Colorado Coronavirus Updates For April 3: Closures, Testing, Cases And More
This post collects all of our reporting and updates on the coronavirus in Colorado for Friday, April 3, 2020. You can find the weekend live blog here. Our original play-by-play of reporting continues below.
6:35 p.m. — Here are some CPR-ites with their face masks
Stay safe, everyone.
4:17 p.m. — There are now more than 4,000 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado
The latest numbers from state health officials show 4,173 cases of the new coronavirus in Colorado, an increase of 445 over yesterday.
There have now been 111 deaths due to COVID-19, 14 since the day before.
More than a 100 cases have been hospitalized since the last report, from 710 to 823 today.
Twenty-seven residential and non-hospital health care facilities now have outbreaks of the disease.
The state has tested more than 22,000 people.
— Alex Scoville
3:37 p.m. — Colorado just got another influx of supplies from the National Stockpile
State health officials are doling out the third allotment of medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile to counties and hospitals across Colorado.
This shipment included:
- 122,490 N95 masks
- 287,022 surgical masks
- 56,160 face shields
- 57,300 surgical gowns
- 392,000 gloves
- 3,636 coveralls
— Alex Scoville
3:18 p.m. — RTD will allow rear boarding on buses, actually. Also, no more fares
In a reversal, the Regional Transportation District will soon allow passengers to board buses from the rear door.
RTD’s bus drivers had been pushing for that, in order to keep distance between themselves and passengers as coronavirus cases continue to increase in Colorado.
RTD will also stop collecting fares on all buses and trains, as well as suspending service on the 16th Street Free MallRide and the Free MetroRide.
RTD is also installing signage on its vehicles asking riders to practice social distancing.
— Nathaniel Minor
2:37 p.m. — Jared Polis and Nathaniel Rateliff want you to wear a mask in public
While donning a mask emblazoned with the state's logo, Gov. Jared Polis asked every Coloradan to make and wear a fabric mask in public.
The request comes as the White House and the CDC are expected to encourage face coverings as well.
Colorado musician Nathaniel Rateliff also made a virtual guest appearance showing off his mask.
The governor emphasized that everyday Coloradans should make and wear their own fabric masks, and N95 masks should continue to go to medical professionals.
How-to videos on making masks are available at the ColoradoMaskProject.com.
More on the governor's announcement here.
— Alex Scoville
1:04 p.m. — Polis news conference
The governor is scheduled to speak at 1:30 p.m. MDT. CPR News will carry his remarks live. Find a signal near you, ask your smart speaker to "Play CPR News" or watch the video feed below.
12:50 p.m. — Attention Rockies fans, your "Stay At Home Opener" is here
Starting at 2 p.m., head to mlb.com/rockies/fans/virtual-opening-day or rockies.com for a “virtual game” comprised of some of the best home opener innings in franchise history, pregame ceremonies, a virtual 7th-inning stretch and more.
The opener will serve another purpose: raising funds for food banks throughout Colorado and Wyoming.
— Ana Campbell
12:36 p.m. — The Sofa King is almost here. Wait, what?
It's an at-home festival to benefit restaurant workers and it starts at 2 p.m. today.
One of the perks of partying at home is the whole not-getting-dressed thing. Sofa King Fest will give you the opportunity to do just that, all while benefiting laid off restaurant workers and musicians. Tune in for 20 intimate performances, pants optional.
— Ana Campbell
12:20 p.m. — Several districts announce they've abandoned all hope of returning to classrooms this academic year
Denver Public School students will not return to classrooms for the rest of this school year. Jeffco Schools also announced the same move Friday. The decision came after several other school districts made similar moves. Those include schools in Fort Collins, Loveland and Gunnison.
DPS says remote learning will continue for the thousands of public school students while the state fights the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this week, Gov. Jared Polis said that he was going to keep schools around the state closed until at least April 30.
— Andrew Villegas
11:53 a.m. — Need a companion in these COVID times? We've got a podcast for that
10:34 a.m. — A record number of homes were pulled from the Metro Denver market in March
A record 761 sellers withdrew homes from the market in March, according to a report from the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.
Of that number, 625 were pulled during the last two weeks of the month as fears of the coronavirus pandemic ballooned, the report found. By comparison, 284 homes were withdrawn in January.
Real estate transactions are deemed an essential service under the state’s stay-at-home order, but the way deals are struck has changed, according to Jill Schafer, chair of the DMAR market trends committee.
“There are people out there who need to buy a home and others who need to sell, so we continue to work,” Schafer wrote in the report.
Realtors are no longer holding open houses, closings are being conducted wearing gloves and masks, and agents don’t drive in cars or ride in elevators with clients, according to Schafer. Virtual tours and FaceTime walkthroughs have become common tools for marketing homes, Schafer said.
A new contract, called the COVID-19 Addendum, allows a transaction to be extended if a homebuyer or seller is exposed or quarantined, the report noted.
— Sarah Mulholland
9:54 a.m. — It's coloring time
Colorado Matters (subscribe wherever you get your podcasts) has a new logo and it's about time that we gave you an opportunity to bust out the crayons.
Here are some black and white outlines for you to get creative with. We have a "radio rookie" all ages one, an "intermediate interviewer" mid-level one and the advanced "Matters master" level design. Happy coloring! And don't forget to send us your work at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— The CM team
9:35 a.m. — Gov. Polis will speak today
The governor will again provide an update on the state's response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. CPR News will carry his remarks live, which are scheduled for 1:30 MDT today. Find a signal near you or ask your smart speaker to "Play CPR News."
8:54 a.m. — Are you still playing Powerball?
The pandemic, and stay-at-home orders, have cut into sales of Powerball tickets. The group behind the game, including the Colorado Lottery, is making changes in response.
After the upcoming April 8 drawing, the jackpot amount and any increases will be based on sales. Here are some more details on that. Powerball jackpots had started at $40 million and increased by a minimum of $10 million.
Previously, the Powerball Product Group has cut the jackpot to a start of $20 million with $2 million increases, but the spread of the virus cut into sales so now they've made a switch again.
— Jim Hill
8:19 a.m. — How's San Miguel County's testing experiment going?
So far almost 1,000 people in San Miguel County have been tested for COVID-19. It's the only place in the state testing anyone who wants it, healthy or not.
County officials say of the results so far, they've have found eight positive cases and 23 that are "borderline." That likely means the person has been exposed to COVID-19 and is starting to build antibodies, but not enough to trigger a positive test.
Officials are asking those people to self-isolate and come back for another blood test in the next couple of weeks to see if they turn into positive cases. The goal is to get much better data about how the coronavirus moves through a population. The testing is being paid for by two biomedical executives with a residence in Telluride.
— Allison Sherry
7:21 a.m. — Top El Paso GOP officials ask local party chair to step down
The controversy started with a post on the El Paso County GOP Facebook Page that reads: “Hello El Paso County! Do you believe that the Coronavirus is a Psychological Operation? Post your answer." It was quickly removed at the request of the statewide party.
The letter from the county's politicians demands that county chair Vickie Tonkins' issue a formal apology to the Republican Party and the citizens of El Paso County for her quote "inappropriate comments." And it strongly recommends she resign.
Tonkins hasn't yet responded to the letter but did address the controversial post earlier. She said she was only asking for opinions and didn't intend to offend anyone.
— Bente Birkeland
7:00 a.m. — FDA makes it easier for gay men and other groups to give blood
The new guidance, in response to the coronavirus outbreak, is intended to help meet a shortage in the nation's blood supply. The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it was cutting the abstinence period required for men who've had sex with men from one year to three months.
The new policy also applies to people who have gotten tattoos and piercings. Canceled blood drives have decimated donations to the American Red Cross and other nonprofits that collect blood. Officials say the changes should permit thousands more Americans to give blood.
— NPR, The Associated Press
6:43 a.m. — Colorado businesses are going to look different when this all over
According to new state data, leisure and hospitality workers were hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19 layoffs. The sector — which includes restaurants, venues, hotels and recreation — made up about 28 percent of the unemployment claims filed for the week ending March 14.
Layoffs have only accelerated since then, with more than 60,000 people filing claims last week. The damage has spread to retail, education, travel and even some medical professions, according to state officials.
The state labor department says changes to its online application system have generally removed backlogs but that its telephone call center is still overwhelmed.
— Andrew Kenney
6:28 a.m. — Today's current case count
Colorado now has 3,728 known positive cases of the novel coronavirus. Out of the state's 64 counties, 51 have at least 1 case. There have been 97 deaths.
The state is preparing for a surge in hospitalizations. At the moment, 710 are hospitalized with COVID-19, but the state expects many more beds will be needed in the next few weeks. Following the lead of California and New York, Colorado is working with the military to prepare field hospitals for patients.
The plan is to build 2,000 temporary beds by April 18 as the outbreak's surge approaches. They would house COVID patients with less severe symptoms, freeing up space in hospitals, according to state incident commander Scott Bookman.
— Andrew Kenney, Jim Hill
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