Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 24, 2020

Posted at 5:12 AM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 22:24:35-04

The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of 552 Coloradans as of Thursday at 4 p.m., according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Since the outbreak reached Colorado, more than 52,000 people have been tested and 11,262 of those cases came back positive.

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:

Friday, April 24

8:10 p.m. | Douglas County officially announces implementation of safer-at-home guidance

In an official statement released Friday night, Douglas County says it will begin "a phased-in reopening of its economy beginning April 27 consistent with Governor Polis’ statewide, new “safer at home” orders" set to begin on Monday.

The county, which is part of the Tri-County Health Department system, said it has seen positive cases of COVID-19 level off in recent weeks and will not be included under the stah-at-home order extension that bouth Arapahoe and Adams counties will undergo.

“We credit the citizens of Douglas County for our favorable public health data that put us in the position to move forward as a ‘safer at home’ county,” said Commissioner Roger Partridge, chair, Board of County Commissioners.

7:05 p.m. | Grand County extends ban on shot-term lodging to May 21

Grand County said in a statement Friday night that it will extend its public health order banning short-term lodging until May 21. "Short-term lodging" includes, but is not limited to, campgrounds (whether private or government operated), reserved camping sites, hotels, motels, bed and breakfast establishments, lodges, retreats and “short-term rentals” (that are 30 days or less). Exceptions include, but are not limited to, housing for essential workers such as construction and healthcare employees, housing for individuals caring for vulnerable populations, and individuals staying for longer than 30 days.

In that statement, Grand County said it has never issued a stay-at-home order, "contrary to what has been reported."

6:01 p.m. | Polis to create advisory board to support coordination on compliance, enforcement of safer-at-home guidance

Gov. Polis has announced that he will be creating an advisory board to support coordination across multiple jurisdictions on compliance and enforcement for Safer-at-Home with the goal of maximizing social distancing compliance. It will be specifically focused on how local governments and local public health can coordinate with the state on educating the public about these regulations, and maximizing compliance and enforcement efforts during the COVID-19 crisis.

5:41 p.m. | Aurora Mayor 'deeply disappointed' Tri-County Health is extending stay-at-home order through May 8

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said in a series of tweets late Friday afternoon he was "deeply disappointed" that the Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas County, voted to authorize the extension of the stay-at-home order for Adams and Arapahoe counties through May 8 - but not for Douglas County - which will move ahead with the statewide safer at home guidance.

"The Governor understands the importance of balancing the competing needs of managing a public health crisis with the economic survival of our state. I fully understand that local health departments have the authority to exceed the Governor's order. That said, I'm deeply disappointed that the @TCHDHealth, which is the public health department for all of Aurora, is considering an extension of the stay-at-home order beyond April 26th," Coffman said.

5:39 p.m. | Wheat Ridge awards grants to small businesses

The City of Wheat Ridge City Council says it has awarded a total of $250,000 to small businesses through the city thanks to the Small Business Stabilization Program . The city received 140 applications and awarded 99 grants ranging from $500 - $5,000 to those businesses affected by COVID-19.

5:01 p.m. | RTD asks riders to wear face coverings at all times while using public transit

RTD is asking all riders of public transit "to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others" by wearing a mask or face covering. The district said all of the agency's bus and rail operators are now required to do the same, under a new RTD policy that went into effect today.

“Personal safety is everyone’s responsibility,” said Mike Meader, RTD’s chief safety and security officer. “To slow the spread of the coronavirus, all of us must do our part. With this new policy, our agency is demonstrating a continued commitment to the health and safety of our employees and our patrons. We take these measures seriously. We will continue to weather this pandemic together.”

5 p.m. | Eagle County updates public health order after Polis approves exemptions from state's executive orders

As Eagle County begins to gradually loosen restrictions starting Monday after getting a variance from the CDPHE, officials have updated their public health order to include some changes.

--Gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed if social distancing requirements are met.
--Some outdoor recreational facilities will be allowed to reopen.
--Short-term lodging operations remain restricted except for in emergencies
--Some non-critical businesses can reopen if they create and post a social distancing protocol showing how they are achieving social distancing, sanitization and cleaning.
--Travel into and around Eagle County will remain restricted to local residents only – those who own, maintain, or live in a home within the county.

“Gatherings of up to 10 people are okay as of April 27, but they still require some responsible choices. In these circumstances, folks should continue to maintain distance from people outside of their immediate household. Remember, we are connected as a community through the choices we make individually,” the county said in a statement.

More guidance from the county can be found here.

4:46 p.m. | Greeley extends public closures of city facilities to June 2 in support of "safer at home" restrictions

Despite the spat between Weld County and the governor, Greeley Mayor John Gates says the city, which is in Weld County, supports “safer at home” and will extend the closures of city facilities until June 2.

“Based on the medical and scientific data, and the high number of cases in Weld County, the City of Greeley strongly supports following the ‘Safer at Home’ philosophy,” Gates said in a statement. “This approach protects lives, flattens the curve, and is a step in the right direction for getting our community back to a fully operational economy.”

Click here to read more.

4:05 p.m. | Latest Colorado COVID-19 data

Here were the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado, as of Friday afternoon, with the change from Thursday in parentheses:

12,255 cases (+993)
2,366 hospitalized (+129)
56 counties (+0)
56,789 tested (+4,465)
674 deaths (+122)
134 outbreaks (+4)

Today’s data shows the jump in numbers officials said we should expect this week after older cases and probable deaths were added to the dataset.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 24, 2020

4 p.m. | Tri-County Health votes to extend stay-at-home for Adams, Arapahoe counties

The Tri-County Health Department board voted to authorize the director to extend the stay-at-home order for Adams and Arapahoe counties through May 8 but not for Douglas County, which will move ahead with the statewide safer at home guidance, according to department spokesperson Becky O’Guin.

As of Thursday, Arapahoe County had the highest number of deaths in the state, at 101. Adams County had 50 deaths and Douglas County had 18. Arapahoe County also has the second-most confirmed cases in the state.

“We want to get people back to work as soon as it is safer to do so,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, Executive Director of Tri-County Health Department. “This extension in Adams and Arapahoe will give us more time to do several things: expand public health measures such as testing and contact notification, develop and implement strategies in partnership with our business community on how to safely reopen, and to encourage the public to practice social distancing and other safety measures---all of which should hopefully reduce the spread of this disease.”

Read more about what Front Range communities are doing starting Monday here.

2:15 p.m. | Polis discusses Weld County’s stance

Gov. Polis said at an afternoon news conference Friday that Weld County had not yet applied for a variance like the one Eagle County has been granted or the one Mesa County has requested. He said the county would need to if it intends to go forward with opening businesses ahead of schedule lest it face consequences.

He said the guidance issued by the county was “fine” but not as thorough as that of the state. And he said that if the county allows businesses to reopen before they are allowed to then they were be endangering the people of Weld County.

He said if the county’s intent was to allow businesses to reopen without social distancing guidelines and ahead of schedule that it would be “extremely dangerous” and simply put that they cannot go against the state’s rules.

Polis reiterated the counties that don’t follow the guidance risk losing emergency funds and that his administration would “absolutely use every mechanism we can” to enforce the public health guidance, and that businesses that reopen against the guidance could losing their state business license.

Click here to read the full story.

2 p.m. | 138 inmates test positive at Colorado prison

More than 130 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 at a state prison in Sterling, officials announced on Friday. Officials tested 473 symptomatic inmates at the prison this week. Of the 255 tests returned by Friday, 138 tests came back as positive, 104 were negative, 12 were inconclusive and one was unsatisfactory.

“Given the insidious nature of this virus we had suspected that despite seeing a relatively low number of inmates with symptoms, the number of positives was potentially much higher,” Department of Corrections Executive Director Dean Williams said in a news release. “That is exactly why we conducted this large scale testing, so that we can continue to isolate, monitor and treat any inmates who were positive and try to mitigate the spread to others inside the facility.”

The inmates who were tested were from several units on the east side of the facility, officials said. All inmates on the east side of the prison are having temperature checks taken twice a day.

The Sterling Correctional Facility has been on "Phase III" operations since April 14 in which inmates must remain in their cells in quarantine, other than using restrooms and showers. Meals and medications are being delivered to inmates in their units.

Click here to read the full story.

1:30 p.m. | Friday update from Polis

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday said the state would be issuing more official guidance on Monday as the state transitions into a "safer-at-home" following the Sunday's expiration of the stay-at-home order.

Polis also said the state was forming an advisory board on how to keep sustainable social distancing long-term as officials prepare to deal with the COVID-19 response into the summer and fall. While the virus will impact society in the coming months, Polis said it was important that businesses are able to return to some level of activity to survive.

Gov. Polis announces that "safer at home" guidelines will be released Monday

12:45 p.m. |Front Range counties taking different approaches to end of stay-at-home order

Counties along the densely-populated Front Range of Colorado are taking different approaches for when the statewide stay-at-home order expires on Sunday as the governor’s office warns that counties not in line with the “safer at home” guidance could risk losing grant money.

Denver, Jefferson and Boulder counties announced Friday morning they would be extending their specific county stay-at-home orders through May 8, and the Tri-County Health Department, which covers Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, has a board meeting set for 12:30 p.m. to discuss extending its order as well.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in announcing the extension that he had spoken extensively with the governor and with area mayors, county commissioners and county health officials about working toward a regional approach in reopening.

Read the full story here.

12:35 p.m. | Douglas County School District issuing refunds

The Douglas County School District on Friday announced it would be issuing refunds to students and families for fees and other payments made to the district. The refunds will include payments for spring camps, clubs, events (including prom), field trips, sports participation fees and sports items.

The district will refund spring parking fees 50% and full-year parking fees 25%.

Noon | Boulder County extends stay-at-home order to May 8

Joining several counties along the Front Range, Boulder County on Friday announced it would be extending its stay-at-home order through May 8. Earlier Friday, Denver and Jefferson County confirmed they would also be extending their orders through May 8. The Tri-County Health Department said it was meeting at 12:30 p.m. Friday to discuss extending the stay-at-home order for Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties.

10:45 a.m. | Tri-County Health to meet to discuss extending stay-at-home

The Tri-County Health Department board, which covers Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties, will meet at 12:30 p.m. Friday to discuss extending their stay-at-home order. Earlier Friday, Denver and Jefferson counties extended their stay-at-home orders through May 8.

10:05 a.m. | Mayor Hancock extends Denver stay-at-home to May 8

As expected, Mayor Michael Hancock in a news conference Friday said Denver's stay-at-home order will be extended through May 8.

"We need a little more time" to ramp up testing and provide additional guidance for reopening, Hancock said.

Officials said the city's goal is to increase testing to 1,000 tests per day, and Denver public health director Bob McDonald said that number is reachable in the coming weeks.

"We're ready to take more people" for testing, McDonald said, and the city is working to publicize where residents can go to get tests.

9:35 a.m. | Jefferson County extends stay-at-home order through May 8

Jefferson County Public Health has extended the countywide stay-at-home order through May 8 with an exception to allow non-critical businesses to provide curbside delivery of products and to allow people to travel to go pick up those products.

“No two communities in Colorado are the same, and each community has different needs as we look to the next stages of response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have to consider what impact opening too soon could have on those in our community and region, and take a phased, science-based approach to reopening,” said Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Executive Director, Jefferson County Public Health. “By working together across the heavily-populated Denver Metro Area, where we have much higher rates of COVID-19, we can reduce some of the confusion and most importantly, protect the health of our residents.”

The health department said the extension is necessary because it has not seen a decline in daily COVID-19 cases and does not have enough testing capacity or data about community compliance.

The department said the extension will allow it to develop and implement new strategies on reopening.

Denver is also extending its stay-at-home order, and the Tri-County Health Department says it is reviewing the need to extend the stay-at-home order for parts of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties until May 8 as well.

Click here to read the Jefferson County order.

8:40 a.m. | Gov. Polis briefing scheduled for 1 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to hold a virtual briefing Friday at 1 p.m. ahead of the expiration of the statewide stay-at-home order, which will happen at the end of the day Sunday.

At 10 a.m. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is expected to announce an extension of the city’s stay-at-home order into May.

5:43 a.m. | Estes Park and Larimer County to allow accommodations to reopen April 27

Larimer County Department of Health and Environment and the Town of Estes Park are issuing updated public health orders that will allow short-term accommodations in the Estes Valley to reopen April 27, but not without restrictions. The previous orders closed these accommodations from March 23 until April 26.

The new order will stay in place from April 27 through May 31. It will allow a guest occupancy of 50 percent of units within multiple-unit lodging facilities. Single-unit accommodations must limit occupancy to no more than eight people. No common amenities or areas may be accessible to guests except for check-in and check-out areas. Restrictions may be extended or amended in response to the pandemic.

5 a.m. | JBS meatpacking plant to reopen today

The JBS meatpacking plant and the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment have put criteria in place for the plant to reopen today. This includes all employees being required to wear face masks through their shift and testing employees who show symptoms.

Employees will be screened for symptoms daily upon entry to the plant. If an employee shows symptoms, they'll be tested on site.

5 a.m. | New drive-thru testing site opens today in Aurora

STRIDE CHC South Aurora Family Health Services announced that it will offer COVID-19 drive-thru testing today beginning at 9 a.m. The facility is located at 15132 E. Hampden Avenue (the intersection of Chambers and Hampden). This is a two-day pop-up site (open Friday and Saturday) to meet demand for testing in that area of the city. No payment is due at the time of the testing. Insurance information will be collected, if you have it.

Click here for details on this and other STRIDE CHC testing sites.

5 a.m. | Happening today: National Jewish Health to offer COVID-19 antibody tests

National Jewish Health will start offering COVID-19 antibody testing today.

“Moving forward with antibody testing provides important information about who has had COVID-19,” said Michael Salem, MD, President and CEO of National Jewish Health. “It adds an additional invaluable tool to our high-capacity virus testing towards understanding the extent of the COVID-19 pandemic in the broader population and in charting a path to renewed social and economic activity.”

The testing, which involves a blood draw, is available for the public by appointment. You can decide to get the test on your own (without a referral) for $94 or through a physician referral order. This testing is meant for people without COVID-19 symptoms.

5 a.m. | Happening today: Larimer County to open community-wide testing Friday

COVID-19 testing for symptomatic individuals will begin today in Larimer County. The county received a delivery of limited testing supplies from the state, and testing will go on until those supplies are gone.

Anybody over the age of 18 who wants to be tested must by symptomatic. The testing will be done by appointment and pre-registration is required. A doctor's note is not needed. To register for testing through Larimer County, visit and fill out the form at

Click here for the live blog from Thursday, April 23, 2020.