Colorado Coronavirus Updates For April 14: Closures, Testing, Cases And More

Wynken Blynken and Nod statue in denver, r m
David Zalubowski/AP
A mask to protect against the new coronavirus covers the face of Blynken in the public sculpture entitled “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” by Mabel Landrum Torrey in Washington Park Monday, April 13, 2020, in Denver.

This post collects all of our reporting and updates on the coronavirus in Colorado for Tuesday, April 14, 2020. You can find Wednesday's live blog here. Our original play-by-play of reporting continues below.

5:18 p.m. — Happy Tuesday, here's some music

Denver's Underground Music Showcase is bringing you live local music streams every afternoon with a new program called Streams With Grit.

Right now, Annabelle Maginnis and some friends are giving a real colorful and energetic performance. Enjoy.

— Alex Scoville

4:12 p.m. — The latest coronavirus case numbers

There are 7,941 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colorado as of Monday, April 13, according to state health officials.

That marks an increase of 250 cases from the day before.

Eleven more people have died due to the disease, bringing the statewide total to 329.

More than 1,500 people sick with COVID-19 have needed to be hospitalized.

Six more outbreaks in residential and non-hospital health care facilities, bringing the total across Colorado to 78.

The state has tested more than 39,500 people.

— Alex Scoville

4:08 p.m. — The City of Boulder is the latest employer to implement mass furloughs

Boulder Flatirons
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Hikers in a meadow below the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, Monday April 15, 2019.

Boulder will furlough 737 city employees for more than two months starting April 20, it announced Tuesday.

Workers furloughed include both 175 full-time and 562 seasonal and temporary employees. The unpaid break will last from April 20 to June 28.

The city could choose to bring employees early on June 1, but it could also opt to extend the furlough or to enact layoffs. Boulder will pay for health care and other benefits through June 30 for furloughed workers.

Boulder says it expects to lose $28 million, or 10 percent of its revenue, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented situation,” city manager Jane Brautigam said in a statement. “Unlike a natural disaster or past economic downturns, the duration of this crisis is unknown; the pandemic is impacting every community across the country."

— Alex Scoville

3:33 p.m. — Hey! You don't have to pay your taxes tomorrow

They're due on July 15 now. In most cases. We break it down here.

— Alex Scoville

3:14 p.m. — A Pueblo school district's emergency lunch program will stay closed for cleaning after negative COVID-19 results

A Pueblo School District 70 food worker has tested negative for the new coronavirus, the district announced Tuesday.

The suspected case had led D70 to close its emergency lunch program on Monday while it tested the employee.

The negative result does not mean the lunch program will immediately reopen, however. D70 officials still plan to keep the program on hold for two weeks while they deep clean and disinfect every kitchen site.

The emergency lunch program will reopen on April 27.

The district referred families in need to other food resources in the city to use during the two-week down period.

“It’s a tough decision we made in the best interest of the health and safety of our staff and our students,” D70 superintendent Ed Smith said in a statement.

— Alex Scoville

1:56 p.m. — This is what it looks like when you flush things other than TP and No. 1 and 2

Toilet paper shortages lead to desperation and creativity ... and clogs.

1:42 p.m. — High County folks, your politicians and health officials will take questions

Coronavirus Summit County Copper Closed
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Copper Mountain posted “closed” signs Sunday, March 15, 2020.

State officials will answer questions from residents and others about the novel coronavirus outbreak in Senate District 5, including the counties of Chaffee, Delta, Eagle, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Lake and Pitkin.

State Sen. Kerry Donovan will host the virtual meeting on Thursday from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Also present will be Rep. Dylan Roberts; a medical professional from Delta Memorial Hospital; and representatives from the state labor department and the Small Business Development Center Program.

Questions will be accepted online before the meeting. Dial in at 720-707-2699 with access code 811329283#, or join via the Zoom app.

— Andrew Kenney

1:36 p.m. — How has coronavirus changed your life? History Colorado wants to hear about it

Longboarder phone fire truck 16th Street Mall
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A longboarder looks at his phone while riding down Denver’s 16th Street Mall beside a fire truck on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

We are living in historic times. When future generations ask what it was like during the coronavirus pandemic, History Colorado wants to be able to answer in Coloradans' own words. 

The state’s historical society is collecting stories about life in the time of an outbreak that has closed schools, isolated people in their homes and left millions out of work almost overnight.

“It's history in the making,” said Jason Hanson, History Colorado's director of interpretation and research.

History Colorado is hearing from all corners of the states, and all walks of life. A Durango woman called to lament the absence of tourists, and her concern for the economic health of her town. A high school teacher expressed sadness that seniors won’t get to have a graduation ceremony, or go to prom.

And parents are all over the map.  A man who lost his job reveled in being able to teach his daughters to ride their bikes, while a mom admitted her family is struggling to focus on their kids' schooling while simultaneously trying to work from home.  

“People I think have been just incredibly honest, sometimes heartbreakingly honest,” Hanson said.

Technology will make a difference in how this pandemic is remembered.  Alongside traditional ways of noting experiences, like journal entries and surveys, History Colorado wants emails, cellphone pictures and voicemail messages. Hanson expects more ordinary experiences to be recorded than during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918. 

“In so many ways our understanding of that event, and really of much of history, has been shaped by those who had access to a microphone, or could get their views published,” Hanson said. “And today, we really have the tools to ensure that so many other voices shaped the story of how we put this pandemic into the past.”

People with memories or observations can email their story to [email protected], leave a recorded message at 720-466-8215 or share on the History Colorado website

— Nell London

11:01 a.m. — Safe2Tell tips decreased 13 percent in March

New state numbers show that tips to a hotline for students to report violence or threatening behavior have significantly decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is encouraging students to continue to utilize the tip line to report safety concerns from home. Suicide threats and drugs continued to be two of the top categories of tips reported to the program and tips related to COVID-19 increased.

— Natalia Navarro

10:30 a.m. — AMA Time!

AMA stands for "Ask Me Anything" in Reddit parlance. If you click on the headline or comments, you'll be taken to Reddit and can sort through the Q&A session.

9:27 a.m. — What about Fort Morgan's meatpacking plant?

On the heels of the issues experienced by the JBS meat plant in Greeley, the Fort Morgan Times reports that the Cargill meatpacking plant in Fort Morgan has increased its safety measures in response to the coronavirus.

The plant is screening workers before they enter, taking temperatures, social spacing has been added to the employee cafeteria and other departments. Employees who spoke to the Times, however, expressed mixed feelings about the company's efforts.

— Jim Hill

8:44 a.m. — Hey, Congressional District 4!

7:59 a.m. — Denver City Council asks Polis to 'freeze rent'

On Monday, the Denver City Council unanimously approved a symbolic, albeit official gesture. The proclamation asks that the governor put a moratorium on rent payments for tenants of homes and businesses struggling to pay because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Polis said he can’t upend rental contracts, but the city’s letter claims otherwise — that his emergency powers extend further than he’s reaching.

Denver’s rental assistance program saw a 245 percent increase in applications in March. The council also called on the state's congressional delegation and President Donald Trump to put a moratorium on mortgage payments.

— David Sachs

7:35 a.m. — ASK US ANYTHING on Reddit, at 10:30 a.m!

Health reporter John Daley and editor Kate Schimel (and many others in the newsroom) have spent the past month and a half reporting on and trying to understand COVID-19.

They've spoken to doctors, nurses, medical directors, epidemiologists, scientists, professors, public health officials, politicians, patients, people in our community — and everyone in between — to better understand the behavior of the virus and how it affects our lives.

At 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, John and Kate will be hosting an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit about their reporting. The conversation will take place in r/coronaviruscolorado — join us there at 10:30 a.m. to take part in the discussion!

— Francie Swidler

7:07 a.m. — Weld County Sheriff responds to ACLU suit

Civil rights lawyers from the ACLU sued Weld County Sheriff Reams on April 8. They allege he hasn't taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and is putting inmates in his jail at risk.

In a legal filing this week in response to that lawsuit, the sheriff said he is cleaning the jail more often and providing inmates with soap and Clorox wipes. He also has health screening pods for incoming inmates. Reams said he lacks authority to release people from jail because of the pandemic. when a judge has ordered them to be there.

— Allison Sherry

6:28 a.m. — Greeley beef plant shuts down for 2 weeks

JBS Greeley Beef Plant
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The JBS Greeley Beef Plant on Friday April 3, 2020.

A major meatpacking plant in Greeley where two workers died of the coronavirus will be closed until April 24 while its owner, JBS USA, works with state and federal authorities to arrange testing for its 5,000 workers.

The company said it will sanitize the plant, pay workers during the closure and adopt other measures to end the outbreak. On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis said he spoke to Vice President Mike Pence to arrange testing kits for the plant.

Health authorities say at least 43 plant workers have tested positive, and that 14 of them were hospitalized.

— Associated Press

6:15 a.m. — The state's latest COVID-19 data

Colorado has passed another threshold when it comes to deaths. There have now been 308 deaths due to complications from COVID-19. There are 7,691 known positive cases and the cumulative total who have been hospitalized stands at 1,493.

On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis said the state will soon release additional data on the racial distribution and the number who are discharged from the hospital. The initial racial data shows that the outbreak is more prevalent among African American, Hispanic and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander people in Colorado.

The differences for all three groups are statistically significant, according to state officials. The effect was the opposite for white and Asian people, who made up a disproportionately small portion of cases.

Polis said he wants the state to have more uniform information so it can use it to fight the disease.

— Andrew Kenney, Jim Hill

Monday's Live Blog.