Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for March 8-March 14, 2021

Posted at 6:37 AM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 00:21:42-04

More than 436,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and 23,904 have been hospitalized as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

READ MORE: 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, March 14

10:20 p.m. | Mako COVID-19 testing sites closed Monday

Due to inclement weather, all Mako COVID-19 community-based testing sites will open at 12 p.m. Monday, including the Fountain, Northern Colorado Springs and Citadel Mall locations.

The Falcon/Peyton testing site will be open as scheduled Tuesday.

For updated status of the testing sites and more information, visit El Paso County Public Health’s website.

7:05 p.m. | Children's Hospital COVID-19 vaccinations canceled Monday

Children's Hospital Colorado automatically canceled vaccine appointments Monday due to the snowstorm. They've been rescheduled for Wednesday, March 17.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers in Colorado

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

443,968 cases (+1,215)
24,200 hospitalized (+15)
64 counties
2,651,715 tested (+5,995)
6,588,233 test encounters (+30,747)
6,038 deaths among cases (+2)
6,072 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
4,080 outbreaks (+0)

The latest hospital data showed 324 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.46% on Saturday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Sunday, 1,212,577 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 737,903 people have received two doses.

Saturday, March 13

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers in Colorado

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

442,753 cases (+1,242)
24,185 hospitalized (+58)
64 counties (+0)
2,645,720 tested (+6,823)
6,557,486 test encounters (+31,201)
6,036 deaths among cases (+12)
6,072 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
4,080 outbreaks (+11)

The latest hospital data showed 343 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.36% on Friday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Saturday, 1,198,113 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 724,443 people have received two doses.

Friday, March 12

10:18 p.m. | After closing for more than a month, The Grizzly Rose is reopening next week

The Grizzly Rose is reopening its doors March 18. The popular dance hall and bar has been closed for more than a month following a viral video showing the bar packed with hundreds inside.

The Grizzly Rose closed voluntarily on Feb. 1 and by Feb. 3 was ordered by the Tri-County Health Department to remain closed until officials determined it was in compliance.

In a Facebook post, The Grizzly Rose announced they'd be reopening next week Thursday to Sunday at 6 p.m., but said they'll be "doing things differently for a while."

Read the full story here.

7:33 p.m. | 5 cases of South African variant detected at Buena Vista Correctional Campus

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is reporting five additional confirmed cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa, at the Buena Vista Correctional Campus (BVCC).

All five of the cases are incarcerated/detained individuals. The data was collected on March 1. Additional testing is required, as well as regular monitoring.

CDPHE hosted a vaccine clinic for staff and inmates at the facility March 8-9 to help mitigate disease spread. In total, 758 people were vaccinated, and 85% of the inmate population at BVCC has received at least the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Thirty-four family members and close contacts of staff were also vaccinated.

According to CDPHE, the clinics are in line with policy announced Jan. 29, which allows local public health to have flexibility to vary from the prioritization “for sub-populations with the vaccine supply allocated to them for emerging risk of rapid spread of COVID-19” for reasons like variant transmission.

In total, 2,653 staff and 2,125 inmates in Colorado have been vaccinated so far.

The Colorado Department of Corrections has received guidance and technical assistance from CDPHE to mitigate the spread in a variety of ways, including large-scale testing, required mask wearing and protocol to prevent cross contamination, among other things.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers in Colorado

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continued to hold steady in Colorado Friday, with a slight increase from Thursday, and nearly 1,300 additional cases. Here's the latest data from the CDPHE, with the change from Thursday in parentheses:

441,511 cases (+1,291)
24,127 hospitalized (+54)
64 counties (+0)
2,638,897 (+5,866)
6,526,285 test encounters (+31,101)
6,024 deaths among cases (+3)
6,072 deaths due to COVID-19 (+16)
4,069 outbreaks (+12)

The latest hospital data showed 346 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 21 more than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.25% on Thursday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 1,162,621 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 694,597 people have received two doses.

3:30 p.m. | Children's Hospital cancels weekend vaccine appointments

Children’s Hospital Colorado has canceled vaccine appointments March 13-14 due to advisement from the Colorado Department of Transportation for the public to stay off the road.

Community members have been automatically rescheduled for new appointments. Anyone with a concern about their appointment time can call their vaccine at (720) 777-8889.

3:24 p.m. | Several COVID-19 testing sites close for the weekend

In a effort limit drivers on the road during winter weather, multiple state-managed and partnered community testing sites will be closed this weekend.

Here is a list of closures and delays:

Closed: Saturday, March 13 and Sunday, March 14

  • Del Mar - Aurora Center for Active Adults (30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO 80011)
  • Longmont - Boulder County Fairgrounds (2199 Boston Ave, Longmont, CO 80501)
  • Stazio Ball Fields - Boulder (2445 Stazio Dr, Boulder, CO 80301)
  • Cañon City - Fremont County (201 North 6th Street, Cañon City, CO 81212)
  • Castle Rock - Douglas County Fairgrounds (500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80104)
  • Centennial Center Park (13050 E Peakview Ave , Centennial, CO 80111)
  • Citadel Mall - Colorado Springs (750 Citadel Dr. E, Colorado Springs, CO 80909)
  • Falcon - Rock Island Regional Trailhead (12072 Royal County Down Road , Falcon, CO 80831)
  • Fountain (6436 US Highway 85/87, Fountain, CO 80817)
  • Lone Tree - Canvas Credit Union (10000 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124)
  • Pueblo State Fairgrounds (2701 W Mesa Ave, Pueblo, CO 81004)
  • Rampart Range Campus (2070 Interquest Pkwy, Colorado Springs, CO 80920)
  • CenturyLink Building - Silverthorne (591 Center Circle, Silverthorne, CO 80498)
  • Water World - Federal Heights 8801N. Pecos St., Federal Heights, CO 80260)
  • Westminster - Fat Cats (10685 Westminster Blvd, Westminster, CO 80020)
  • Bennett Community Center (1100 W Colfax Ave, Bennett, CO 80102)
  • Mountain Range High School (12500 Huron Street Westminster, CO 80234)
  • Ethiopian Evangelical Church (445 South Lansing Street Aurora, CO 80012)
  • Stutler Bowl Stadium (9300 East Union Ave, Greenwood Village, CO 80111)
  • Abraham Lincoln High School (2285 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219)
  • Jefferson County Fairgrounds (15200 W 6th Ave Frontage Road , Golden, CO 80401)
  • Montessori School of Evergreen (6989 County Hwy 73, Evergreen, CO 80439)
  • Colorado School of Mines (1922 Jones Road, Golden, CO 80401)
  • Fort Lewis College Stadium (1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO 81301)
  • Banner Health (777 North 4th Street, Sterling CO 80751)
  • Fruita Monument High School (1835 J Road Fruita, CO 81521)
  • Grand Mesa Middle School (585 31 1/2 Road, Grand Junction, CO 81504)
  • Peachtree Shopping Center (3225 I-70BL Clifton, CO 81521)
  • Northeast Colorado Health Department (228 West Railroad Ave Fort Morgan, CO)
  • St. Vrain Valley Schools Innovation Center (33 Quail Road, Longmont, CO 80504)
  • Open Bible Medical Clinic & Pharmacy (555 East Costilla St. Colorado Springs, CO 80903)

Closed: Monday, March 15

  • Del Mar - Aurora Center for Active Adults (30 West Del Mar Circle, Aurora, CO 80011)

Delayed start: Monday, March 15

  • Douglas County Fairgrounds (500 Fairgrounds Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80104), open noon - 6 p.m.
  • Canvas Credit Union (10000 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124), open noon - 4 p.m.
  • Abraham Lincoln High School (2285 S Federal Blvd, Denver, CO 80219), open 2:30- 5 p.m.
  • All City Stadium South (1495 S Race Street, Denver, CO 80210), open 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Aurora Public Schools (15771 E 1st Ave, Aurora, CO 80011), open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Bailey Public Library (350 Bulldogger Road, Bailey, CO 80421), open 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
  • Colorado School of Mines (1922 Jones Road, Golden, CO 80401), open 1 1a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Echo Park Stadium (11901 Newlin Gulch Blvd, Parker, CO 80134), open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • George Washington High School (655 South Monaco Parkway, Denver, CO 80224), open 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Instructional Support Facility (5416 S. Riviera Way, Aurora, CO 80015), open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Jefferson County Fairgrounds (15200 W 6th Ave Frontage Road, Golden, CO 80401), open 11a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Littleton Park and Walk (190 E. Littleton Blvd, Littleton, CO 80121), open 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
  • North High School (3125 Eliot Street, Denver, CO 80211), open 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Red Rocks Community College (5444 Miller Street, Arvada, CO 80002), open 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • SOAR Academy (4107 S. Federal Blvd, Englewood, CO 80110), open 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.
  • St. Vrain Valley Schools Innovation Center (33 Quail Road, Longmont, CO 80504), open 11 a.m.- 5 p.m.
  • Westminster High School (6933 Raleigh St, Westminster, CO 80030), open 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Some local public health agencies may choose to make alternative arrangements. Please check with your local public health department for available options.

There are numerous state-sponsored community testing sites across the state, as well as dozens of locations offered by private providers, which can be found here.

1:03 p.m. | All Coloradans expected to be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by mid-April, Polis says

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday said he expects all adult Coloradans to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-April, aiming for a sooner target date than the national goal of May 1 that was announced by President Joe Biden this week.

Colorado is also moving up the eligibility date for phase 1.B4 by two days to March 19. At that point, half of the state population will be eligible to receive the vaccine. Phase 1.B4 includes all 50-and-older Coloradans, plus essential workers such as restaurant employees. In total, 2,505,310 people will be eligible in 1.B4.

The state will provide signup information about community vaccination sites on March 17.

Colorado is receiving about 200,000 doses of the vaccine per week, a total comprised of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. The state is also receiving smaller shipments of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and expects up to 84,500 doses in the week of April 4.

The state is still working to finalize and exact date for the mid-April eligibility for all Coloradans. But the announcement by Polis was the firmest timeline given by state officials yet. It remains unclear how long it will take to distribute the vaccine to anyone who wants it, though Polis said the state hopes that everyone can receive a vaccine by the end of May.

Still, healthcare providers will still prioritize people in more vulnerable populations, if they have not received the vaccine yet.

As Colorado ramps up vaccinations efforts, the state plans to open several mass vaccination sites in the next few weeks.

Those sites — which will be able to vaccinate up to 6,000 people per day — will include locations in Mesa County and El Paso County (Broadmoor Arena) opening March 17; Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Adams County and The Ranch in Larimer County on March 22; and Ball Arena in Denver on April 1.

Phase 1.B4 also includes higher education faculty and staff, postal workers, manufacturing workers and faith leaders.

Scott Bookman, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment incident commander, said people who are eligible through their job should coordinate with their employer on when they can receive the vaccine.

Click here to read the full story.

9 a.m. | Gov. Polis to provide update on COVID-19

Gov. Polis will provide an update on Colorado's response to the COVID-19 pandemic at 12:30 p.m. today. Brigadier General Scott Sherman and COVID Incident Commander Scott Bookman will join him.

Denver7 will stream this on our apps, website and Facebook page.

8:56 a.m. | CDLE says MyUI+ system will be down Friday evening through Saturday morning

The MyUI+ system and automated phone systems will be unavailable today at 7 p.m. through 3 a.m. Saturday for system maintenance.

Thursday, March 11

10:17 p.m. | Denver Parks and Recreation announces phased reopening of rec centers, activities

Denver Parks and Recreation announced Thursday they have a phased plan for reopening Denver Recreation Centers, pools registered programs and additional activities beginning this spring.

The phased opening will include:

  • CityWide Sports offering spring softball and registration for multiple activities, including adult summer sports leagues
  • Weight room and cardio spaces opening within a few rec centers with access to fitness equipment by reservation
  • Tasty Food Meal program will continue
  • Eight outdoor pools will open
  • Seven Summer in the Parks youth day camps and Youth Sports camps locations will operate

“We are elated to begin reopening some of our facilities and registered programming,” said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Parks and Recreation. “Our employees have gone above and beyond in preparing plans for a safe reopening to provide the community with quality amenities and healthy recreation opportunities in neighborhoods throughout the city.”

For a full list of rec centers and activities opening and when they will begin operation, visit here.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers in Colorado

Colorado reported nearly 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday, as hospitalizations for COVID-19 continued to decline. Here's the latest data from the CDPHE:

440,220 cases (+955)
24,073 hospitalized (+49)
64 counties (+0)
2,633,031 people tested (+5,031)
6,495,184 test encounters (+29,221)
6,021 deaths among cases (+18)
6,056 deaths due to COVID-19 (+7)
4,057 outbreaks (+17)

The latest hospital data showed 325 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 25 fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 3.24% on Wednesday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 1,131,345 people have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and 672,150 people have received two doses.

1:52 p.m. | Colorado says no gap in federal unemployment benefits expected after Biden signs stimulus bill

Most Coloradans who are currently receiving federal unemployment benefits will not see a gap this month after President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion stimulus package Thursday which extends the programs currently in place, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said.

CDLE officials said in a call with reporters Thursday that the department had asked for and received approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to deploy the extended federal unemployment benefits contained within the American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed Thursday, before the USDOL sends official guidance on the extensions.

The main reason why the CDLE was able to do so, the officials said, was because the House and Senate agreed to make few changes to the programs implemented in the Continued Assistance Act, which ran from Dec. 27 through this Saturday.

“Congress listened to people and kept things simple,” said Phil Spesshardt, the acting unemployment division director for the CDLE.

The department said with the agreement from the USDOL, the CDLE only had to wait for President Biden to sign the bill before it could start implementing the continued extended benefits.

“We are grateful that Congress took the necessary steps before the current programs expire, saving hundreds of thousands of Coloradans the financial hardship and gap in payments we saw earlier this year due to a delay in federal action,” CDLE Executive Director Joe Barela said in a statement.

The legislation signed into law by Biden on Thursday includes extensions for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) programs through Sept. 6.

It also extends the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program, which in the latest measure includes $300 a week for people receiving any type of unemployment benefits, through Sept. 6 as well.

As such, CDLE officials said, most people who are receiving benefits through regular, PUA or PEUC claims will continue to see those benefits without any gap, which the department said previously could occur before they knew the USDOL would allow them to continue paying benefits without new guidance.

But there will be a group of people – mainly people who started receiving PUA backdated to early February 2020 last year, but also a small group still waiting on the December package who mainly have out-of-state wages or were part of workshare programs – who will still have to wait for the reprogramming, said Spesshardt. But those people should be able to reopen their claims sometime next week, he added.

Barela said the department had emailed all claimants currently receiving benefits about the news. The department plans to make the MyUI+ site go dark at 7 p.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Saturday to make necessary changes to the system, but people should be able to log on Saturday and continue with their normal filling processes.

The CDLE officials welcomed the news that they would be able to avoid the gap thousands of Coloradans saw in January and into February for some people, who had to wait for weeks after the Continued Assistance Act was signed for the state to receive guidance from the USDOL to reprogram the system, and for the CDLE to upgrade to MyUI+.

“We know with the expiration of the CARES Act, that caused a lot of hardship in Colorado and we wanted to avoid that this time around,” Barela said.

Click here to read the full story.

12:12 p.m. | UCHealth vaccination clinics closed for weekend

UCHealth is closing its COVID-19 vaccine clinics on Saturday and Sunday (March 13 and 14) due to the incoming snowstorm. UCHealth is contacting individuals who had an appointment to reschedule for next week. This weekend, about 2,500 people had appointments.

Wednesday, March 10

11:45 p.m. | Custer County Board of Health reaffirms vote to lift all COVID-19 restrictions

The Custer County Board of Health reaffirmed their decision to lift all state mandated COVID-19 restrictions in a unanimous vote Wednesday.

The board said they've been in contact with state officials, medical experts and legal advisors since the initial March 3 vote. It's working alongside the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) to monitor local health data, according to the board.

Previously, CDPHE released a statement that says:

“Custer County does not have the authority to lift its own restrictions. We expect all counties to abide by all executive and public health orders. Counties are able to enact stricter guidance/protocols, but must meet the state’s minimum requirements."

The board said they'll meet as frequently as necessary and observe the health of residents daily. The Custer County Public Health Agency will actively monitor COVID-19 statistics and adjust guidelines as warranted.

The board encouraged businesses to continue implementing safety protocols "at their own discretion."

7:09 p.m. | FEMA approves Denver’s $60.4 million emergency shelter budget request

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified Denver today that it has approved the city’s initial version request of $60,446,662 for costs related to emergency shelter for those experiencing homelessness, clearing the way for Denver to seek full reimbursement for those costs from FEMA in the coming months.

The approval comes at a critical time when the city is working to extend several contracts with hotels providing non-congregate shelter and other services. The city also continues to move forward with construction on a second large shelter facility located off 48th Avenue in northeast Denver. The new shelter will allow the city to transition from temporary shelter sites to the new facility, which is located near the city’s existing shelter and will continue to provide 24/7 access to shelter and supportive services.

4:49 p.m. | Kaiser Permanente postpones vaccination clinics this weekend

Kaiser Permanente is postponing this weekend's COVID-19 vaccination clinics due to expected inclement weather.

It will be contacting everyone scheduled with a vaccine appointment for this upcoming weekend by text or email and rescheduling them for next weekend, March 20-21 at the same time and location as their original appointment.

The postponement only applies to the vaccine clinics, and Kaiser Permanente medical offices are scheduled to be open for normal hours at this time.

4:30 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

Colorado reported 1,240 new cases of COVID-19, a larger increase compared to the last few days, but hospitalizations continue to trend down. Here's the latest CDPHE data for Wednesday with the change from Tuesday in parentheses:

439,265 cases (+1,240)
24,024 hospitalized (+31)
64 counties (+0)
2,628,000 people tested (+4,994)
6,465,963 test encounters (+27,562)
6,003 deaths among cases (+6)
6,049 deaths due to COVID-19 (+14)
4,040 outbreaks (+45)

The latest hospital data shows 350 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – three fewer than Tuesday with 55 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 86% of state hospitals reporting. Tuesday's seven-day average positivity rate in Colorado was 3.26%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 1,106,235 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 653,381 people have been fully immunized.

Click here to explore the latest COVID-19 case data for Colorado.

3:02 p.m. | Colorado lawmakers unveil $700 million stimulus package aimed at pressing needs

Democratic and Republican legislative leadership joined Gov. Jared Polis Wednesday to unveil a $700 million “stimulus package” of proposals they hope to pass in bills this session they say constitutes investments in infrastructure, agriculture and small businesses and helps shore up some of the cuts made to last year’s budget.

Among the proposals are roughly $170 million in “shovel-ready projects,” the officials said, which involve one-time spending primarily on infrastructure projects, such as improvements to the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels, more wildlife mitigation corridors, I-70 bridge work in Denver and more.

The other proposals include items the lawmakers said would be both short- and long-term investments in the state as it works to recover from the pandemic and recession, including broadband infrastructure expansion, millions in small business, housing and community proposals, money for schools and mental health, proposals to help mitigate Colorado’s drought and wildfire seasons, and investments in the workforce and tourism.

The package was unveiled shortly after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign later this week, which will also include separate money the state can use for some of its most pressing pandemic-related issues.

But the group of lawmakers made clear these are two separate pools of money. The up-to-$700 million package comes on the heels of a $300 million package the legislature passed during a December special session aimed at COVID-19 relief.

The total of about $1 billion in state money the lawmakers are working with between those two packages is aimed at shoring up some of the more-than $3 billion in cuts lawmakers made last year at the beginning of the pandemic. Polis had asked for $1.3 billion in spending in his budget proposal in early November.

“As we look to build our economy and our state even stronger than before the pandemic, we also have an opportunity to reimagine Colorado’s future and truly create a Colorado for all,” Polis said in a statement Wednesday. “I want to thank the legislature for their collaborative work on this important package of legislation. These one-time, strategic investments will help Coloradans get back to work and not only make important investments in our infrastructure and workforce today, but help keep us moving forward together for years to come.”

The lawmakers said Wednesday that the $700 million in this proposal and $300 million from the special session package all come as a result of work by the Joint Budget Committee last year to prepare for the pandemic and from tax revenues that were higher than expected over the past several months.

“While the pandemic has been devastating … we did prepare for the worst,” Polis said at the news conference in which the officials made the announcement. “Thankfully, those worst-case scenarios didn’t come to pass, and so we have one-time, carry-forward funds.”

House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said all of the money would move forward in individual bills. The House and Senate Republican leaders both pledged to work together with Democrats as long as the bills address their three main priorities: getting people back to work, students back in schools, and addressing road and bridge infrastructure needs.

Click here to read the full story.

11:30 a.m. | Latino COVID-19 vaccine clinic postponed

A vaccination clinic scheduled for Sunday at Sunrise Community Health Center in Evans has been postponed due to the incoming snowstorm.

Tuesday, March 9

10:52 p.m. | Congressman Lamborn sends letter to Polis regarding vaccine discrepancy

Rep. Doug Lamborn sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis regarding the vaccine discrepancy he says is negatively affecting El Paso County.

According to Lamborns' office, El Paso County is facing a shortage of about 25,000 vaccines.

“It is deeply concerning that El Paso County is not receiving its fair share of vaccines. Governor Polis needs to address this issue and clarify how this mistake was allowed to occur in the first place. The citizens of El Paso deserve to be vaccinated at the same rate as those in the Denver metro area. This issue must be corrected immediately,” Lamborn said in a statement.

Lamborn, R-Colo., also recently joined Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., in a letter to the governor urging him to ensure rural areas of Colorado receive adequate doses of the vaccine.

7:54 p.m. | More than 3,000 JBS meatpacking plant employees vaccinated over the weekend.

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) Local 7 announced Tuesday that more than 3,000 JBS Greeley employees received a COVID-19 vaccine Friday and Saturday at a vaccination clinic held at the meatpacking plant.

Local 7, the UFCW union, said they were pleased with the vaccination clinic, but continue to stress the importance of safe practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

The JBS meatpacking plant was once the site of the state's largest COVID-19 outbreak. Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 500 UFCW Local 7 members at JBS have contracted the virus, and six members have died, as well as one corporate employee, according to Local 7.

7:40 p.m. | Broomfield County moving back to Level Yellow due to increase in COVID-19 cases

Broomfield County was the first county in the Denver metro area to move to Level Blue on the state's COVID-19 dial just over two weeks ago. Wednesday morning, they're returning back to Level Yellow.

Jason Vahling, the city and county's public health director, said in a meeting Monday the change is due to an increase in cases.

"Our case incidence rate has been in the yellow level for over a seven-day period, and that is what triggers the move," he said. "Additionally, CDPHE has created a buffer zone of 15% above these thresholds, but, unfortunately, we have exceeded that even for the five-day period that they've established."

Household transmission and community transmission continue to be a large source of the spread of COVID-19 in Broomfield County, according to Deb Federspiel, Broomfield Public Health and Environment deputy director.

At Monday's meeting, Federspiel broke down the transmission categories with the following percentages for the past month:

  • Household transmission: 33%
  • Community transmission: 34%
  • Sports: 11%
  • Travel: 6%
  • Social gatherings: 6%
  • Work-related exposures: 4%

Read the full story here.

5:49 p.m. | Douglas County commissioners pass resolution to petition Polis to lift COVID restrictions

The Douglas County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to pass a resolution to petition Colorado’s governor to immediately adopt a plan that will let the county lift all coronavirus restrictions.

The three commissioners acknowledged the resolution and petition had little bearing on what Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) decide to do with restrictions across the state – much less on a county-by-county basis – in the coming weeks. Several officials said there is a meeting between the state and local public health officials scheduled for later this week.

The resolution itself says “the Board does not wish to mislead any person or business that Douglas County has the authority to allow reopening without potentially severe repercussions to any such business from other entities such as the State or Tri-County Health Department, but can only assure such individuals and businesses that no retribution should come from the County.”

Board chair Lora Thomas added just before the three-member panel voted that the county did not have the legal ability to “open” whenever it wishes.

“Executive orders absolutely prevent us from telling all of you that you can do whatever you want because of the repercussions built into all the special orders,” she said, adding that the board’s attorney likely “wants to strangle” county commissioners “because we’re always asking him to find a way to get this done.”

All of the people save for two who spoke during the public comment session on the resolution prior to the commissioners’ vote spoke in favor of it for various reasons – ranging from concerns about people’s mental health and suicides, to concerns about businesses and the economy moving forward, to ideas of Democratic conspiracy theories between the state and Biden administration to suppress people, to generally disdain for the government – especially the one led by Polis.

Just before the vote, Commissioner Abe Laydon again laid out the current COVID-19 trends in the county. There have been 233 deaths there, with the average age of the deceased being 83 years old. The county has vaccinated 82% of its residents over age 70 with at least their first dose, Laydon said.

Thomas, the board chair, said those numbers made her confident about the move.

“We are not doing this recklessly. We’re getting a lot of emails from people saying, ‘Please, do this right away,’ and others saying, ‘Oh no, don’t do this,’” she said in an interview. “We’re not doing this recklessly. We are working hand-in-hand with the governor’s office and the state health department to make sure the whole state does this together in unison.”

Douglas County is currently in Level Yellow on the state’s response dial, with a five-star variance allowing certified business to operate at Level Blue, as are most of the Denver metro-area counties.

Gov. Jared Polis said during a news conference Tuesday that “most things are open.”

“I hope you’re able to do what you want to do. I think what they’re talking about is when you can pack in people a little closer at restaurants or bars. That’s happening. That’s happening automatically with the dial,” Polis said.

“We trust you. It’s a matter of personal responsibility, and we hope that that continues in the coming weeks,” he added. “All of these things will be phasing out in the coming weeks and months. It’s really just a matter of making sure our most vulnerable are protected, and then, working to localize that health response so that counties can choose when and how to implement mask requirements.”

Douglas County and its elected officials have been largely at odds with the state’s coronavirus restrictions since they were first implemented last year. The commissioners last summer started the process of withdrawing from the Tri-County Health Department before changing course later in the year and saying they would stick with the public health department through at least 2022.

The Tri-County Health Department Executive Director John M. Douglas Jr., MD, said in a statement that his department agrees that restrictions should be lifted faster than currently planned for.

“We understand the desire of leaders and residents in Douglas County to open up our communities and economy as rapidly and completely as possible based on the extraordinary opportunities provided by the growing supply of highly effective vaccines,” Douglas said in a statement to Denver7. “Tri-County Health Department concurs with faster re-opening and will be conveying concerns of elected officials and residents in all of our counties when we take part in discussions with CDPHE on best approaches going forward later this week.”

Click here to read the full story.

5:37 p.m. | Gov. Polis expects potential vaccination delays to be 'short-term' due to incoming winter storm

massive snowstorm in Colorado isn't out of the ordinary. But when it means some may not receive their COVID-19 vaccine on time, that's cause for concern.

"As far as I know, there’s been no vaccination clinics canceled yet. Stay in touch with your clinic. Weather pending for now, keep your plans because if it’s mild to moderate weather, I believe everything will occur according to schedule," Gov. Jared Polis said during a press conference Tuesday.

Hospitals around the state, like UCHealth and Denver Health, say they haven't canceled their vaccination plans this weekend.

Deb Suniga with the Latino Coalition of Weld County said they are still planning on having a mass vaccination held inside a clinic this Sunday. Around 500 have registered, and they are still taking sign-ups.

"We can say, 'rain or snow, we are there,' but we don’t want to put anyone in danger with the roads, so will keep an eye on it and take a look and make sure everything looks good," Suniga said.

Suniga said if they do have to cancel, they will reach out — along the same lines as what the governor said on Tuesday.

"If there are parts of the state that are impacted by severe are impassable weather, people will be notified by their provider. Those will be rescheduled in a few days," Polis said.

With thousands of vaccines ready to go, the governor doesn't expect to see an issue in supply similar to what happened as a result of winter weather across the south weeks ago.

"The vaccine is in hand. It’s ready to go. We don’t expect to have a delay of more than a few days," Polis said.

"We receive vaccine deliveries Monday through Wednesday based off the standard ordering cadence. All remaining vaccine shipments for this week will be completed by Wednesday, 3/10, so we do not expect the upcoming weather to affect vaccine availability," The Colorado Joint Information Center said.

The information center also provided the following statement:

"The Colorado Joint Task Force and Unified Coordination Center continue to coordinate with the National Weather Service with daily updates on the snow forecast for the state. We are working with providers and are urging them to notify individuals of any weather-related delays or postponements and to reschedule appointments so they can occur as quickly as possible. The Equity Outreach Team is working directly with each of the weekend clinics on contingency planning."

4:30 p.m. | CDPHE: Wrestlers should get tested before state championships

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment on Tuesday issued guidance requiring that high school wrestlers get tested for COVID-19 before this week's state championships in Pueblo.

CDPHE cited a study that shows "a higher number of outbreaks associated with club or high school sanctioned wrestling events compared to other sports."

The testing requirement will be a stipulation of the Colorado High School Activities Association's variance it received to be allowed to have high school sports during COVID-19. Athletes participating in the state championships can provide a negative COVID-19 test up to 72 hours before competing or get tested upon arrival in Pueblo.

4 p.m. | Colorado continues to see decline in hospitalizations, but reports over 800 new cases

Colorado continued to see a slow decline in hospitalizations with just nine fewer patients from a day prior and reported over 800 new cases of COVID-19 over the last 24 hours. Here's the latest CDPHE data.

438,025 cases (+838)
23,993 hospitalized (+84)
64 counties (+0)
2,623,006 people tested (+3,033)
6,438,401 test encounters (+11,369)
5,997 deaths among cases (+7)
6,035 deaths due to COVID-19 (+13)
3,995 outbreaks (+11)

The latest hospital data shows 353 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients – nine fewer than Monday with 39 patients discharged or transferred from hospitals over the past 24 hours and 90% of state hospitals reporting. Monday's seven-day average positivity rate in Colorado was 3.27%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 1,080,683 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 636,951 people have been fully immunized. Colorado began administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.

Click here to explore the latest COVID-19 case data for Colorado.

3:30 p.m. | Polis gives update on COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis gave an update Tuesday on the state's response to COVID-19. Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state's epidemiologist, said officials are working to vaccinate prison workers and their families after a cluster of three COVID-19 cases of the South African variant were detected at a correctional facility in Buena Vista.

The Colorado State Public Health Laboratory has detected three cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa, in the state. This is the first detection of B.1.351 in Colorado. However, it's been identified 68 times in 17 jurisdiction across the U.S.

The three cases in Colorado are at the Colorado Department of Corrections Buena Vista Correctional Complex. Two cases are among staff and one is a person who is incarcerated.

Watch Polis' full update here:

Full news conference: Gov. Polis provides update on South African variant in Colorado, current vaccine rollout process

12:02 p.m. | Rockies to host 21,000 fans at Coors Field on Opening Day against the Dodgers

The Colorado Rockies have been allowed to host 21,363 fans at Coors Field on Opening Day against the Dodgers, the team announced Tuesday in a press release.

The increase to 42.6% of total capacity comes nearly two weeks after the Rockies announced the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) granted them variance to host spectators.

The Rockies said they have implemented all required health safety guidelines from state and local health agencies, as well as from the MLB, "to create a safe and healthy experience for fans."

Among the guidelines? Masks will have be worn while in seats, except when actively eating and drinking, the Rockies tweeted when asked for clarification.

The Rockies will begin selling tickets to April home games on March 11, with Rockies Plan Holders receiving first opportunity to secure tickets for the first homestand, they said in the news release. If inventory allows, ticket on-sale dates for the general public will be determined and announced at a later date.

6:30 a.m. | Polis urges DA to allow COVID-19 vaccine pooling

Along with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Gov. Jared Polis sent a letter to Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the FDA to allow for the pooling of COVID-19 vaccines by granting a short-term emergency waiver for experienced practitioners.

Vaccine pooling is used for the flu shot and other vaccines. It's a common practice that allows medical practitioners to take leftover amounts of a vaccine from one vial and combine it with another vial to produce one full dose.

“We believe we must take advantage of every opportunity to protect people from the virus as well as outpace the rapid growth of COVID-19 variants. One such opportunity is the pooling of vaccine doses,” the letter reads.

5 a.m. | Elbert County moving to Level Blue

Elbert County will move to Level Blue on the state's COVID-19 dial. The CDPHE notified Elbert County Public Health that the county was eligible to make the transition with its lower daily case counts, case rates, and percentage of county residents testing positive.

This begins Tuesday.

Monday, March 8

9:18 p.m. | Douglas County commissioners petition for full reopening

The Board of County Commissioners of Douglas County is petitioning the state to fully reopen the county.

Resolution 6731 states that the board "remains concerned about ongoing business restrictions and closures, personal liberty restrictions, and harm to individual mental health and the general public welfare as a result of long-term and overly broad State government action."

The resolution petitions Gov. Jared Polis to immediately adopt a plan that will allow Douglas County to reopen fully as a result of decreasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalization rates. The board says citizens should be allowed to exercise their own personal responsibility to determine what's best for their health and financial interests.

The resolution says reasons for fully reopening also included a high unemployment rate, a decline in per capita income and vaccination rates thus far, among other reasons.

The resolution is dated for Tuesday, March 9.

9 p.m. | Colorado relaxes some COVID-19 restrictions, restaurant capacity, last call expanded

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is relaxing some COVID-19 restrictions under an amended public health order issued Sunday.

The changes include increased capacity for restaurants and an expanded last call to order alcohol for counties on Level Blue and Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial.

The amended order is also bringing changes to the dial. While the levels — green, blue, yellow, red and purple — remain the same, the changes will give counties more wiggle room before they are bumped up and restrictions are tightened.

Increased capacity for restaurants and seated indoor events will allow Level Blue counties to seat 225 people without using the distancing space calculator, up from capacity limits of 175 people. Also, 5 Star-certified businesses on that level may expand capacity limits by 50 people above the Level Blue caps.

Read the full story here.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

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

437,187 cases (+585)
23,909 hospitalized (+5)
64 counties
2,619,973 people tested (+3,432)
6,427,032 test encounters (+11,909)
5,990 deaths among cases (+1)
6,022 deaths due to COVID-19 (+27)
3,984 outbreaks (+7)

Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate for COVID-19 was 3.28% on Sunday. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 1,054,537 Coloradans had received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 612,538 people have been fully immunized. Colorado began administering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week.

12:04 p.m. | Wyoming to lift mask mandate, restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms on March 16

Colorado’s neighbors to the north in Wyoming are the latest to say they will lift their mask mandate and allow bars, restaurants, gyms and theaters to return to normal operations in coming weeks.

The move will happen on March 16, according to Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, who announced the lifting of the restrictions Monday. The move came after Texas and Mississippi announced they would be lifting most of their restrictions last week, which led to criticism from the Biden administration.

"We have been very clear that now is not the time to release full restrictions," said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky last week. “Every individual is empowered to do the right thing here, regardless of what the states decide — for personal health, for public health, for the loved ones in their communities."

Wyoming has seen 46,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases over the course of the pandemic and 682 deaths, but the state’s dashboard shows cases have been steadily declining since mid-January.

Wyoming is estimated as having a population of just under 600,000 people, and as of last week, was averaging about 50 new cases per week, according to the Wyoming Department of Health.

“I thank the people of Wyoming for their commitment to keeping one another safe throughout this pandemic,” Gov.Gordon said in a statement Monday. “It is through their efforts that we have kept our schools and businesses operating and our economy moving forward. I ask all Wyoming citizens to continue to take personal responsibility for their actions and stay diligent as we look ahead to the warmer months and to the safe resumption of our traditional spring and summer activities.”

As of Monday, the state said it had already administered more than 100,000 first doses of the vaccine – amounting to about 19% of the eligible population, the governor’s office said – and nearly 60,000 second doses. Wyoming will soon be entering the next phase of its vaccine rollout, which includes workers at restaurants, bars, gyms and theater workers.

But Carbon and Sweetwater counties – which sit just north of the Colorado border – still have the state’s highest case rates per 100,000 people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued guidance Monday on what vaccinated people will be allowed to do, including gathering indoors without masks, though some restrictions remain recommended.

Gordon said Wyomingites will still be required to wear masks inside K-12 schools to be sure in-person learning can continue. And he encouraged people to wear face coverings indoors and to “follow the best practices adopted by any business they visit to slow the spread of the virus,” the governor’s office said in a news release.

The state is expected to release the modified health orders later this week.

Click here to read the full story.

5 am. | B.1.351 variant detected in Colorado

The Colorado State Public Health Laboratory has detected three cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first identified in South Africa, in the state. This is the first detection of B.1.351 in Colorado. However, it's been identified 68 times in 17 jurisdiction across the U.S.

The three cases in Colorado are at the Colorado Department of Corrections Buena Vista Correctional Complex. Two cases are among staff and one is a person who is incarcerated.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for March 1-March 7, 2021.