Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from March 27, 2020

Posted at 6:59 AM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 12:42:42-04

The United States has surpassed China in the number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, and of the total in the United States, almost 1,500 are here in Colorado.

A statewide stay-at-home order went into place Thursday morning, so all Coloradans are now asked to stay at home unless they must leave their homes for an essential reason.

As of Friday at 4 p.m., the state had tested 11,676 in 42 counties. More than 1,700 people have tested positive for COVID-19. Thirty-one people have 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:

Friday, March 27

6:25 p.m. | Second death reported in Eagle County due to COVID-19

A man in his 40s was identified as the second person to die from the novel coronavirus in Eagle County by the county's public health and environment department. No other information about the patient was immediately available.

5:57 p.m. | Colorado members of Congress react to passage, signing of $2.2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package

We gathered up reaction from all of Colorado’s members of Congress on the passage of the CARES Act, which you can find by clicking here. (Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., had not yet issued a statement as of 5:45 p.m. MT)

5:44 p.m. | Dinosaur National Monument modifying operations due to coronavirus

Starting noon on Saturday, Dinosaur National Monument will offer only limited services outside those that support visitor or resource protection in response to COVID-19. All campgrounds within the monument will be closing as well as all backcountry camping within the monument including at Ely Creek designated backcountry sites. The Monument visitor centers and the Quarry Exhibit Hall remain closed and river operations and trips are also suspended.

5:22 p.m. | Colorado Dept. of Corrections reports two more cases of COVID-19

The Colorado Department of Corrections says a staff member who works at the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center has tested positive for COVID-19. That person has not been in the facility for over a week, according to a department spokesperson. Another employee who works at the Sterling Correctional Facility has also tested positive for the new virus. That person has not been in the facility for over a week.

The department is conducting an investigation tracking any contact the staff member had and will be working to quarantine people as necessary.

This brings the total number of cases of COVID-19 in the CDOC to three, after a parole officer from the Sterling region was reported to have contracted the new virus by department officials on Thursday.

5:17 p.m. | Denver aligns itself with state's stay-at-home order, provides enforcement numbers

City of Denver officials say they've issued one citation, issued 15 orders, given 280 warnings and made more than 672 contacts with people as they work to enforce the stay-at-home order now in place across the state. City officials also say the city has amended its stay-at-home order by aligning it with the state order, "to eliminate confusion in the community related to any differentiation between the two orders."

5:08 p.m. | King Soopers looking to hire 1,500 more people

King Soopers is looking to hire 1,500 more associates across the state to be able to continue to provide customers with the food and supplies they need during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in Colorado.

5:05 p.m. | Pitkin County confirms 2nd death due to COVID-19

Pitkin County authorities say they've confirmed a second death related to COVID-19 in Pitkin County. The victim, a 55-year-old man from Sweden who had lived in Aspen for many years, had already died when police went to his home to perform a welfare check on Tuesday, March 25, authorities say. The man died on March 22.

Authorities say he had reported minimal symptoms of night sweats and fever several days before his death.

The first death in the county was a 94-year-old man with serious underlying conditions.

4:45 p.m. | Colorado data shows social distancing, stay-at-home order could save tens of thousands of lives

Coronavirus deaths would have topped 33,000 in Colorado by June without any social distancing and the state would be in dire need for more than 10,000 more intensive care beds, according to data released by Gov. Jared Polis at a news conference Friday, as he explained the numbers behind why he issued a statewide stay-at-home order this week.

4:39 p.m. | Boulder updates homeless services to meet needs during COVID-19 pandemic

Service enhacements will be coming to the city of Boulder to help people experiencing homelessness. Some of the changes include new daytime access to restroom facilities at the 30th Street Severe Weather Shelter (SWS) and more transportation options to the COVID-19 Recovery Center (CRC) from screening locations for clients showing signs of illness.

Beginning April 1, the SWS facility will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily. Individuals who have been health screened will be able to wash their hands and have access to restroom and showers on a limited basis. Additional cleaning and sanitizing of the facility will be taking place.

Individuals experiencing homelessness and needing shelter and services are strongly encouraged to call Coordinated Entry, at 303-579-4404, to see if they qualify for Housing Focused Shelter or Path to Home Navigation.

4:13 p.m. | Adams County deputy tests positive for COVID-19

A deputy sheriff with the Adams County Sheriff's Office has tested positive for COVID-19, the office said. The deputy is being supported and resources are available to the deputy and their family, officials said, adding they have identified those who may have been in close proximity to the deputy and are taking the necessary precautions to monitor them.

3:41 p.m. | Restaurant workers can now deliver food with less red tape

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), says it is taking action to protect Colorado insurance consumers and reduce insurance delays for restaurants and workers during the COVID-19 crisis in Colorado by removing restrictions on auto insurance for drivers for restaurant delivery. With the new orders, it is expected that many restaurants will now look to employees who do not typically deliver food to do just that, but using their own cars, officials said.

The move will remove restrictions on two different types of auto insurance for the duration of the state's public health order:

-- For restaurants that already have commercial automobile policies for drivers, the regulation allows those policies to cover new, unnamed drivers that will be put into delivery service during the COVID-19 emergency.
-- If a restaurant does not have a commercial policy, the regulation allows employees to use their own personal auto insurance for their vehicle. The regulation removes the restriction for the restaurant employee’s personal insurance that would usually prevent commercial activity like food delivery.
-- However, the regulation does not apply to workers who regularly deliver food or who work for other services not impacted by the restaurant closure that was part of the state's public order.

3:30 p.m. | Polis: I'd rather people complain than have full-scale public health disaster

Gov. Jared Polis said that if the state "get this right," (meaning, that the state's measures put in place to fight COVID-19 are successful), some might say that "we did too much too soon."

"I would rather receive that complaint than have a full-scale public health disaster with tens of thousands of Coloradans paying the price," he said.

The governor said the data that's he's presented to the public, including worst-case scenario projections of deaths in the state due to COVID-19, were the factors that informed his stay-at-home order.

3:25 p.m. | Douglas County School District donating face shields for healthcare workers

The Douglas County School District is hoping to remedy a shortage of protective face shields used by healthcare providers treating those with COVID-19 by having Career and Technical Education (CTE) engineering teachers at Castle View, Legend, Mountain Vista, and Rock Canyon high schools supply Sky Ridge Medical Center with face shields. The teachers will use 3D printing technology to accomplish this task. Read more here.

3:23 p.m. | Roaring Forks providing grab-and-go meal service to all children during school closures

The Roaring Fork School District will provide free, nutritious meals to all children during the upcoming school closure beginning Monday, March 30 through Friday, April 17. All children 18 years of age and under will receive one breakfast and one lunch per day regardless of where the child attends school. This program is not just for low-income households: it is for all children--no qualifications are required, officials said.

The locations times are listed on the district website here.

3:20 p.m. | Polis provides scientific data on social distancing measures to fight COVID-19 in the state

Gov. Polis says Colorado has 1,849 ICU beds and CU estimates half of them are needed for non-COVID-19 patients. The goal is to add 1,000 ICU beds by May, 5,000 by summer.

Based on data models provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, assuming that the state's R0 (R-naught) is 4 (meaning, that one infected Coloradan could spread the disease to 4 other people), the state's number of deaths due to COVID-19 could be as follows:

-- No social distancing — 33,200 (estimated deaths by June 1)
-- 40% distancing — 26,000
-- 50% distancing — 19,900
-- 60% distancing — 11,500

Based on data models provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, assuming that the state's R0 (R-naught) is 3 (meaning, that one infected Coloradan could spread the disease to 3 other people), the state's number of ICU beds (currently, Colorado has 1,849) needed would be as follows:

-- No social distancing — 11,600 in June
-- 40% — 5,600 in July
-- 50% — 3,300 in September
-- 60% — 900 in December

3:15 p.m. | Polis: One infected Coloradan could spread COVID-19 to 3 or 4 more people

During a news conference on the state's response to COVID-19, Gov. Jared Polis said health officials have calculated the contagion of COVID-19 in the state to be 3 to 4 people, meaning that for every infected Coloradan, the disease could spread to 3 or 4 other people. That mathematical value is called "R0" (R-naught), and indicates how contagious an infectious disease is.

3:10 p.m. | Polis: Positive cases of COVID-19 in the state now over 1,734, with thousands more undiagnosed

The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in Colorado is now 1,734, a jump of 304 cases from Thursday with a total of 239 people hospitalized due to the disease. During a news conference, Gov. Jared Polis said 31 people in the state had died from COVID-19, adding that around 11,676 people had been tested in the state -- 1,554 more tests that were received on Thursday.

Polis made it a point to reiterate that the number of cases in Colorado is in the thousands due to the number of people that have not yet been tested.

1:56 p.m. | Gilpin County starts closing roads to shut off access to National Forest lands, State Parks

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office has closed several roads after experiencing a surge in tourits traveling through the county to access National Forest lands. The road closures are as follows: Tolland, Apex Valley, and Columbine Campground roads. Those roads will be closed to all non-residents. Gilpin County residents may still access these roads, officials said in a Facebook post.

1:52 p.m. | Gov. Polis news conference moved to 2:45

The governor’s news conference has been moved to 2:45 p.m. We will carry it here, on social media, on our streaming apps and over the air. You can also watch live in the player embedded below.

Colorado Photo Stream

1:50 p.m. | Around 61K unemployment applications filed in Colorado Monday-Thursday this week, state says

There were 61,000 unemployment applications filed Monday through Thursday this week in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Friday, and the state’s unemployment website should now be capable of handling between 15,000 and 20,000 filings a day.

CDLE Deputy Executive Director Cher Haavind said that the state’s unemployment filing website had stabilized after some network expansion and since the CDLE implemented a system in which people are instructed to file at certain times of the day if their last name beings with a certain letter in order to not overload the system.

The department filed emergency rules last week that it hopes will allow it to expedite those benefit payments. Though the normal time period between filing and payment is 4-6 weeks, the department says it hopes that will soon be 10-14 days instead. It has also waived the work search requirements.

And while the U.S. House of Representatives passed the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package Friday afternoon, Haavind and the CDLE said that people who are self-employed or “gig workers – who will be eligible for unemployment benefits under the federal package – should not yet file on the state’s site because the state needs to reprogram its system to include those new sectors of workers.

Ryan Gedney, the senior economist at the CDLE, said knowing how many claims there might end up being will depend on how long the closures and stay-at-home orders last and how quickly the virus can be contained.

“We’re just seeing the beginning of this, to be honest, and necessarily trying to identify when this might start to tail out is extremely difficult at this point,” he said, comparing the current situation to “almost like a hurricane happening in every single state.”

Click here to read the full story.

12:35 p.m. | Polis to give update at 2 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis will give a coronavirus update from the state's emergency operations center at 2 p.m. You can watch the live stream on our social media or here.

12:30 p.m. | Crow to hold telephone town hall

Colorado U.S. Rep. Jason Crow will hold a second telephone town hall at 7:20 p.m. Friday to update residents on the coronavirus response. Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, will join Crow on the town hall. Residents can join the call by dialing 855-286-0296 or visit the live stream.

Noon | Colorado Senate Republicans criticize Polis' stay-at-home order

Colorado Republicans on Friday sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis, sharply criticizing him over the statewide stay-at-home order he issued earlier this week in response to the coronavirus, which Polis and health officials called necessary to stop the spread of the virus and to keep a public health emergency from growing worse in the state.

Fourteen of the 16 Republican state senators signed the letter, saying Polis' "actions on Wednesday have potentially sown discord and fear in Coloradans that are seeking clarity from their elected officials at this time of despair."

Read the full letter here.

11:30 a.m. | U.S. House passes $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill

The U.S. House has voted to pass the $2.2 trillion relief bill that’s aimed at helping American households, businesses and healthcare systems amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate already passed the rescue plan 96-0 on Wednesday. Next, the legislation will go to the White House, where President Donald Trump says he’s eager to sign it into law.

Colorado U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican, voted against the relief bill, saying the "'cures' offered in the CARES Act are far worse than the problem itself and will be devastating for working families and small businesses in the long run."

10:57 p.m. | Two people experiencing homelessness test positive for COVID-19

Two people experiencing homelessness in Denver have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. The official said they are waiting on about 30 more tests they've performed.

The spokesperson said the city and the coalition are looking at taking over empty buildings in the city for the homeless, but those talks are in the beginning stages. The official also said they have already secured 60 motel rooms for the homeless who need to be in isolation.

10:09 a.m. | Brighton Municipal Court closed

The City of Brighton’s Municipal Court will be closed to the public until the week of April 13. Any cases or hearings that were scheduled for a day between now and April 13 will be rescheduled.

8 a.m | House to vote on $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue bill Friday

Congress hopes to move quickly on delivering massive, unprecedented legislation to speed help to individuals and businesses as the coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy and a health care system straining to keep up. The House is set to pass the sprawling, $2.2 trillion measure this morning after an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. Read details here.

5 a.m. | Sen. Michael Bennet to hold telephone town hall

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet will hold a telephone town hall today at noon to provide an update on the COVID-19 federal response and to answer Coloradans’ questions along with Jerene Petersen from Mile High United Way, Greg Stasinos from the Colorado Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response/Colorado Department of Health, and Mark Crisman from the Colorado Health Emergency Line for Public Information (COHELP). To learn more and sign up to participate, click here.

5 a.m. | Larimer County Natural Resources closes offices today

While Larimer County Department of Natural Resources’ parks, open spaces, and trails remain open, public access at its Offices and Visitor Centers will close beginning today through Friday, April 17 to further prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado.

Click here for updates from March 26.