Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 3, 2020

Posted at 5:30 AM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-04 11:35:32-04

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment said almost 100 people have died of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state.

As of 4 p.m. on Thursday, 97 people have succumbed to complications related to COVID-19. In total, the city said 3,728 people had tested positive, but that number is likely higher. With testing reserved only for those at-risk, some people's bodies may be fighting the virus without them knowing. Of those who have tested positive, about 700 were hospitalized for their symptoms.

READ MORE: List of Colorado businesses that are open | Get or find help in the Here to Help Facebook group

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 3

7:25 p.m. |

7:06 p.m. | Governor Jared Polis launches mask campaign as deaths from coronavirus continue to increase

Gov. Polis has launched the Colorado Mask Project, which is providing Coloradans with patterns to make homemade masks and additional information after the governor urged Coloradans to wear a cloth mask "at all times" in public.

6:41 p.m. | Hancock: City and County building to be illuminated for health care, essential workers

Speaking to Denver7's Anne Trujillo during a COVID-19 Town Hall, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock says he will order the City and County building to be illuminated in red and white for health care workers as well as essential workers fighting on the frontlines against the novel coronavirus starting on April 9.

The mayor is encouraging people to put lights back on their homes as well as outside as a way of saying "thank you" to the people keeping us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado.

6:15 p.m. | Contact7 COVID-19 Town Hall

Anne Trujillo is hosting a Contact7 COVID-19 Town Hall with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Health CEO Dr. Robin Wittenstein and Denver Executive Director of the Department of Public Health Bob McDonald this evening. You can watch on our Facebook page and we'll relay them to Anne and the guests:

5:33 p.m. | Montrose County reports first death from COVID-19

A 61-year-old woman with underlying conditions died Thursday, April 2 due to coronavirus-related complications, according to the Montrose County Public Health Department.

The county says they saw an increase of 12 positive cases of COVID-19 on Thursday with an additional six cases reported on Friday, adding officials are seeing "an increase in community spread and (are) encouraging the public to stay home save lives."

4:21 p.m. | Adams County introduces COVID-19 response and recovery website

Adams County has launched a new website dedicated to providing key resources to support residents and businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the state. The website can be found here.

4:06 p.m. | Denver to close select streets to thru-traffic to create more social distancing space

The Denver Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) is temporarily closing select streets to thru-traffic to create more space for Denver residents to walk, bike and run while complying with physical distancing requirements. The following roads will be closed:

Capitol Hill neighborhood

-- E. 11th Avenue from Lincoln Street to Humboldt Street

Sloan Lake neighborhood

-- Bryon Place from Zenobia Street to Stuart Street
-- Stuart Street from 24th Avenue to 21st Avenue

North Capitol Hill/City Park West neighborhoods

-- E. 16th Avenue from Lincoln Street to City Park Esplanade

DOTI said it is reviewing more locations that would eventually be listed in the COVID-19 area of the city's website in the coming days.

"Areas being looked at first are neighborhoods with greater population densities where there’s a greater need for space and where adjacent parks are seeing significant use and reaching capacity. Areas of the city that don’t have immediate access to a park or trail are also being prioritized," officials said. "While the roads will be closed to thru-traffic, local access will still be allowed, which means people who live on the street, or need to access a destination on the stretch of roadway that is closed, will be allowed access."

4 p.m. | Colorado surpasses more than 100 deaths due to novel coronavirus, CDPHE data shows

More than 100 people in Colorado have died from COVID-19, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

The state reported it had received an additional 1,660 tests, bringing the total number of people tested for the new virus to 22,071 as of Friday afternoon. The state also reports there are now 4,173 positive cases, an uptick of 445 from Thursday. More than 700 people are now hospitalized (710) due to the disease, 113 more from a day prior and the virus is now present in 53 of Colorado's 64 counties. There are 27 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities, the CDPHE reported.

State health and government officials believe there could be between 12,000 and 33,000 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, but are prioritizing testing for those who are most at-risk.

3:31 p.m. | CDC recommends Americans cover their face when going outside as coronarivus infects 1 million across the world

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising Americans to begin covering their face by wearing a cloth or fabric masks.

3:08 p.m. | Cherry Creek Whole Foods employee tests positive for COVID-19

An employee at the Whole Foods store in Cherry Creek has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a Whole Foods spokesperson. That employee is in quarantine and the store has performed additional cleaning and disinfection on top of the store's current sanitation practices.

2:56 p.m. | Peyton Manning donates blood to raise awareness of need for blood banks

Blood banks have taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic, and organizations have been trying to raise awareness of the need for healthy people to donate. On Friday, former Broncos player Peyton Manning donated blood at Children's Hospital Colorado.

If you're a healthy adult, you're asked to call your preferred blood bank and make an appointment to donate blood or platelets.

2:55 p.m. | RTD to suspend fare collection Sunday; ask passengers to begin boarding buses using rear-doors

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) will begin making riders board buses using the rear doors to limit contact with RTD bus operators, RTD officials said in a news release. Passengers with disabilities are exempt from this new mandate and are asked to continue boarding buses at the front.

Fare collection will also be suspended on all buses and trains across the RTD system. Officials said the agency is working "through processes for refunds and exchanges on applicable fare products."

Additionally, RTD will be suspending the 16th St. Free MallRide and Free MetroRide, which have experienced low ridership.

RTD is asking for people to use good judgement when deciding whether to board buses or light rail depending on the number of passengers already inside.

2:05 p.m. | Polis: Wear a mask when you leave your home

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday asked all Coloradans to begin wearing cloth facemasks when they leave their home for essential activities, such as grocery shopping.

"At this point, a cloth face mask or scarf should be part of everybody's personal hygiene practices and social distancing measures," Polis said. "When you're out of the home, you should use a mask at all times."

Polis said residents can use household cloth items, such as old t-shirts, to make masks to cover their nose and mouth. The masks don't need to be sewed, Polis said. They can simply be cut with scissors and tied together, as long as it covers the nose and mouth.

Let’s wear masks, Colorado! Anything that covers your nose and mouth, and doesn’t get in the way of your breathing.

— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) April 3, 2020

2 p.m. | Polis releases new data

Gov. Jared Polis released partially updated coronavirus numbers at this afternoon news conference Thursday. There are now 4,174 known cases in Colorado — though officials have emphasized the likely number is 4-10 times higher — and 105 deaths. There have been 806 people hospitalized from the virus and more than 22,000 people have been tested.

1:55 p.m. | Polis announces relief extensions

Gov. Jared Polis announced extensions for relief for income tax, sales tax owed by businesses and property tax interest payments and the extension of several deadlines for valuation reports to county assessors. The income tax relief was extended to July 15, the sales tax to May 20 and the property tax to May 1.

"We're doing everything we can to help make sure businesses and communities are taken care of in a very difficult time," Polis said.

1:21 p.m. | State receives 3rd allotment of PPE from Strategic National Stockpile

The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) are distributing critical resources to help communities respond to COVID-19. This week, Colorado received a third allotment from the Strategic National Stockpile, which is being distributed across the state, according to a news release. The allotment included:

122,490 - N95 masks
287,022 - surgical masks
56,160 - face shields
57,300 - surgical gown
392,000 - gloves
3,636 - coveralls

In total, Colorado has received:

220,010 - N95 masks
517,000 - surgical masks
100,232 - face shields
100,140 - surgical gowns
504,000 - gloves
3,816 - coveralls

The state will now distribute those materials to every county health department and tribe throughout the state where they are needed most. The following factors were used to determine allocation:

County population
Portion of the population that is older than age 65 proportial to the state population
The number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals
If the county or tribe has received supplies previously

12:17 p.m. | Denver Public Schools, most Front Range districts suspending in-person learning for rest of year

Denver Public Schools and most other Front Range school districts have suspended in-person learning for the rest of the year and do remote learning for the remainder of the schoolyear.

“Today’s decision means that we are canceling all athletic events, extracurricular activities, and proms. In addition, playgrounds and athletic fields are closed until further notice to reinforce social distancing and prevent further spread of the virus. Unfortunately, this decision includes the postponement of in-person graduation ceremonies as well. We will do everything we can to reschedule these celebrations when health officials allow gatherings again, and we will find ways to honor the wonderful Class of 2020,” Superintendent Susana Cordova said in a statement.

“As we look ahead, we will continue with our plans for remote learning through the end of the school year. Team members across roles and regions have been working hard to prepare for remote learning to best support our students at home – including creating learning options for teachers and providing technology and internet access to families who need it. Thank you to everyone for your commitment to helping our kids continue to learn and grow as we all navigate this new situation together,” Cordova added.
Other school districts that have also suspended in-person learning for the rest of the year include:

27J Schools
Adams 12 Five Star Schools
Adams 14 Schools
Aurora Public Schools
Cherry Creek School District
Clear Creek School District
Denver Public Schools
Douglas County Schools
Englewood Schools
Jeffco Public Schools
Littleton Public Schools
Mapleton Public Schools
Sheridan School District 2
Westminster Public Schools

Read the districts' joint statement here.

Noon | Contact7 COVID-19 Town Hall Friday evening with Mayor Hancock, Denver Health CEO, Denver Public Health

Anne Trujillo is hosting a Contact7 COVID-19 Town Hall with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Health CEO Dr. Robin Wittenstein and Denver Executive Director of the Department of Public Health Bob McDonald this evening – Friday, April 3, from 6:15 to 7 p.m.

Throughout the day Friday and during the town hall this evening, we will be soliciting questions from Denverites that will be asked during the meeting.

There are many ways you can participate:

--Click here to join our Zoom meeting from noon to 12:30 p.m. Friday at which you can ask questions that will be recorded for this evening’s town hall.
--Call our novel coronavirus hotline at 303-832-0676 and we’ll record your questions.
--Email and write us your questions for the mayor and health officials.
--Head over to our Facebook and Twitter pages to send us questions.

We’ll carry the town hall over the air, on our streaming apps, on our website and social media pages – where you will also be able to ask questions through Facebook Live. Tune in this evening at 6:15 p.m.

Click here for the latest Colorado COVID-19 updates.

10:35 a.m. | Coalition files suit asking Colorado Supreme Court to limit COVID-19 in jails

A coalition that includes the Office of the State Public Defender, the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Office of Alternate Defense Counsel has filed two emergency petitions to the Colorado Supreme Court, asking for immediate action to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado jails. The petitions askd the court to issue a directive that lower courts "are to do their part to safely reduce the number of people" who are incarcerated during the coronavirus crisis, according to a news release from the ACLU of Colorado.

“COVID-19 poses an imminent public health threat to people who are incarcerated, who are disproportionately vulnerable to the virus, where social distancing is impossible, and with facilities that do not have adequate medical care to meet these needs,” State Public Defender Megan Ring said in the news release. “Colorado’s judicial leadership must protect inmates, correctional staff and the public by providing guidance to all Colorado judges to assist in depopulating jails during this pandemic.”

The news release said COVID-19 has been confirmed in jails in Denver and Greeley, and it also referenced the coronavirus death this week of El Paso County Deputy Jeff Hopkins, who worked in intake and release at the jail there.

Gov. Jared Polis took executive action last week to help lower the jail population, but the petitions this week asked the Colorado Supreme Court to "translate this guidance into real action throughout all Colorado courts in every county."

9:23 a.m. |Gov. Polis update at 1:30 p.m.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at 1:30 p.m. at the Emergency Operations Center in Centennial.

5 a.m. | Rockies to host Stay at Home Opener

Today would have been Opening Day for the Rockies. But they have an idea of how you can still enjoy some great baseball today.

Beginning at 2 p.m., you can enjoy a virtual game of some of the best home opener innings in franchise history, plus pregame ceremonies and more. Meanwhile, the Rockies will be collecting donations for Feed the Rockies. The Rockies Foundation will match donations up to $300,000 with all the proceeds going to Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, Community Food Share, Food Bank for Larimer County, Food Bank of the Rockies and Weld Food Bank.

You can watch the virtual game on the Stay at Home Opener page, the Rockies homepage, or AT&T SportsNet.

4 a.m. | Happening tonight: Colorado Symphony announces #Playon Virtual Music hour

The Colorado Symphony has announced a weekly streaming event featuring past Colorado Symphony performances for what they call #PlayOn Virtual Music Hour. The virtual hour will take place each weekend starting today at 6 p.m. You can view the virtual hour by clicking here.

3:30 a.m. | Colorado extends special health insurance enrollment period for uninsured people through April 30

Colorado extended its special enrollment period for uninsured people to sign up for health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado through the end of April, though people can still enroll through the end of today to have coverage kick in effective April 1. Click here to read more.

Click here for the live blog from Thursday, April 2, 2020.