Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from May 22, 2020

Posted at 5:33 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 22:52:44-04

More than 4,000 people who tested positive for the coronavirus in Colorado have been hospitalized for the virus, according to data released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In total, 23,191 people in the state have tested positive.

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, May 22

4:58 p.m. | COVID-19 death reported in outbreak at Denver postal facility, officials say

A person who tested positive for COVID-19 in an outbreak at a Denver postal distribution facility has died, health officials said Friday. Five cases total have been identified as the U.S. Postal Service facility in Northeast Denver, and one was fatal, according to the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment.

The facility remains open despite an order to close from the city. A spokesperson for Denver's Joint Information Center said they are "committed to working with them" in order to contain the outbreak.

Read the full story here.

4:23 p.m. | A Basin sets guidelines for how reopening will look like

In a blog post on their website, A Basin says if they're allowed to reopen, the ski area will follow several guidelines:

-- All guests will need to have reservations, with the majority of available space being pass holders.
-- Expect a very small number of lift tickets to be sold
-- Tailgating, social gatherings will be prohibited.
-- Physical distancing will be strictly enforced
-- Guests will be required to wear a face mask in the base area, in the lift line, in restrooms and other places.

4:06 p.m. | Governor's Office responds to Trump's reclassification of places of worship as essential

The Governor's Office issued this statement following Trump's announcement reclassifying places of worship as "essential.":

“Under Safer At Home, Colorado’s churches and places of worship are already successfully operating safely in-person and virtually. The Governor has been engaged with the faith community throughout this pandemic. The Governor spoke with Archbishop Aquila earlier this week and thanked him for the continuing dispensation from receiving communion as well as the precautions they have taken about resuming in-person communion. He rejoices that Coloradans celebrate our faith, and limited in-person religious gathering will continue to be conducted in as safe a way as possible while honoring the sanctity of life for parishioners by following state and local health orders as well as the important guidance that the faith community is putting together with health officials. The Governor celebrates that for many Coloradans, our faith and spiritual community are critical to our well-being, especially in a time of crisis. The Governor continues to join leaders of all faiths in urging individuals over age 65 to remain at home whenever possible and enforce social distancing and safety protocols consistent with state law and health guidance at religious observances that occur during this global pandemic.”

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 Colorado numbers from CDPHE

Here are the latest figures reported by the state from COVID-19. Please note: The (+) denotes the increase of cases from the previous day.

23,487 positive cases (+296)
4,082 people hospitalized (+45)
60 counties (+0)
142,667 people tested (+2,730)
1,324 deaths among cases (+14)
1,088 deaths due to COVID-19 (+26)
260 outbreaks (+4)

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 620 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — 7 more beds than reported on Thursday.

3:59 p.m. | Polis signs executive order eliminating copay for COVID-19 testing for those who rely on Medicaid

Gov. Polis has signed an executive order that eliminates copays for COVID-19 testing for people who rely on Medicaid. The executive order also increases Colorado’s Medicaid home health workforce.

3:44 p.m. | Drive-In Theatre: Reopening rules "unworkable"

The 88 Drive-In Theatre in Henderson says in a Facebook post that while Gov. Polis has allowed them to open for business, "the rules that Tri-County Health Department has issued are unworkable." Among them, remaining in your car when temperatures soar, and ordering restrooms to remain locked.

"Most movies are two hours long and we feel that will be too long to wait to use the restroom, especially if we show a children's movie," an official with the Drive-In Theatre said.

3 p.m. | DeGette calls on Postmaster General to address coronavirus concerns

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette on Friday sent a letter to Postmaster General Megan Brennan, asking her to address concerns over keeping a Denver distribution center open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I ask you to work closely with the DDPHE to help resolve this matter in a responsible, public health focused way," DeGette wrote. "Furthermore, I request you provide clarity on how your national and regional offices are working with our nation’s public health departments to ensure that the safety of each employee remains the Postal Service’s top priority.”

1:30 p.m. | Boulder County extends facial covering order

Boulder County Public Health is extending a facial-covering order through June 30. The order requires anyone older than 12 to wear a facial covering in public where social distancing of six feet can't be maintained.

“Our team conducted informal observations in Boulder County communities and distributed a survey to businesses to get a sense of how well the order is being followed,” Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, said in a news release. “Although we saw many instances where social distancing of six feet or more was not being followed, we are seeing high rates of compliance with the face covering order, especially in municipalities that also have a masking order."

11:20 a.m. | Weld County COVID-19 death numbers could drop

Weld County officials on Friday said the county's COVID-19 deaths will "decrease quite a bit" following a change to the state's reporting methods.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment last week began reporting deaths in two ways: Deaths among people with COVID-19 and deaths among people who died aasa a result of COVID-19.

“According to our coroner, who had already been keeping track of deaths of individuals from COVID-19 separate from deaths of individuals with COVID-19, the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in Weld County will decrease quite a bit,” county commissioner Mike Freeman said in a news release.

As of Wednesday, the total COVID-19 deaths in Weld County was 126. But under the new reporting methods, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 would drop to 89 deaths, according to the county.

10:10 a.m. | Greeley announces plans for pools

Officials in Greeley have delayed the opening of all indoor and outdoor swimming pools and splash parks. The facilities do not have a definitive re-opening date, but will not open for Memorial Day weekend.

8:15 a.m. | Gov. Polis prepares for wildfire response amid COVID-19

In order to prepare Colorado’s wildfire response, Gov. Jared Polis released guidance on civil rights protections by signing Executive Order D 2020 072. This transfers some funds from the Disaster Emergency Fund to the Wildfire Emergency Response Fund.

The executive order reads: “COVID-19 has strained our first responders as they have mobilized to save lives. As identified in the State’s 2020 Wildfire Preparedness Plan, local fire departments have reduced availability to provide response and assistance outside of their home jurisdiction, and firefighting resources from other states and federal agencies have limited capacity."

8 a.m. | CDLE reports Colorado's employment situation for April

According to a release from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Friday morning, nonfarm payroll jobs in the state declined by 323,500 from March to April to 2,473,400 jobs.

Colorado nonfarm payroll jobs March to April 2020

The unemployment rate increased 6.1% in April to 11.3%, according to a survey of households, CDLE reported. This is the highest unemployment rate for Colorado since comparable records began in 1976.

The number of Coloradans who participated in the labor force in April decreased 67,400 over the past month to 3,069,200. The number of people who reported that they were employed decreased 251,200 to 2,721,300, according to the CDLE.

The March estimates — which were originally 2,809,500 — were revised down to 2,796,900. In addition, the over-the-month change from February to March was a decrease of 16,500, rather than the original estimated decrease of 3,900. The previously reported unemployment rate for March was 4.5%, but that has been revised up to 5.2%, according to the CDLE.

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

7:30 a.m. | Today is the final day to give feedback on draft guidelines for reopening of restaurateurs, bars, cafes

Colorado released the draft guidelines for restaurants, bars and cafes to begin reopening Tuesday – which shows the standards those eateries will have to meet in order to begin reopening and focuses on implementing outdoor seating and limiting interactions. Owners and managers of restaurants and other stakeholders will have through the end of the day today to give feedback to the state on the draft guidelines through a form.

Read more here.

7:57 a.m. | JUMP bikes relaunch in Denver to help with socially distanced travel

JUMP bikes are back in Denver. This is the first time the bikes will return to a city since the recent acquisition by Lime. According to the company, the bikes will help residents travel safely with an open-air, socially distant option.

JUMP temporarily paused its services as the companies worked to integrate systems. Lime will begin redeploying the bikes today. JUMP bikes are available through the Uber app.

The price to ride has been reduced to $1 for every 30 minutes.

"Denver was the ideal place for us to relaunch JUMP bikes, given the city's forward-thinking approach with transportation alternatives and our robust operations team already managing scooters," said Nico Probst, government relations director for Lime. "We're deploying the bikes in communities far from supermarkets to help ease travel for essential trips; and with a big price reduction, the bikes will offer a low-cost alternative to car trips, helping keep the city's air, and streets, clearer."

7 a.m. | JeffCo Public Schools to release plan to reopen schools in fall today

Today, JeffCo Public Schools will release a draft of its reopening plan to the public. It will include a plan for in-person learning, but also some continuation of remote learning.

"We know we will have families who are afraid, or they have medical conditions, or a student is medically fragile or someone in-home has a medical condition — so we're going to have to create remote learning options for them," said Jason Glass, superintendent of JeffCo Public Schools.

Read the story here.

5 a.m. | Happening today: Free, drive-up COVID-19 testing facility opens at Pepsi Center

The city of Denver will open a new free, drive-up testing site at the Pepsi Center today that will test 500 people a day to start with but could test up to 1,000 on a daily basis, Mayor Michael Hancock announced Thursday alongside Gov. Jared Polis.

The tests will be for anyone who believes they have symptoms of COVID-19, and both Hancock and Polis said the tests would be “quick, easy and free.”

The testing site will operate seven days a week, except for on holidays, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Click here to read the full story.

5 a.m. | Happening today: COVID-19 testing sites opens in Aurora and Westminster

In partnership with Walmart, two new drive-thru testing sites will open along the Front Range today: the Walmart parking lot at 14000 E. Exposition Ave. in Aurora, and the Walmart parking lot at 7155 Sheridan Blvd. in Westminster.

Both sites are supported by Walmart, eTrueNorth and state and local officials. Anybody who meets CDC, state and local guidelines on who should be tested is welcome.

If you're interested in getting tested, visit There, you can see if they're eligible and if so, you can make an appointment. Testing at those two locations begins Friday and will open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., weather permitting. Sites are closed on Memorial Day. For questions, call 800-635-8611.

Click here for the live blog from Thursday, May 21.