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

Posted at 5:22 AM, May 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-20 07:27:20-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Click here t o see the live blog from Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Almost 130,000 people in Colorado have been tested for the novel coronavirus and of those, 22,202 people tested positive, according to data released Monday afternoon by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

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 19

9:11 p.m. | CU regents vote not to increase tuition and fees for 2020-21 academic year

There will be no tuition or fee increases for the 2020-21 academic year following a vote by the CU Board of Regents Tuesday night, meaning students entering CU Boulder in fall 2020 will pay the same tuition as students who entered in fall 2018 and 2019.

The board also voted to suspend employee merit increases for fiscal year 2021.

7:08 p.m. | Colorado releases draft guidelines for restaurants, bars to begin reopening; feedback sought

Colorado released the draft guidelines for restaurants, bars and cafes to resume dine-in options — which are heavy on outdoor seating and sanitary/social distancing measures. The state is seeking feedback from bar and restaurant owners through Friday, with a decision on when they might start being allowed to reopen expected on May 25.

Click here to read the full story.

6:20 p.m. | Metro Denver counties say only coronavirus patients' addresses sometimes shared with law enforcement

Public health agencies in several metro Denver counties said Tuesday they do not share the names of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 with local law enforcement, which The Associated Press reported Tuesday was the case in Colorado.

As testing and contact tracing are being stepped up to try to better track the COVID-19 outbreak, concerns over data sharing and tracking have been raised by groups and people across the country. The Associated Press reported Tuesday that civil liberty groups and some community activists were concerned about data sharing that could lead to potential profiling among communities of color.

The AP reported that at least 35 states allow state or local health departments to track who received COVID-19 tests in their region and to provide that information to local dispatchers. But it also reported that Colorado was one of “at least 10 states” that share the names of people as well.

A Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesperson said Tuesday that any information sharing was done directly between law enforcement agencies and local public health agencies, which would “provide the minimum amount of personal identifying information possible in order to protect the privacy of the individuals.”

“At no point did CDPHE or CDPS provide this information to law enforcement, as it was always done at a local level,” CDPHE spokesperson Ian Kahn said. “This information was only intended to be shared on an as-needed basis for the safety of first responders as they respond to calls.”

Kahn said that the state attorney general’s office had issued guidance in late March, based on guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on how local public health agencies care share information about the addresses of people with confirmed COVID-19 cases with fire, law enforcement and EMS so they could prepare to respond to those calls safely.

The guidance says that those entities are “required to make reasonable efforts to disclose the ‘minimum necessary' [personal health information] to accomplish the intended purpose for the disclosure.”

It further says that public health authorities and covered entities, like public health departments and law enforcement, paramedics and first responders, are not bound by the HIPAA Privacy and Security Laws.

“It would be inappropriate for law enforcement agencies to access and use the data to target individuals for enforcement,” Kahn said.

Click here to read the full story.

4:35 p.m | 20 TSA workers test positive at DIA

Twenty TSA workers have tested positive for coronavirus at Denver International Airport, according to data from the TSA. Nineteen of the workers are screening officers and one was a non-screening employee. The last work date of a screening officer with a confirmed case was May 7.

4:30 p.m. | Three more outbreaks in El Paso County

El Paso County on Tuesday reported three more coronavirus outbreaks:

• Three employees of the McDonald’s on 535 Airport Creek Point have tested positive for COVID-19.

• Two employees of Springs Fabrication (850 Aeroplaza Drive) have tested positive for COVID-19.

• Two residents of Cheyenne Mountain Care Center (835 Tenderfoot Hill Road) have tested positive for COVID-19.

The county also said one additional employee at the Walmart on Space Center Drive had tested positive, bringing the case total there to four. An additional employee of a Goodwill store on Austin Bluffs Parkways tested positive, also bringing the total there to four.

4:20 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado

Here were the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado, as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, with the change from Monday in parentheses:

22,482 positive cases (+280)
3,955 people hospitalized (+56)
60 counties (no change)
131,837 people tested (+2,678)
1,257 deaths among cases (+33)
968 deaths due to COVID-19 (+47)
240 outbreaks (+12)

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 626 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — 10 fewer beds than reported on Monday.

3:30 p.m. | What expanded outdoor dining could look like in Denver

The City of Denver in a virtual town hall Tuesday provided restaurant and bar owners with more information about what options might be possible for expanding their outdoor dining space, as Gov. Jared Polis outlined on Monday.

While capacity at restaurants and bars would presumably be limited by social distancing measures, they'd be able to up their capacity by expanding dining into adjacent outdoor areas, such as parking lots, streets and sidewalks. This would be in addition existing patios that restaurants already have.

Temporary tents, railings, benches and other shade devices would possibly be allowed. The expanded areas could also include neighboring private property, if permitted by the property owner.

The plans would not allow standing areas, live entertainment or games, or amplified sound, such as music, movies or sports broadcasts.

Restaurants would also not be allowed to share outdoor spaces with other restaurants, since that would be make contact tracing difficult.

Go here to read the full story about Denver's plans for possibly expanding outdoor dining.

3:05 p.m. | Boulder Co. warns people to obey public health orders after large gathering at Boulder Creek

The county public health department warned people not to violate public health orders after it captured video Monday of large groups of people hanging out at Boulder Creek without any distancing or protective measures.

The video from Boulder County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Zayach shows dozens of people – mostly younger adults, it appears – lining the popular creek in Boulder, which is home to the University of Colorado.

Officials said that by not keeping proper distance between them, people were putting themselves and others at risk. Police said they had not issued any citations.

— Denver7 News (@DenverChannel) May 19, 2020

Click here to read the full story.

2:30 p.m. | Gov. Polis announces distribution of $1.6B in federal CARES Act aid, much to Colorado education

Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic leadership on Monday night announced how the state will allocate $1.67 billion in federal CARES Act funding for the state’s response to COVID-19 and the economic crisis the outbreak has caused.

The executive order issued by Polis says that $48 million for FY2019-20 and $157 million will be put toward the state’s Disaster Emergency fund to address medical and public health needs in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order comes as the Joint Budget Committee worked Wednesday to continue making cuts to finalize the state budget for next year, with the state facing a forecast $3.3 billion revenue shortfall.

Another $70 million will be transferred into the state’s General Fund for eligible expenditures, according to the order, and $275 million of the money for this fiscal year and next will remain available for local governments that did not receive direct funding in the CARES Act, the order says. That money will be distributed at the recommendations of a consortium of local government officials and based on other states’ best practices.

Nearly $1 billion will go toward lower and higher education, according to the order, and comes on top of around $294 million already directly distributed by the federal government to K-12 and higher education and as lawmakers consider education cuts.

Senate Republicans were not pleased by the governor’s order, which they said was issued Monday night without input from their side of the aisle or full input from lawmakers.

Polis wrote in the order that he has the authority to direct the expenditure of the money. He said in issuing the allocation order Monday night that he continued to work “closely in a bipartisan way with the federal delegation and legislative leadership” during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Click here to read the full story.

12:57 p.m. | Water World announces it will remain closed for the summer season

The sounds of splish-splashing will be silenced this summer at Water World in Federal Heights. The water park will remain closed for the upcoming 2020 summer season. Water World made the announcement in a Tuesday news release, stating the closure is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's the first time in the park's 40-year history that it closed for a season.

10:45 a.m. | Denver Botanic Gardens cancels Summer Concert Series

The Denver Botanic Gardens has canceled its 2020 Summer Concert Series. The series hosted more than 30,000 concert-goers at the York Street location last summer.

“Thank you for being our friends as we journey down this long and winding road," Botanic Gardens CEO Brian Vogt said. "Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow when concerts return to the Gardens.”

10:35 a.m. | Jeffco temporarily closes Apex Park, campgrounds

Jefferson County Open Space has temporarily closed Apex park and suspended campground reservations at the two campground sites in the county, at White Ranch Park and Reynolds Park.

The increased demand in camping "has demanded staff resources, as well as campground management taking Park Rangers away from other essential duties" of managing the open space areas, the county said.

Apex Park is closing Tuesday through Friday for trail maintenance.

10:25 a.m. | CHSAA forms re-socialization task force

The Colorado High School Activities Association has formed a re-socialization task force to discuss the return of athletics and activities. The group will start meeting in June to "explore the many options on if, when or how, activities and athletics can resume for Colorado high schools," the CHSAA said in a news release Tuesday.

The task force will focus on several questions:

• Do students need to be fully engaged with in-person learning before the Association resumes activities and athletics?

• Do Should CHSAA consider offering some activities and athletics if Federal, state, medical and safety guidelines can be met at the local and Association level?

• Should CHSAA consider moving some activities and athletics to later start dates, such as September, October, or January, and consider extending the end of the season further than the traditional activities calendar?

• Should CHSAA consider adjusting some activities and athletics to be conducted earlier or later than their traditional season?

• Should we consider online participation for some activities in place of physical activation?

• What safety measures will need to be in place to resume specific and/or all activities?

5 a.m. | Virtual town hall on Denver's temporary outdoor expansion program for restaurants and bars

Denver is creating a temporary program to expand options for restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor areas adjacent to their businesses. This program will allow for greater physical distancing and safety for patrons when the state’s public health orders allow for restaurants and bars to resume sit‐down service. Th virtual town hall, hosted by the Colorado Restaurant Association, is expected to start at 1 p.m.

Final rules and regulations are still in development.

To join, click here or call any of the following phone numbers:
-1 669 900 9128
-1 253 215 8782
-1 346 248 7799
-1 646 558 8656
-1 301 715 8592
-1 312 626 6799

Use Webinar ID: 893 6562 2452 and password 047831. Read more about restaurants reopening here.

4:46 a.m. | Poudre River Public Library District begins curbside pickip

The Poudre River Public Library District resumed its services beginning May 15, and starting tomorrow, materials returns and curbside pickup will begin. The library buildings will remain closed.

Click here for the live blog from Monday, May 18.