This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.
Update: 8:45 p.m.
El Paso County health officials say six cases positive cases of COVID-19 have been identified at Laurel Manor Care. The Colorado Springs facility is a senior living community run by Volunteers of America, though it is unclear if those cases are residents or not.
In a release, El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheeler, said they became aware of the cases in late afternoon and "took immediate action… to assess the situation and respond appropriately."
Update - 4:35 p.m.
There are currently 277 positive cases of the new coronavirus in Colorado. Data released from the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE) shows 61 new cases — the largest day-over-day increase so far.
The state is reporting 15 cases in El Paso County and 14 in Douglas County. KRCC has confirmed that there are two confirmed cases in Pueblo, although data from CDPHE only shows one.
The highest rates of infection per 100,000 people are in Eagle, Gunnison and Pitkin counties, respectively.
Update - 12:41 p.m.
His passing marks the state's third death from the virus.
There are now 216 known positive cases of the new coronavirus as of Wednesday afternoon. That's an increase of 33.
Polis Closes Schools
Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order Wednesday evening closing all of the state's schools to at least April 17 to guard against the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better," Polis said. "We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease."
The governor also announced that the state Department of Public Health and Environment had issued a public health order that goes into effect Thursday morning, March 19, and "will limit all mass gatherings to no more than 10 people for the next 30 days unless otherwise extended by the executive director of CDPHE."
Pueblo Testing Site To Open
The state health department says it will open a temporary COVID-19 testing site in Pueblo, in cooperation with the Colorado National Guard and the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. The site is for high-risk patients who have been referred by local health care providers.
State epidemiologist Rachel Herliy said in a statement yesterday that the agency wants to prioritize testing in certain areas to get a better understanding how where and how much transmission is happening. "It's critical that we are gathering data in all areas of the state, especially areas where there hasn't been a lot of testing."
Pueblo County has one known case of COVID-19.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department is also starting a new screening process for people they encounter through emergency calls who may have the disease.
"Help Colorado Now"
Gov. Polis Wednesday announced a website aimed at allowing people to donate time and money to people affected by COVID-19.
Organizations working to prevent and treat the disease should be able to apply for funds starting next week.
Editor's note: this post originaly identified the individuals at Laurel Manor Care who tested postitive were residents. That is not known at this time and the information has been changed to reflect that.
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