Thursday, March 25

4:30 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

Here are the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, with the change from Wednesday in parentheses:

454,893 cases (+1,373)
25,225 hospitalized (+69)
64 counties (+0)
2,696,981 people tested (+5,320)
6,823,570 test encounters (+31,945)
6,082 deaths among cases (+5)
6,191 deaths due to COVID-19 (+8)
4,220 outbreaks (+7)

The latest hospital data showed 357 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 4.03%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 1,464,099 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 906,837 people are fully immunized.

7:35 a.m. | Unemployment numbers in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported that an estimated 11,568 regular initial unemployment claims were filed during the week ending March 20. There were also 1,922 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial claims filed for the same week.

Since mid-March 2020, an estimated total of 881,161 regular initial unemployment claims have been filed and a grand total of 1,140,955 claims, when the PUA program is included.

For the week ending March 13, the number of continued weeks requested totaled 245,481.

That includes the following totals by UI program:

  • Regular UI: 88,241)
  • PUA: 51,446)
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): 105,794

CDLE estimates those continued claims were filed by approximately 210,572 individuals (80,859 for regular UI; 50,535 for PUA, and 79,178 for PEUC).

Wednesday, March 24

5:09 p.m. | Colorado launches another mass vaccine site at The Ranch in Larimer County

The state launched its anticipated mass vaccination site at The Ranch Events Complex in Larimer County Wednesday – the fifth of six sites currently planned across the state.

The site at The Ranch is being run by the state in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. People can register for the vaccine by going through a screening process on the Larimer County Health website.

The state launched similar mass vaccine sites at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City and at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo on Monday. Sites at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs and at the Grand Junction Convention Center in Mesa County were stood up last week.

Polis said earlier this week the sites were chosen because they are easily accessible and centrally located. The state is expected to open the sixth planned mass vaccination site at Ball Arena in Denver in the coming weeks, the state said Wednesday.

Click here to read the full story.

4:19 p.m. | Pitkin County moves to Level Orange

With the state implementing the new “Dial 3.0” on Wednesday, Pitkin County is moving into Level Orange, meaning more restrictions for businesses in the county.

Restaurants, gyms and indoor event spaces will only be allowed to have 25% of their posted capacity or 50 people per room, whichever is fewer. Last call will be at midnight.

Outdoor events will be allowed 25% capacity or 75 people per area, whichever is fewer.

Personal gatherings remain limited to 10 or fewer people from two different household, which includes lodging.

Five-Star certified businesses will be able to operate in Level Yellow and have up to 50% capacity.

The county will have to meet Level Yellow metrics — between 101 and 300 cases per 100,000 people, a positivity rate of less than 7.6% and stable or declining hospitalizations — for seven straight days in order to move into Level Yellow.

Pitkin County is the only county in the state currently under Level Orange restrictions.

4 p.m. Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

Here are the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the change from Tuesday in parentheses:

453,520 cases (+1,216)
25,156 hospitalized (+504)
64 counties (+0)
2,691,661 people tested (+4,634)
6,791,625 test encounters (+28,201)
6,077 deaths among cases (+3)
6,183 deaths due to COVID-19 (+3)
4,213 outbreaks (+21)

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Wednesday it added 514 hospitalization cases to the data as a result of updates to Banner Health’s reporting system, which revealed some hospitalizations that were not reflected in the data – most of which occurred in the last several months going back to June.

The CDPHE said the data changes did not affect the calculation of dial metrics.

The latest hospital data showed 367 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 4.07%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 1,432,083 have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 894,526 people are fully immunized.

Tuesday, March 23

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

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

452,304 cases (+1,370)
24,652 hospitalized (+139)
64 counties (+0)
2,687,027 people tested (+5,364)
6,763,424 test encounters (+18,749)
6,074 deaths among cases (+4)
6,180 deaths due to COVID-19 (+18)
4,192 outbreaks (+25)

The latest hospital data showed 349 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 4.15% on Monday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 1,403,177 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 884,143 people have received two doses.

2:38 p.m. | Colorado eases visitation restrictions for residential care facilities

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has released an updated public health order and guidance, easing restrictions for indoor visitation at residential care facilities throughout the state.

The new guidance on indoor visitation should be limited for

-- Unvaccinated residents, if the nursing home's COVID-19 county positivity is greater than 10% and less than 70% of the residents in the facility are fully vaccinated.
-- Residents with confirmed COVID-19 infection, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, until they have met the criteria to discontinue Transmission-Based Precaution per CDC guidance.
-- Residents in quarantine, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated until they have met the criteria for release from quarantine.
-- If a resident is fully vaccinated, the resident can choose to have close contact (including touch) with their visitor while wearing a well-fitted face mask and cleaning their hands before and after.

Read the summary of changes here.

Monday, March 22

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

450,934 cases (+304)
24,513 hospitalized (+23)
64 counties (+0)
2,681,663 people tested (+627)
6,744,675 test encounters (+2,229)
6,070 deaths among cases (-3)
6,162 deaths due to COVID-19 (+13)
4,167 outbreaks (+10)

The latest hospital data showed 365 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 15 fewer than Sunday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.96% on Sunday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 1,379,689 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 871,858 people have received two doses.

11 a.m. | Colorado opens mass vaccine site in Commerce City, with Denver and Larimer Co. sites coming soon

Colorado launched another mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic Monday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, which will be able to vaccinate up to 2,000 people per day to begin with.

The site is operating in partnership with Adams County and Centura Health, and the state hopes that once enough vaccine supply becomes available, it will be able to serve up to 6,000 people per day. The site will serve 500 people on Monday before expanding to 2,000 people on Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis said while visiting the site Monday morning.

The clinic at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will be operational 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. People who are eligible to be vaccinating in any of the phases up to and including 1B.4 can register for a vaccine at the site by clicking here.

Colorado is also standing up a site alongside Centura Health at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, and says it plans to launch another mass vaccination site at Ball Arena in Denver in the next week or two.

Mass vaccination sites launched last week at the Broadmoor World Arena in Colorado Springs and at the Grand Junction Convention Center. There is also a site planned to open at The Ranch in Larimer County.

Polis said the sites were chosen because they are easily accessible and centrally located. He said they would likely operate through June as the state continues to receive more vaccine supply. He said he hoped that the sites would be able to vaccinate their full capability of 6,000 people per day in the coming weeks.

The vaccines at all the state-run mass vaccination sites are free of charge. Polis said Monday that the sites that had not yet opened would be open by “the end of next week.”

Polis and Centura Health CEO Peter Banko said they were excited to be opening the vaccine sites and stressed their safety.

“There’s nothing like seeing the joy on people’s faces as they get vaccinated and protected,” Polis said.

Phase 1B.4 opened up to Coloradans on Friday and includes people aged 50+, essential workers and restaurant employees. The state has said about 2.5 million people are eligible in the new phase.

As of Monday, 1.3 million Coloradans had received their first vaccine dose and 862,360 people were fully immunized against COVID-19.

To sign up at one of the sites or receive more information, click here or call 720-263-5737.

Click here to read the full story.

10:35 a.m. | Eagle County businesses in 5 Star program can move to Level Blue

Local businesses in Eagle County that have completed the 5 Star certification process can now operate at Level Blue capacities. The county remains in Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial.

To learn more about each level of the dial, click here.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for March 15-March 21, 2021.