Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from May 26, 2020

Posted at 5:25 AM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 07:16:39-04

NOTE: This is the live blog from Tuesday, May 26. Click here for the live blog from Wednesday, May 27.

More than 24,200 people in Colorado have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and 4,128 individuals have been hospitalized, 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 26

7 p.m. | Arapahoe Basin Ski Area drawing for Thursday skiing

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area says the drawing for those looking to ski or snowboard on Thursday, May 28, is now open until 9 p.m. To participate in the drawing, click here. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning.

6:51 p.m.| Colorado nursing homes receive PPE from FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency began shipping out personal protective equipment (PPE) to more than 15,000 nursing homes across the U.S. These shipments will provide a 14-day supply of PPE to staff working in the nursing homes. More than 60 Colorado nursing homes have already received shipments, according to the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

6:47 p.m. | Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to hold two virtual town halls

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) will hold two UI Virtual Town Halls. Participants will be able to join online or by phone. General topics to be addressed in this week’s Town Hall include out of state wages, tips for claim filing, returning to work and eligibility, backdating and how to access online self-services. To address questions on job refusals and eligibility, a new “Return to Work” fact sheet has been added to and can be found here.

To register:
English Town Hall registration here.
Spanish Town Hall registration here.

4:52 p.m. |Draft reopening guidelines for Colorado schools released

The decision to reopen Colorado schools this fall hasn't been made, but the Colorado Department of Education released draft guidelines for districts to start planning for the return of students if and when that decision is made in the coming months.

The guideline toolkit is organized into several categories, such as health and safety, conditions for learning, policy and funding, and contacts. The guidelines will be updated over the next couple of weeks with templates and checklists for district leaders.

Education officials recognize that significant physical distancing will likely continue through fall, and in-class instruction will need to be flexible.

4 p.m. | More than 1,100 deaths due to COVID-19 in Colorado

As of Tuesday, May 26, 1,114 people have died from coronavirus in Colorado, according to the latest numbers provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Here is the latest data released by the state. Note: The (+) denotes the increase in cases from the previous day:

24,565 positive cases (+296)
4,160 hospitalizations (+32)
60 counties (no change)
157,036 people tested (+3,353)
1,352 deaths among cases (+19)
1,114 deaths due to COVID-19 (+26)
267 outbreaks (+1)

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 507 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — 53 fewer beds than reported on Monday.

3:57 p.m. | Gaylord Rockies Resort reopening June 25

Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center says it will reopen on Thursday, June 25. Officials said the resort will "provide new cleaning technology, hospital-grade disinfectants, attendants dedicated to sanitizing frequently throughout the day, new social distancing practices, and hundreds of enhanced cleaning protocols to take care of guests while they enjoy the resort’s amenities."

3:25 p.m. | Entry to Arapahoe Basin will be through random drawing

After Monday's high demand on the Arapahoe Basin's online reservation website, the ski area now says access to the slopes will be done via a random drawing - which will happen only one day at a time. If you'd like to ski, you'll have to enter the drawing by filling out a a form between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. today, May 26.

Read more about the rules now in place if you'd like to ski at A Basin here.

2:59 p.m. | Eligible families to receive pandemic benefits from Colorado Dept. of Human Services, Education

Both the Colorado Department of Human Services and the Colorado Department of Education have received federal approval to administer benefits to about 363,000 school-aged children who are not able to receive meals at school. The benefits are part of the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, which will support Colorado families during the COVID-19 epidemic.

P-EBT benefits are expected to be delivered in mid- to late June and throughout July in the of amount $5.70 per student per day of school closure. Students already enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program will receive a lump sum of $279 (49 days of closure at $5.70 a day).

2:49 p.m. | 2021 Burton U.S. Open cancelled due to ongoing pandemic concerns

The 2021 Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships, which was slated to take place March 1-6, 2021 at Vaail Mountain Resort has been canceled "due to ongoing uncertainties around the COVID-19 pandemic," the company who organizes the event said in a statement.

The Burton even is the longest-running snowboard championship, since 1983.

Read the full story here.

1:15 p.m. | CDPHE: Continued distancing, especially for ages 60+, key to preventing Colorado hospital overload

Coloradans of all ages, but particularly adults over age 60, will have to keep up strong physical distancing measures and continue to wear masks in the coming months – as most businesses begin to slowly reopen – in order to prevent the state’s health care system from being overrun later this summer, state public health officials said Tuesday.

Coloradans will have to keep up physical distancing and limiting their social interactions to half, or ideally one-third, of what they were before the COVID-19 outbreak started in order to prevent that overload in August and September, officials from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado School of Public Health said in a briefing, citing the latest modeling data.

But for older Coloradans aged 60+, it will be pertinent for them to keep social distancing levels at 65% less of what they were pre-coronavirus, or at even higher rates, in order to prevent the state from running out of ICU beds and ventilators.

According to the latest modeling report from the School of Public Health, if the state moves to social distancing levels of 55% less than they were in February (they say levels were about 80% during the stay-at-home period), then older adults will need to maintain the same levels of social distancing they did during the stay-at-home phase in order to avoid exceeding hospital capacity.

“If only half of older adults adopt high levels of social distancing under a 55% social distancing scenario, the state is at risk of exceeding hospital capacity this summer,” modeling officials wrote in their May 23 report.

Ideally, according to the models, all Coloradans can maintain social distancing levels of 65% or more indefinitely, which would keep hospitals from being overwhelmed, the officials said. As of Monday, there were a combined 560 confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Colorado and 349 of 1,081 ventilators were in use.

Read the full story about the CDPHE's briefing Tuesday.

1 p.m. | CU Boulder outlines plan for returning to campus

The University of Colorado Boulder on Tuesday announced that classes will return to campus in the fall with an array of social distancing requirements and a shortened in-person semester.

Fall classes will begin Aug. 24, as scheduled, and the semester will be completed online after Thanksgiving break, CU Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano wrote in a letter faculty, staff and students.

Read more about the plan here.

12:50 p.m. | State to release guidance for schools Tuesday

State officials at 3 p.m. Tuesday will release draft guidance for the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year. Colorado Department of Education and health officials will also hold a virtual news conference about the guidance at 3 p.m.

11:45 a.m. | Rocky Mountain National Park begins reopening phase Wednesday

Rocky Mountain National Park will reopen on Wednesday with limited services, per guidance from the White House, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local health officials, park officials said. The park closed to all visitors on March 20.

RMNP officials said park visitors’ actions will determine if areas of the park stay open or close again. Read the story about the park reopening here.

10:10 a.m. | 382 restaurants applied for expanded outside seating

Denver officials on Tuesday morning said 382 restaurants have applied for the city's expanded outdoor seating program, which would allow restaurants to expand their capacity under reopening guidelines. The city said the program could include allowing restaurants to seat customers on sidewalks and parking lots and streets could be shut down to accommodate more space.

Restaurants can begin seating diners inside, at 50% capacity or up to 50 people, beginning Wednesday, the city announced over the weekend.

9:55 a.m. | Gov. Polis update on COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to provide an update on the state’s COVID-19 response at 1:30 p.m. after unveiling measures by which restaurants, ski areas and camps can start to reopen. We will carry the briefing live.

5 a.m. | CDPHE press conference planned for this morning

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Monday morning that it plans to hold a press conference from 10-10:45 a.m. today. Experts will discuss the current state of COVID-19 in Colorado and the latest modeling data.

5 a.m. | Gov. Polis to release new public health order today

Gov. Jared Polis has updated and extended the safe-at-home executive order, which directs the CDPHE to develop and issue guidance relation to restaurants and summer camps. The order is extended until June 1. He will hold a press conference at 1:30 p.m. today. Read more here.

Click here for the live blog from Monday, May 25, 2020.