This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Update 5:00 p.m.
Colorado now has 183 positive cases of the new coronavirus, up 23 from yesterday. Officials say 1,790 people have been tested and 19 counties are affected. There are two reported fatalities.
The State of Colorado has launched a new website with a breadth of informational resources and improved data visualization for COVID-19. Officials says the site will serve as the primary resource for information related to COVID-19 and will feature statewide coordinated response information.
The new website is covid19.colorado.gov.
The site will be updated daily around 4 p.m. and will feature data on Colorado’s COVID-19 testing results, including total test results completed, total positive results, positive cases by county, transmission type, and patient outcome, and number of hospitalizations and fatalities.
Update 2:30 p.m.
El Paso County has suspended operations at it's Motor Vehicle Department, treasurer's office, assessor's office, and planning development office. The Gazette reports the Departments of Human Services and Public Health will be limiting services, as will the Pikes Peak Workforce Center.
Residents can find online access to county services at elpasoco.com.
Original story - 7:00 a.m.
Bars, restaurants, gyms & more ordered to close
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a public health order to close bars, restaurants, gyms, theaters, and casinos effective at 8:00 a.m. on March 17. The closure will last for 30 days and is an effort to help the state slow the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado communities.
“We understand the gravity of this public health order, and the disruption it will cause,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE in a press release. “But we are weighing this disruption against the need to save lives. Based on the experience of other countries, the state of Washington, and modeling data, the sooner we begin social distancing measures on a large enough scale, the more quickly we can slow transmission of the virus, which translates into less people requiring hospitalization at the same time and more lives saved.”
Establishments are allowed to use delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, as long as they stay within the current guidelines for social distancing.
The order does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, food pantries, health care facilities, residential care facilities, crisis shelters or similar institutions.
State adds 50 new nurses to support efforts
The state added 50 nurses from the Freedom Health Care Staffing Company dedicated to help with the COVID-19 response. In a press release, CDPHE said they are in providing care in crisis situations and will initially staff testing sites and health care facilities.
Funding for the extra staff will come from the $3 million from the Disaster Emergency Fund ordered by Governor Jared Polis.
Colorado Springs Mayor declares a State of Emergency
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers has declared a State of Emergency for the city in response to COVID-19, effective at 10 Monday morning.
In a statement, Suthers said it gives the city its best ability to respond to the pandemic by making Colorado Springs eligible for federal relief funding and it provides the mayor the authority to enact rules that can be put into place quickly as the situation evolves.
"This should not be cause for further alarm," Suthers said. "But a signal that our city continues to monitor the situation and respond in a prudent, effective manner in constant coordination with our partners at El Paso County Health and El Paso County."
Current case updates, locations
At last report, there are 160 positive cases of the coronavirus in Colorado, with the highest numbers in Denver and Eagle Counties. There are 4 cases in El Paso County, 8 in Douglas County and one in Pueblo County.
Officials say more than 750 people have been tested at the state lab. That number does not include private testing and is not representative of the total number of tests conducted in the state.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment publishes daily numbers of positive test results here.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.