Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from May 12, 2020

Posted at 5:26 AM, May 12, 2020

NOTE: This is the live blog from Tuesday, May 12. Click here for the live blog from Wednesday, May 13.

The novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of almost 1,000 people in Colorado, according to data release Monday afternoon by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It has also put more than 3,600 Coloradans in the hospital.

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, May 12

5:51 p.m. | Bent County applies for variance from Colorado's safer-at-home order

Bent County in southeastern Colorado is joining neighboring Otero and Crowley counties to ask the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for a variance that will allow them to loosen some of the restrictions from the state's safer-at-home order.

The variance requests as for the loosening of restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms/dance studios, movie theaters, as well as houses of worship, auctions, and motorsports racetracks.

5:13 p.m. | Nearly 400 Colorado restaurants have permanently closed their doors due to coronavirus

Nearly 400 restaurants in Colorado have closed their doors permanently and an estimated 73,000 restaurant employees are currently unemployed due to COVID-19, according to an April survey conducted by the Colorado Restaurant Association.

4:36 p.m. | DMV reopen most offices (by appointment only) in Colorado

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has reopened all but one of its offices to Coloradans, officials said Tuesday. The only office which will remain closed is the Trinidad Driver License Office, which will open back up once its stay-at-home order is lifted.

While the DMV is doing its part to keep people safe while reopening its doors, officials urge Coloradans to continue using online services as much as possible and only make the drive to the DMV if what you're wanting to do can't be done online. If you go to a DMV office, you are required to wear a face mask or covering, otherwise you won't be served.

4:05 p.m. | Colorado tops 1,000 deaths from COVID-19

More than 1,000 people have died of the novel coronavirus in Colorado as the state counts over 20,000 confirmed cases of the deadly respiratory disease since the outbreak began on March 5, according to the latest data provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)

Here are the latest numbers. The (+) denotes the increase in reported numbers from the previous day:

20,0157 cases (+278)
3,695 hospitalized (+32)
60 counties (+0)
109,304 people tested (+2,543)
1,009 deaths (+22)
199 outbreaks (+7)

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 738 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — 8 fewer beds than reported on Monday.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of May 12, 2020

Recent epidemiological modeling predicts that between 65,000 to 75,000 people have COVID-19 throughout the state, but state and health officials are prioritizing testing for those who are most at-risk.

3:13 p.m. | Rocky Mountain National Park will begin phased reopening on May 27

Colorado’s most renowned national park will begin to slowly reopen its trails, campgrounds and wilderness areas to visitors starting Wednesday, May 27. Not much is known about what the phased reopening will look like, but a national park spokesperson said in a news release Tuesday they “continue to conduct a decision and planning process to coordinate a phased reopening” of the national park, warning that park operations and services will be much different this year.

Read the full story here.

3:26 p.m. | Colorado receives large donation of medical equipment from Taiwan

Colorado received a large donation of medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) from Taiwan as the state continues its fight against COVID-19. The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency management tweeted Tuesday that they have received 100,000 surgical masks, as well as 2,000 infrared forehead thermometers and 150 auto temperature measurement stations from Taiwan. This is the country's second donation of critically needed medical equipment to Colorado. In a previous shipment, the state received 100,000 face masks.

Rendering of auto temperature measurement stations.

2:15 p.m. | CPW announces campground reopenings

Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Tuesday released a list of which state park campground areas will reopen this week and when.

Tuesday, May 12

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Fremont County campgrounds only)
  • Chatfield State Park
  • Cherry Creek State Park
  • Eleven Mile State Park
  • Elkhead Reservoir State Park
  • Highline State Park
  • Jackson Lake State Park
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Island Acres
  • James M. Robb CO River State Park Fruita
  • Mancos State Park
  • Mueller State Park
  • North Sterling State Park
  • Rifle Falls State Park
  • Rifle Gap State Park
  • Staunton State Park
  • Vega State Park

Wednesday, May 13

  • Cheyenne Mountain State Park*
  • Crawford State Park

Thursday, May 14

  • Boyd Lake State Park
  • St. Vrain State Park
  • John Martin Reservoir State Park

Friday, May 15

  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park*
  • Lake Pueblo State Park
  • Lory State Park
  • Navajo State Park
  • Ridgway State Park

The following parks continue to coordinate with local officials for reopening plans. Dates will be announced as they become available:

  • Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (Chaffee County campgrounds)
  • Lathrop State Park
  • Paonia State Park
  • Pearl Lake State Park
  • Stagecoach State Park
  • State Forest State Park
  • Steamboat Lake State Park
  • Sylvan Lake State Park
  • Trinidad Lake State Park
  • Yampa River State Park

Go here to read our full story about CPW reopening campgrounds.

2:10 p.m. | Western States Pact calls for $1 trillion in federal support for state, cities

Gov. Polis, along with House Speaker KC Becker, Senate President Leroy Garcia, Majority Leader Steve Fenberg and governors and representatives from California, Oregon, Nevada and Washington, wrote to U.S. House and Senate leaders Monday calling for $1 trillion in federal support for states and cities to respond to COVID-19 because of the economic toll it has taken nationwide.

That comes as forecasts released Tuesday show the state faces a $3.3 billion hit to the budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in July.

“It is now clear that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future, and the worst of its economic impact is yet to come,” the lawmakers wrote to the House and Senate leaders.

They said in the letter that states are being forced to make deep cuts to programs and are facing staggering deficits as costs for combatting the pandemic continue to grow.

“Without federal support, states and cities will be forced to make impossible decisions – like whether to fund critical public healthcare that will help us recover, or prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers, firefighters and other first responders. And, without additional assistance, the very programs that will help people get back to work – like job training and help for small business owners – will be forced up on the chopping block,” the lawmakers wrote.

They called for $1 trillion in “direct and flexible relief” to states and local governments, saying that even though that amount wouldn’t replace the forecast revenue declines, it would make a difference and “preserve core government services like public health, public safety, public education and help people get back to work,” they wrote.

“Without additional flexible aid from the federal government, our state will be forced to make the deepest budget cuts we have ever seen. Congress must help our communities, both big and small, avoid the devastating impacts of these cuts,” Speaker Becker, D-Boulder, said in a statement. “These cuts would hurt vulnerable populations and further impact our already underfunded schools and institutions of higher education, which still haven’t recovered from the last recession. We are going to prioritize education and critical public health and safety programs as we work to ease how painful this budget may be, but without federal support there’s only so much we can do.”

Click here to read more.

1:37 p.m. | Colorado court shutdowns during COVID-19 outbreak create a backlog of custody, domestic cases

With courts essentially shuttered due to the COVID-19 outbreak and local stay-at-home orders, custody and domestic violence hearings are on hold, which is creating a backlog of cases numbering in the thousands.

Some of the cases that are currently in limbo are creating gut-wrenching scenarios for divorced parents, and the impacts of the delays could last a lifetime for families.

Click here to read the full story.

12:44 p.m. | Denver7, KOAA to host COVID-19 Rebound Town Hall with Gov. Polis, Dept. of Labor and CDPHE

Denver7 is proud to partner with KOAA, our Colorado Springs sister station for a special town hall featuring Governor Jared Polis, the head of the Department of Labor and leaders with the Colorado Department of Public Health.

The panelists will join Denver7’s Anne Trujillo and KOAA’s Elizabeth Watts for the town hall at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13.

We’ll carry the town hall over the air, on our streaming apps, on our website and social media pages.

Click here for more information.

12:40 p.m. | Colorado faces $3.3 billion hit to 2020-21 budget due to COVID-19, analysts forecast

Colorado lawmakers are looking at a budget shortfall of about $3.3 billion for the 2020-21 fiscal year including carryover from this year due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a Legislative Council Staff economic forecast released Tuesday.

T he shortfall reported Tuesday by the nonpartisan Legislative Council to the Joint Budget Committee is forecast to be $3.3 billion, which includes nearly $900 million from FY19-20 – though that number is actually slightly lower since Gov. Jared Polis cut more than $200 million from this year’s budget last month.

Some of the shortfalls in tax revenue going to the General Fund are being driven by decreases in individual income tax payments, forecast reductions in corporate income tax payments and slightly lower sales and use tax revenues. Analysts also forecast steep declines in severance tax collections from mining and oil and gas industries.

Legislative Council Staff built some assumptions into their forecast: That businesses will gradually reopen throughout the year; that there will be an effective treatment for COVID-19 within 12 to 18 months; and that there will be limited regional resurgence of the coronavirus but no additional stay-at-home orders or widespread outbreaks.

“The pace of the economic recovery in Colorado and nationally will heavily influence revenue streams, including income and sales tax revenue. These two sources of revenue have historically accounted for about 95 percent of General Fund revenue,” staff wrote in the forecast. “Longer or repeated periods of reduced economic activity to control the spread of COVID-19 will cause more severe and longer lasting revenue impacts.”

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment officials have said that they will borrow from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits once the trust fund becomes insolvent as the state did during the Great Recession. Nearly 420,000 have filed regular or pandemic unemployment assistance claims over the past seven weeks.

Legislative Council Staff say they expect the unemployment rate in Colorado to rise to 10.1% this year before declining to 7.1% in 2021. It was 2.8% in 2019. They are forecasting the U.S. unemployment rate to hit 11.3% this year and to fall to 7.8% in 2021.

The forecast from the governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting estimates that revenue forecasts will be down by $5.5 billion through FY21-22 and that $11 billion will be available for the general fund next year, compared to a $10.3 billion estimate from the Legislative Council Staff.

Click here to read the full story.

11:17 a.m. | Aerial flyover parade, fundraiser planned for Colorado frontline workers

A squadron of more than 30 planes will fly over the Denver metro area Thursday for an aerial parade and fundraiser in support of Colorado frontline workers.

Gov. Jared Polis and Mile High United Way coordinated the parade, along with Lockheed Martin, which offered to match up to $500,000 in donations to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund.

Click here for more on the timing and flight path.

5 a.m. | Happening today: Distribution of 3,000 food boxes to families in need

The Salvation Army will distribute 3,000 food boxes to families in need today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or until the boxes run out, at the Town Center at Aurora.

Families and individuals in need from across the Denver metro area are invited to come through the drive-thru to get a free box full of food. Click here for the Facebook event.

The Salvation Army partnered with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for this event. Other partners include the City of Aurora, Town Center at Aurora and Safeway.

Click herefor the live blog from Monday, May 11, 2020.