Coronavirus in Colorado: Latest COVID-19 updates from May 8, 2020

Posted at 5:09 AM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 23:07:55-04

Today is the final day Denver County, as well as other Front Range counties, will remain under the stay-at-home order. Restrictions will slowly start to relax in the following days.

The counties extended their stay-at-home orders through May 8 in order to further flatten the curve of COVID-19 in their areas and to take more time to prepare for businesses to reopen in the heavily-populated counties. Much of the rest of the state moved to the safer-at-home phase starting April 27.

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 8

5:41 p.m. | More King Soopers COVID-19 testing

King Soopers says it is extending its partnership with the Colorado EOC to extend free drive-through testing for COVID-19 through the end of May at three Front Range locations with the hopes of testing 14,000 people by the end of the month.

The testing will take place from May 11-30 at three locations:

--Auraria Campus 5th Street Parking Garage – 1351 5th St., Denver
--CU Boulder Space Sciences Building – 3665 Discovery Dr., Boulder
--Univ. of Northern Colorado – 2098 14th Ave., Greeley

People who hoped to get tested should go to where they will be put through a screening tool to see if they are eligible based on CDC and state regulations.

If a person is eligible, they’ll pick a time and location and receive an email with paperwork to fill out ahead of the test. Once arriving for a test, people are advised to have their ID ready and their windows rolled up as they wait for a check-in.

The tests will use a self-administered nasal swab and results are expected to be turned around in 48 hours, Kroger officials said.

5:27 p.m. | Arapahoe Co. commissioners issue statement on threats, vandalism to Tri-County

The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners issued a statement Friday afternoon in the wake of a threat made to a receptionist at the Tri-County Health Department’s Greenwood Village office and to vandalism at its Aurora offices.

“While we understand the frustration around the restrictions we’ve all been living under for the past few months, Tri-County officials are using their considerable expertise to make very difficult decisions about an unprecedented public health crisis.

“By state law, Tri-County has the authority to make such decisions, and the Board supports their statutory obligation to issue orders that are designed to protect our residents from harm. We realize there will be differing political and personal opinions about these choices, but it is simply unacceptable when those differences rise to the level of violent threats against public officials.

“The Board is continuing to work closely with Tri-County, as well as with other community leaders and stakeholders, to determine the safest and most productive ways to begin returning our communities to their everyday operations. Neither the recommendations we make about this situation, nor the actions we take, can possibly satisfy everyone. But we are unified in our desire to use the best available data to take actions that help ensure the health and safety of all our residents, and we strongly condemn any efforts to threaten or intimidate the officials whose duty is to make these choices.”

5:08 p.m. | Weld County public health director to retire as county remains hotspot for COVID-19

The director of the public health department for Weld County – which has the third-highest number of COVID-19 deaths among Colorado counties, the fifth-highest case rate per 100,000 people and is experiencing multiple outbreaks, will retire from his position at the end of the month, the county announced Friday.

Dr. Mark Wallace has been the director of the Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment for nearly 20 years. The county announced that he told commissioners he will retire in order to “spend more time with family and [focus] on his health,” according to a news release.

“I am proud of the work I have done here,” Wallace said in a statement. “The employees at the Health Department have been amazing to work with, and I know the department will continue to do great things for the residents of this county.”

The county said that the emergency response to the COVID-19 outbreak in Weld County will now transition to be fully under the county’s Emergency Operations Center and that Wallace and county commissioners are working to develop a transition plan for the department’s top role.

The announcement comes a week after The NoCo Optimist, an online news outlet based in Greeley, reported on documents it had obtained that showed Wallace warned county commissioners not to allow businesses to reopen last month, as they did once the statewide stay-at-home order expired.

There were 2,087 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Weld County as of Friday afternoon and 113 confirmed deaths, including seven at the JBS plant and others at other care facilities.

Click here to read the full story.

4 p.m. | Nearly 100,000 tested for COVID-19 in Colorado so far

The number of positive cases of the novel coronavirus in the state has grown to 18,827, an uptick of 456 cases from Thursday, according to the latest numbers provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

A total of 3,600 people have been hospitalized, 43 more than reported a day prior, and 96,722 people have been tested (an additional 4,505 more than reported Thursday). The state also reported 960 deaths Friday, 16 more than reported a day prior. A total of 184 outbreaks have been reported at residential and non-hospital healthcare facilities — 6 more outbreaks than reported on Thursday by the CDPHE.

The latest hospital data from the CDPHE shows 821 hospital beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients — 23 more beds than reported on Thursday.

GRAPH: COVID-19 hospital beds in use as of May 8, 2020

New 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.

3:20 p.m. | Polis hopeful restaurants and camping can resume this month, says 'safer at home' data will guide decisions

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Friday he is hopeful that restaurants, bars and campsites can open this month but that the data that presents itself in the fourth week of May – which will show how the “safer at home” phase has affected COVID-19 spread in the state – would be the guiding factor on when and how they open.

The remaining counties that had been under extended stay-at-home orders, including most of the Denver metro area, will move to the “safer at home” phase starting Saturday.

Polis encouraged people statewide to wear masks inside stores and when they cannot keep at least 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and other people even if their counties or cities do not have local mask requirements.

Along with wearing masks and keeping up social and physical distancing, Polis also reminded people to recreate within 10 miles of their home – saying the high country was not yet ready for visitors from the Front Range or elsewhere.

Polis said he was “very optimistic” that camping would open back up soon but said he wanted to “be respectful” of the counties that host most camping visitors to be sure they are ready for said visitors.

The governor said that he hoped restaurants and bars could open to in-person dining before June 14. He said that the week of May 23 should give officials guidance on whether it would be safe and that restaurants would then need about a week to prepare to open safely.

“We would love to be able to be in a health situation that would allow them to open before Memorial Day weekend. But that will all be decided based on data we don’t have yet,” he said. “We don’t have a crystal ball. And we’ll see where that data emerges. I certainly hope it’s prior to June 15.”

With the seventh confirmed death at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley this week, the governor said his team had gone through the president’s executive order on meatpacking facilities and found that the state and county health department still had authority to keep workers at the plant safe and to close the plant again if necessary.

Click here to read the full story.

11:45 a.m. | Nuggets officials say they'll reopen practice facility

The Denver Nuggets will reopen its team practice facility starting Monday for voluntary individual player workouts, officials confirmed to Denver7 Friday.

9:40 a.m. | Gov. Polis update at 1 p.m.

Gov. Jared Polis is expected to provide an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 at 1 p.m. as the metro area counties and Pitkin County move to safer at home starting Saturday.

8:30 a.m. | Colorado to get more than $11 million to expand testing capabilities

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded Colorado $11,740,936 in grants to expand its capabilities for COVID-19 testing.

This is in addition to the more than $10 million that was provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in April to increase Colorado’s testing capability. Click here for a breakdown of the $11 million.

8:05 a.m. | Polis extends disaster emergency declaration

Today, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis extended the Disaster Emergency Declaration for COVID-19 by signing Executive Order DD 2020 058, which can be read here.

This order extends the state of disaster emergency and provides additional funds for response activities. It also extends the employment of the Colorado National Guard to support the state and local authorities.

6:30 a.m. | The Oxford Hotel reopening today

The Oxford, Denver's historic hotel, will resume its operations today. You can now make a reservation at the hotel with rates starting at $149 per night. The hotel implemented updated safety and cleanliness protocols to provide peace of mind for guests. The protocols include an increased frequency of cleaning of high-touch areas, the addition of hand sanitizer stations throughout the property, extended vacancy of hotel rooms between reservations and more.

The Oxford will also offer 60-minute free massages to frontline workers and first responders.

5 a.m. | Happening today: The Lumineers, Nathaniel Rateliff, OneRepublic to play at Colorado Gives Back concert

The Lumineers are bringing some of the biggest names in the state for Colorado Gives Back, a livestream benefit concert that will raise money to help workers in the industry as well as restaurant employees affected by COVID-19. The concert is today starting at 1 p.m.

Nathaniel Ratliffe, OneRepublic, Jewel and many other musical guests will share the Red Rocks Stage. At the Mile High Stage, you'll hear from retired Broncos MVP Peyton Manning, Nolan Arenado (from the Colorado Rockies), Mikaela Shiffrin and more. Gov. Jared Polis and former Gov. John Hickenlooper will also be in attendance.

Click here for more information.

5 a.m. | Happening today: Private family funeral for Paul Cary

Today, the family of Paul Cary will hold a private funeral for him. Cary, a Colorado paramedic, volunteered to fight coronavirus in New York City. He died at age 66 from complications with COVID-19. .

His son Chris Cary wrote a statement that was shared with media. It reads, in part:

As I talk with more people that knew my father, it is apparent of the impact he had on so many lives. An overwhelming sense of peace calms me as I know he was doing what he was called to do. One struggle is knowing there isn’t enough time for me to thank everyone involved or to impact these superheroes lives’ in the same way they have impacted my family’s life. All I can offer is a simple and heartfelt thank you for honoring my Father, family and all you do on a daily basis. Not only does this shed an intense light on my father’s life, but focus has been placed on health care workers, EMS, police, fire, military, and teachers who don’t get the credit and gratitude they deserve. To all of you, I end with a very humble thank you!

Click herefor the live blog from Thursday, May 7, 2020.