Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 1, 2020

Posted at 5:32 AM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 07:21:23-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Wednesday, April 1. Click here for the live blog from Thursday, April 2.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he may extend the statewide stay-at-home order, but a spokesperson for his office said that is not final and Polis is waiting to get a few more days' worth of information before making that decision.

Meanwhile, Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said he will likely extend the city and county's stay-at-home order until April 30.

As of Wednesday at 4 p.m., the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said more than 18,600 people have been tested across 50 counties. Of those, 3,342 people tested positive. And of that total, 620 were hospitalized and 80 died.

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:

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

8:58 p.m. | Sen. Bennet among U.S. senators calling for release of $900 million in funds for low-income families

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-CO, was among a group of 27 senators who sent a letter urging the Trump Administration to quickly release $900 million in Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding that Congress included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The funding would help low-income families and seniors struggling to pay their utility bills. Colorado households will receive nearly $60.7 million in LIHEAP assistance in Fiscal Year 2020.

6:08 p.m. | Jeffco Deputy assigned to jail tests positive for COVID-19

A Jefferson County Sheriff's Office deputy who was assigned to the county jail tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The sheriff's office learned he contracted the disease on Tuesday, March 31. The deputy is now spending time at home in isolation. It is not known where or when the deputy contracted the new virus.

4:10 p.m. | Tri-County Health Dept.: More than 800 cases and 13 deaths due to COVID-19

The Tri-County Health Department reports Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties have reported more than 800 cases of COVID-19 combined, as well as 13 deaths. The health department created a website that provides daily updates for residents, which you can find here.

4:11 p.m. | Number of positive cases, COVID-19 deaths in Colorado continues to grow

The number of cases of the novel coronavirus in Colorado increased by 376 on Wednesday, with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) announcing 3,342 people had tested positive as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

A total of 111 more people were hospitalized, bringing the total of hospitalizations to 620. The new virus is also now present in 50 of Colorado's 64 counties. The CDPHE said 1,796 more tests had been received by the state, bringing the total number of people who have been tested for COVID-19 to 18,645. State health officials said 80 people have now died from the disease, an increase of 11 from Tuesday’s numbers.

State health and government officials believe there are many more cases in the state but are prioritizing testing for those who are most at-risk

1:40 p.m. | Polis extends school closure to April 30

Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday he will extend the closure of schools in Colorado to April 30, consistent with new social distancing guidelines from President Trump. Polis said he expects many districts will choose to stay closed through the end of the school year and rely solely on remote learning. He recommended that all districts prepare for the likelihood of no on-campus school for the rest of the school year.

1:30 p.m. | CDPHE's plan for increasing hospital capacity

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Scott Bookman at a press conference with Gov. Jared Polis detailed the state's plan for dealing with the surge of coronavirus patients expected in coming weeks. The CDPHE formed a four-tiered system, classifying facilities based on the type of care needed there.

Tier 1 will be in-hospital care in the intensive care units. Bookman said the state needs to increase the availability of Tier 1 beds from 1,849 to 5,000 by April 18. Tier 2 facilities would include ambulatory surgical location and other freestanding sites. Tier 3 facilities would be for "sub-acute" patients who need daily monitoring and respiratory needs. Tier 3 facilities could include arenas, convention centers and stadiums and the goal would be to have 2,000 beds by April 18.

Tier 4 would be for patients who are asymptomatic but need supervision. Dorms, hotels and other similar buildings could serve as Tier 4 facilities, Bookman said, and the state estimates it would need 10,000 beds by May 15.

1:20 p.m. | Polis details how many supplies are needed

Gov. Jared Polis said the state has ordered 2.5 milion N95 mask and one million surgical masks to fulfill the dire need of personal protective equipment in Colorado. The state also ordered 250,000 gowns, 23,000 face shields, 1.5 million gloves and 750 ventilators.

Polis said many of the personal protective equipment items are being ordered through Chinese suppliers and that the state will have to verify the effectiveness of the equipment before putting it into use.

1:10 p.m. | New numbers from Polis

Gov. Jared Polis released updated coronavirus data at his afternoon news conference Wednesday. Colorado now has 3,338 known cases and 77 deaths. Polis said 612 people have been hospitalized and 18,645 test results have been received. More numbers could be released at 4 p.m.

12:40 p.m. |In-home coronavirus testing begins in Summit County

Coronavirus tests have been limited across Colorado, but a mountain county is hoping a new mobile program — and possibly hundreds of tests ordered from a private lab company — will greatly increase their ability to track the spread of COVID-19.

Summit County on Tuesday launched in-home testing for residents who show coronavirus symptoms and have a doctor's note qualifying them to be tested.

Under the program, first responders with Stadium Medical, a private ambulance company based in Denver, will go to residents' homes and collect samples for coronavirus tests. The tests will then be sent to a Quest Diagnostics, a private lab company, for processing. Results from Quest have been available in 4-5 days from sample pickup.

"Our guidance to anyone who is sick is to stay home," said Julie Sutor, the county director of communications. "This helps us ensure they are fulfilling that guidance."

On Tuesday, six test samples were collected with the mobile testing but officials expected the program to ramp up to about 15 tests per day. Through Wednesday morning, 131 people had been tested for COVID-19 in Summit county. Thirty-four tests had come back positive and 33 remained pending.

10:12 a.m. | JeffCo deputy assigned to jail tests positive

A Jefferson County deputy assigned to the jail received results from a COVID-19 test on Wednesday evening. The deputy tested positive, according to Michael Taplin, spokesman with the Jeffco Sheriff's Office.

9:47 a.m. | Kroger says it will give employees temporary raises

Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers and City Market, says it's giving its employees a temporary $2/hour raise in addition to one-time bonuses announced last week. Click here to read more.

9:15 a.m. | Gov. Polis to host news conference at 12:45 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis is going to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at 12:45 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center in Centennial.

Denver7 will carry it live on our website, streaming apps, over the air and social media.

8:40 a.m. | Goodwill of Colorado donates scrubs

The Goodwill of Colorado recently collaborated with the Colorado Visiting Nursing Association (CVNA) to provide clinical uniforms to nurses who are helping affected individuals in their homes. Goodwill locations around the state gathered scrubs to donate to the cause. The scrubs — there's enough to outfit about 450 nurses — were all cleaned before they were delivered to CVNA on Tuesday, Goodwill said.

8 a.m. | Local hospital opens unit for those are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms with behavioral health issues, substance use disorder

Centennial Peaks Hospital in Louisville said they have opened a unit that is dedicated to serving those who are ill and/or have COVID-19 symptoms and are also struggling with behavioral health or substance use disorder. The unit is currently open to adult patients.

According to a press release, the hospital understands the effect COVID-19 is having on the community and the ongoing need for treatment for behavioral health and substance use disorders.

5:15 a.m. | Dental charity to donate pallets of PPE to Denver Health

The Colorado Mission of Mercy Dental Clinic (COMOM) will be unloading a semi-truck of PPE to donate to Denver Health and other hospitals in need of PPE supplies today. The Colorado Dental Association estimates that they'll be donating 6-8 pallets of PPE.

5 a.m. | No traffic fines for street sweeping in Denver

Denver's street sweeping program begins today, but because so many people are inside under the stay-at-home order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, the city will not enforce parking restrictions related to street sweeping for 30 days. Anybody who is able to move their cars is asked to do so.

4:30 a.m. | It's Census Day and you can send in your Census to help reduce COVID-19 spread

Yes, you read that correctly. The U.S. Census Bureau is reminding Coloradans to send in their 2020 Census forms — by mail, online, over the phone — so Census takers won't have to follow-up by visiting households that haven't responded. Click here for details on the 2020 Census and how to submit the form.

4 a.m. | Let There Be Light planned for 7 p.m. today

A growing nationwide movement called Let There Be Light is asking people to place a luminary or candle outside their home to show support for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals on the front line of the COVID-19 outbreak. This is set to begin at 7 p.m. today. (Note: If you light a candle, do not leave it unattended.)

Read the live blog from March 31 here.