Colorado Coronavirus Updates: What You Need To Know Today

Virus Outbreak ColoradoVirus Outbreak ColoradoDavid Zalubowski/AP
Passengers wait to pass through the south security checkpoint while defying a social distancing sign at Denver International Airport as a statewide stay-at-home order remains in effect to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Denver.

10:50 a.m. — Colorado plans 12,000 temporary beds for coronavirus surge

David Zalubowski/AP
Colorado Governor Jared Polis enters a news conference on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in Centennial, Colo.

Long rows of temporary hospital beds may soon rise in Colorado sports venues, convention centers or warehouses as the state prepares for a surge of COVID-19 patients. 

“It will look similar to what you're seeing in New York City right now in Central Park,” Gov. Jared Polis said on Wednesday, referring to a coronavirus tent hospital that opened in the Big Apple's crown-jewel park.

Polis wants the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare 2,000 temporary new “surge” beds by April 18, plus thousands of more beds in hotels and dorms to quarantine asymptomatic patients.

Read the rest of the story here.

— Andrew Kenney

10:35 a.m. — Profiles of Colorado in the age of coronavirus

Each day, CPR News is putting together profiles of Coloradans amidst the coronavirus pandemic — how they're handling the stay-at-home order, what challenges they're seeing and more about their individual experiences. We want to hear from you, too.

These profiles will be published in our COVID-19-focused Evening Update, available to all our newsletter subscribers. Here's an preview:

Courtesy of Susan Adams
Susan Adams, of Colorado Springs, with her husband and their pets.

Susan Adams, of Colorado Springs, is 72 and retired — though she still teaches a class at Front Range Community College. Before the coronavirus pandemic, Susan and her husband were avid volunteers at the Garden of the Gods Information Desk, and the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. But in this new normal, that's all stopped. We asked Susan about their new normal, what worries her, how the transition to teaching online has been and what silver linings she's found.

The rest of our short interview with Susan will be sent to subscribers this evening. Not a subscriber yet? You can fix that right here.

— Daniel J. Schneider

9:05 a.m. — Polis to D.C.: We'd like more protective gear and ventilators, please

Polis reiterated Colorado's need for more ventilators and personal protective gear in his news conference yesterday. He had sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence to get federal help to meet the shortage.

“We are facing a crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies to protect our health care workers and first responders. Colorado’s COVID-19 death rate is rising faster than any other state right now; the pandemic is spreading so fast that lags in testing are masking the true conditions experienced by Coloradans across the state,” Polis wrote.

The state is looking for:

  • 10,000 ventilators
  • 2M N95 masks
  • 4.4M surgical masks
  • 720K gowns
  • 880K face shields
  • 4.3M gloves of various sizes

The shortage of gear comes as the state prepares for an expected surge of hospitalizations, sets crisis care guidelines and retrains some medical specialists to serve as frontline health care workers.

— Jim Hill

8:12 a.m. — No jury duty in El Paso or Teller

A top judge in El Paso and Teller counties has canceled jury duty through the third week of April to reduce risks from coronavirus.

Defendants still have to go to scheduled hearings so judges can determine the next steps. The Gazette reports the delays raise questions over defendants’ rights to a speedy trial. Felonies trials can be postponed under quote "exceptional circumstances" but there are no provisions for postponing misdemeanors.

— Natalia Navarro

7: 24 a.m. — Unemployment claims continue their climb

More than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, far exceeding a record high set by the previous week's claims, a sign that layoffs are accelerating in the midst of the coronavirus. The previous record was 3.3 million, which, again, was just reported for the previous week.

The job cuts mount against the backdrop of economies in the United States and abroad that have almost certainly sunk into a severe recession as businesses close across the world.

The same trend holds true in Colorado. For the week ending Mar 28, 60,784 claims were filed. That's a 207 percent jump over the last week in which 19,774 claims were filed. Both numbers represented significant records.

— The Associated Press, Jim Hill

6:38 a.m. — The current case count in Colorado

There are currently — as of April 1 — 3,342 known positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. More than 18,000 have been tested and there have been 80 deaths.

As the pandemic spreads, Colorado hopes to have 5,000 ICU beds available by April 18. Officials say that'll help prepare for more hospitalizations. Scott Bookman, the incident commander for the state health department, said the state expects a surge of patients that could overwhelm hospitals sometime between later this month and July.

"We also know, based on the clinical evidence by areas that have been previously hit by COVID-19 that these patients are going to require intensive care," he said. "They’re going to be severely ill and ventilator-dependent for anywhere between an average of 11 to 20 days."

State officials have reiterated that most people with flu-like symptoms will not need medical care and should instead isolate themselves from others.

— Corey Jones, Jim Hill

You can find yesterday's blog of updates here.

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