Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 21, 2020

Posted at 5:20 AM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 07:14:42-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Tuesday, April 21, 2020. Click here for the live blog for Wednesday, April 22, 2020.

On Monday, the Denver mayor and Colorado governor both outlined how they plan to move beyond the stay-at-home orders to help residents return to some sort of normalcy, though both noted it will be a long, slow process.

Gov. Jared Polis said in a press conference that while the state order will lift next week, strict physical distancing measures, the wearing of masks and better COVID-19 case detection and containment will be needed for months to come. He called this "safe at home" guidance.

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:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

11 p.m. | Coronavirus cases in Colorado continue to level off

More than 2,000 people had been admitted to the hospital due to COVID-19 on Tuesday, but the leveling off of cases continued with only 1,074 hospitals beds in use - that's 22 fewer beds compared to what the state reported Monday.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 21, 2020

4:45 p.m. | FEMA testing site coming to Pueblo County

A FEMA-sponsored COVID-19 drive-through testing site is being expanded to Pueblo County, officials said Tuesday. Testing will be available beginning Wednesday at the Colorado State Fair Grounds, near Gate 4 off Mesa Avenue and Gaylord Avenue. Up to 250 tests per day will be available for health care workers, first responders, people who are over 65 and people in the critical business workforce. The tests will be offered Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of each week, through May.

There is no cost for the testing, and people only need to bring a picture ID.

FEMA-sponsored testing will still be available in El Paso County at the UCHealth site at 175 South Union Boulevard.

4:15 p.m. | Denver holding LGBTQ+ town hall

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is holding a virtual town hall for the LGBTQ+ community at 5 p.m. Tuesday. City council member Robin Kniech and Rex Fuller of The Center on Colfax will join Hancock on the town hall, which will address COVID-19's impact on the LGBTQ+ community.

Go here to participate in the town hall.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus case numbers for Colorado

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released the latest coronavirus numbers for the state on Tuesday afternoon. Here was the updated data, with the change from Monday in parentheses.

10,445 cases (+339)
2,002 hospitalized (+122)
56 counties (+0)
48,704 people tested (1,238)
486 deaths (+37)
113 outbreaks (+0)

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 21, 2020

12:09 p.m. | Thousands sign up for health insurance during special enrollment period

More than 10,000 previously uninsured people have signed up for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado as of Tuesday morning. Those individuals were able to sign up during an emergency special enrollment period that ends April 30. Uninsured residents who want to enroll for coverage have until then to sign up. The coverage begins May 1 for those who signed up after April 3.

11:48 a.m. | Stuck vehicles rescued from 4x4 trail, puts strain on resources

A rescue group is reminding Coloradans to stay at home after a recent rescue tied up sheriff’s office resources. At least three people in two cars had to be rescued Sunday in Gilpin County after getting stuck in the snow overnight. Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery (CO 4x4 RNR) said this type of incident is exactly why state officials have been urging residents to stay at home and not visit the backcountry.

11:45 a.m. | Colorado AG calls for immediate suspension to proposed SNAP rule change

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser called on the Trump administration to immediately suspend action on a proposed federal rule that could cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for more than 30,000 Coloradans a month amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rule also would make it harder for many Americans to qualify for food benefits and would impose significant new administrative burdens on states, Weiser claims in a press release.

Weiser joins 22 other attorneys general and the City of New York in demanding the administration halt rulemaking.

11:31 a.m. | Summit County COVID-19 testing

Summit County health officials announced that COVID-19 testing will be available Tuesday and Thursday of this week. If residents have symptoms, they can email with their name and phone number and a person will call them back in 24 hours to set up an appointment.

11:15 a.m. | CHSAA officially cancels Colorado high schools’ spring sports

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) announced Tuesday the cancelation of the spring 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to cancel the season came after some optimism earlier in the epidemic that the spring season could be salvaged. However, officials decided Monday evening that it “would be impractical and irresponsible for the Association to move forward with a spring season in the next weeks or even the summer months,” according to a press release.

The CHSAA guidelines will remain in place until June 1, even if federal and state guidelines are relaxed. After June 1, all decisions regarding student and coach contact, virtual workouts, virtual tryouts and eighth-grade contact will be made at the local level, according to the release.

“Our hats are off to the many seniors that have shown maturity and resolve as their culminating year of high school has been impacted beyond activities and athletics due to this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The Class of 2020 will not be forgotten,” the release stated.

The CHSAA said they are hopeful the fall season will not be impacted.

9:41 a.m.| More than 250 businesses get funding from Arvada's Emergency Small Business Loan Fund

The City of Arvada said it is suspending its Emergency Small Business Loan Fund because the available funding has been distributed to the small businesses who qualified for it and needed help amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than 250 businesses benefited from it.

The city said applicants who qualify for funding, but were not able to receive it this time around will be placed on a wait list. Click here to learn about the loan fund.

8:27 a.m. | Forest Service releases online tool to track recreation, fire restrictions and updates

The USDA Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Region released a new online tool this morning that will serve as a home for all updates and information regarding restrictions for recreation and fires. This is applicable to the 24 national forests and grasslands in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

As of now, all visitors to those areas are asked to engage in "dispersed recreation" and to take extra precautions, due to COVID-19. Multiple offices are currently closed and virtual services are available for some offices and visitor centers.

Click here to explore this new website.

5 a.m. | State to start testing one of three long-term care facilities today

The state said it plans to test up to 900 residents and staff members at three Front Range long-term care facilities. One — Pikes Peak Center in El Paso County — began on Sunday. Today, Elms Haven Center in Adams County on Tuesday will begin its testing.

The third facility, the Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Broomfield, will begin testing on Thursday.

Click here for the live blog from Monday, April 20, 2020.