Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from April 30, 2020

Posted at 4:56 AM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 07:17:38-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Thursday, April 30. Click here for the live blog from Friday, May 1.

The number of positive coronavirus cases in Colorado is nearing 15,000 — 14,758, according to Wednesday's data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment — and of those, more than 2,600 people have been hospitalized.

In total, 766 people have died as a result of COVID-19, according to CDPHE.

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:

Thursday, April 30

9:15 p.m. | Front Range Open Spaces plead with public to recreate responsibly

A group of Front Range open spaces is pleading with Coloradans to practice responsible recreation during the coronavirus outbreak in the state, as irresponsible activities are leading to the destruction of our trails and parks.

Read the full story here.

6:41 p.m. | Colorado paramedic in New York City dies of COVID-19

A Colorado paramedic who volunteered to fight against the coronavirus at the epicenter of the pandemic in hard-hit New York City has died from complications of the disease. He was 66.

Read the full story here.

6:35 p.m. | Denver Police: Avoid social gathering this Cinco De Mayo

The Denver Police Department is remind the public that the city is still under a stay-at-home order as we approach the Cinco de Mayo holiday.

While there are no scheduled events at Civic Center Park due to the city's public health order, police would like to remind residents who also congregate on or near Federal Boulevard around the Cinco de Mayo holiday, to avoid non-essential travel "in order to preserve residents’ access to essential goods and services along the Federal Boulevard corridor, such as groceries, medicine, meals, healthcare, etc."

DPD says it will closely monitor traffic congestion and will implement a plan to divert traffic off Federal Boulevard should it be necessary.

6:33 p.m. | Rockies to refund April, May tickets

The Colorado Rockies will refund tickets that were bought in advance for April and May, the team said in a news release.

Ticket purchased directly from the Colorado Rockies for April and May games will automatically be refunded on the credit or debit card used to make that purchase. Tickets purchased through second-party vendors like StubHub should contact the Customer Service Department from the company which the purchase was made.

The Rockies said, at this time, fans who have tickets for June-September should retain them and "await further direction as details are being finalized."

5:06 p.m. | Northglenn allocates funds to support small businesses affected by coronavirus

Northglenn City Council on Monday voted to allocate $850,000 to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 closures with grants to help with rent and mortgage payments, according to a news release. The program opens at a10 a.m. this Friday, May 1. For more information, click here.

4:58 p.m. | Aurora golf courses to begin reopening next week, mayor says

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said in a series of tweets that Aurora golf courses would begin reopening starting next week.

Aurora Hills, Meadow Hills, and Saddle Rock will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 6, while Springhill will open at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 8, to allow time to complete a concrete maintenance project. A date for Murphy's Creek opening has not been set.

Though they will open, the mayor said it will not be business as usual.

"@AuroraGov has put out a "strong encouragement" that all residents wear masks when going into "essential" businesses to better protect the workers as well as the other customers from the spread of #COVID19," he said in a tweet.

4:15 p.m. | Hancock urges Congress to include direct funding for cities

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Thursday sent a letter to Colorado's congressional delegation urging them to include direct emergency funding for cities and states in the next federal stimulus bill.

“Mayors across this nation, myself included, believe it was a lost opportunity when Congress could not reach agreement on the inclusion in the interim bill on emergency fiscal relief of sorely needed funds for cities and states,” Hancock said in the letter.

Hancock cited the "severe" revenue losses from sales taxes, income taxes and user fees that have been dropped by cities and states, including Denver. Read Hancock's full letter here:

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data for Colorado

Here were the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado released Thursday afternoon, with the change from Wednesday in parentheses:

15,284 cases (+526)
2,697 hospitalized (+76)
56 counties (+0)
72,390 tests (+2941)
777 deaths (+11)
159 outbreaks (+2)

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of April 30, 2020

12:45 p.m. |6th JBS worker dies of COVID-19, union says

A sixth employee of the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley has died of COVID-19, the UFCW Local 7 union confirmed on Thursday. The JBS plant is one of Colorado's largest confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks, with 245 positive cases as of Wednesday.

The massive beef slaughterhouse was shuttered April 10 for two weeks for cleaning and testing. Employees, community groups, and the union representing employees all raised concerns about the decision to reopen the facility in the wake of the outbreak. However, the plant's 6,000 employees returned to work last week.

12:30 p.m. | Colorado delegation urges Trump to extend funding for National Guard support

All nine members of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent a letter to President Trump Thursday asking him to extend funding for the Colorado National Guard to continue their support efforts in the state to fight COVID-19 – which currently could expire as early as May 15, the delegation said. Rep. Jason Crow, D-CO06, led the letter.

The lawmakers have asked for funding to be extended through the end of the year, with monthly assessments. Colorado National Guard members have been key in increasing community testing by helping build up sites and training people, as well as their efforts to build out extra housing and health care capacity at various facilities.

“All of these efforts are essential to mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on Coloradans, and the need for this support is expected to persist through the end of the year. We share the Governor’s concern that prematurely ceasing federal funding for National Guard COVID-19 support operations will hinder Colorado’s ability to respond and could contribute to a possible second wave of infection,” the delegation wrote.

Click here to read the full letter.

12:18 p.m. | Colorado adds callback form for those struggling with unemployment claim; 79K initial claims last week

Nearly 80,000 Coloradans filed regular or PUA unemployment claims last week. The state has added a callback form to its website for people struggling to get through to the call center, along with guidance on safely returning to work and work refusals for workers and employers.

Click here to read more on today’s unemployment update from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

11:40 a.m. | Denver mask mandate likely coming next week, Mayor Hancock says

Mayor Michael Hancock said Thursday he expects to issue a mandate next week requiring Denver residents to wear face masks in public.

Hancock told Denver7 that he expects to have a detailed news conference sometime next week to "lay out the new landscape for Denver" and that he expects to announce the mask mandate at that time.

Denver extended its stay-at-home order through May 8, next Friday, though Hancock said the order is not expected to be extended beyond that.

Click here to read the full story.

8:30 a.m. | Frontier Airlines to require passengers to wear face coverings

Beginning May 8, Frontier Airlines will require all passengers to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose at ticket counters, gate areas and on planes. Face coverings have been required for flight crews since April 13.

“We want our passengers to feel comfortable when flying with us by protecting themselves and their fellow travelers as we all navigate the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Barry Biffle, CEO of Frontier Airlines. “This new measure is aligned with CDC recommendations and those of many municipalities within the U.S. that include wearing a face covering when out in public.”

Frontier has also introduced a fogging disinfectant, which administers a safe, certified disinfecting solution that has proven to be effective against many viruses, including coronavirus. The disinfectant touches virtually every surface in the passenger cabin. All planes are wiped down every night with additional disinfectant, too, according to the airline.

7:43 a.m. | Weld County announces telephone town hall for May 4

Weld County will hold a telephone town hall on May 4 from 5-6 p.m. to update residents on the county's plan against COVID-19.

“We will update residents on the county’s continuity of government plan, how government functions continued during the past two months and what county operations will look like as our buildings reopen," said Commissioner Chairman Mike Freeman. "Residents will also be updated on the emergency operations center and the work being done to help combat COVID-19. And we will talk about the county’s budget given the dramatic drop in the price of oil.”

Anyone can call into the event by dialing 877-229-8493 with ID code 119533 when the event starts. Residents can both listen to the board's remarks and ask questions.

7:30 a.m. | State Department of Labor and Employment releases initial unemployment claims from last week

According to data released Thursday morning from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, more than 79,000 Coloradans filed initial regular unemployment claims last week. The week prior, 67,334 people filed these claims.

Last week's data includes 38,384 initial regular unemployment claims and 40,906 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) initial unemployment claims, the latter of which includes gig works and anybody who is self-employed.

According to Thursday's data, over the past five weeks, 317,583 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed, and a grand total of 358,489 claims including federal PUA benefits.

We're expecting to learn more at a 10 a.m. press call.

7:12 a.m. | East Colfax small business leaders launch emergency relief fund

Today, Small Business Leaders of the East Colfax Community Collective (ECCC) will launch a grassroots fundraising campaign to establish their own East Colfax Small Business Relief Fund. This will provide direct assistance to small business owners on East Colfax from Colorado Boulevard to Yosemite Street.

The fund will be announced at a press conference Thursday from 10:30-11 a.m. via Zoom. To join, click here or call 1-312-626-6799 and use the code 81034841589#.

6:32 a.m. | Department of Labor releases unemployment numbers

The Department of Labor said Thursday that 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment in the last week, bringing the six-week total to about 30 million. Those figures are slightly down from last week.

6:15 a.m. | Today is the last day to enroll in health insurance through Connect for Health Colorado

Don't have health insurance? Recently lost it? Will lose it soon?

If so, you qualify to sign up for health insurance through Colorado’s emergency special enrollment period. But act quickly — today's the last day to enroll. Click here for more information and to get started.

6 a.m. | Happening today: Q&A with Sen. Bennet, Mayor Hancock, other officials

This afternoon, Reps. Alex Valdez and Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, Sen. Julie Gonzalez, Sen. Michael Bennet and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, plus local elected officials representing North and West Denver from city council, RTD, and DPS school board, will host a 4 p.m. virtual town hall, Q&A style. This will give the community time to ask questions about Denver's safer-at-home policy and the city's response to COVID-19.

You can join the conversation on Facebook here. You may also call in:
---English: 253-215-8782, Meeting ID: 892 6317 1120#
---Spanish: 669-900-9128, codigo 972 419 46499#

5 a.m. | Update on initial unemployment claims

The Department of Labor is expected to release weekly unemployment data today, a day after the Commerce Department released grim figures estimating that the U.S. economy had shrunk nearly 5 percent in the last quarter. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment will do the same for the state. A press call with the latter is scheduled for 10 a.m. to share more information.

5 a.m. | Happening today: King Soopers opens additional drive-thru testing site

After announcing a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in Denver, King Soopers announced Wednesday it is continuing to partner with the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center to open and operate a second site, this time in Boulder, today.

The site will be at CU Boulder's Space Sciences Building, located on 3665 Discovery Drive. It will open today and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It has the capacity for 250 vehicles per day. Click here for more details.

Click herefor the live blog from Wednesday, April 29, 2020.