This post collects all of our updates and reporting on the coronavirus in Colorado for the weekend of May 2 and 3.
8:10 a.m. — Colorado's food supply chain puts workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic
Around the country, crowded food facilities like the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley have seen COVID-19 spread through the ranks of their essential workers. It’s put a spotlight on the safety of the supply chain and the workers who forge that chain every day. And while supplies are still holding up overall, officials worry about future shortages and places where the chain’s links could break.
Food supply basically operates like this: farmers and ranchers create the food, processors process and often package it, distributors send it where it belongs, and stores and service-industry spots sell it. To keep all parts of the process in working order during a pandemic, employers have to protect workers.
7:27 a.m. — NYC mayor says Colorado EMT's death will be honored forever
New York City's mayor is praising the sacrifice of a Colorado paramedic, promising that his heroism before he died of the coronavirus will be forever honored in the city he came to rescue. Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at length about Paul Cary during his daily update Friday about the city's progress against the disease. He said the longtime Aurora, Colorado, resident who most recently lived in Denver clearly saved lives after coming to New York to relieve a beleaguered emergency response system that was fielding more 911 calls than ever before. The mayor says a memorial by the city to the 66-year-old grandfather will be a way to remember all the health care professionals, military members and others who raced to the city to help.
— The Associated Press
6:00 p.m. — Fort Collins to require masks starting on Monday
Starting Monday, most people in Fort Collins will have to wear masks or other face coverings in buildings that are open to the public. That includes buses and other public transportation.
Fort Collins businesses also have to make reasonable efforts to provide face coverings for employees, under the rules finalized on Friday. Kids under 10, and people for whom wearing a mask would impair their health are among those exempted from the order.
Any person not wearing a mask where it's required, or a business not enforcing the rules, could be charged with a misdemeanor.
Denver has a similar order in place starting Wednesday.
— Rachel Estabrook
4:10 p.m. — Hospitalizations stay flat in Colorado while total reported deaths rise slightly
The latest data on the impact of COVID-19 in Colorado provided little argument for or against a reduction of social distancing restrictions.
For the second consecutive day, the number of Coloradans hospitalized with symptoms from the virus remained at 737, well within the ability of the state's hospitals to provide rooms and advanced equipment, like ventilators.
The official reported death toll rose from 820 to 832.
The good news could be found in the three-day average of positive infections. After three consecutive days of testing around 3,400 people per day, the three-day average percentage of positive tests fell to 11.64 through Friday. That's the lowest point for that figure since March 23, before the state's spike in cases occurred.
— Chuck Murphy
12:36 p.m. — Testing at veterans home shows three deaths, 32 cases of COVID-19
Widespread testing at the Veteran’s Community Living Center at Fitzsimons in Aurora has revealed that nine staff and 23 residents have tested positive for the new coronavirus, and three residents have died.
The home serves veterans, veteran spouses and Gold Star parents. The facility is operated by the state.
In a statement announcing the test results, Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Michelle Barnes said, “In times like these, we are thankful for our staff and team that continue to show up every day and provide the best care to our residents."
The state decided to enlist the National Guard to test everyone at the facility after two residents died and 14 people, including staff, were found to be infected earlier this week.
At least 131 facilities that house the elderly have outbreaks of COVID-19 —more than half of Colorado's certified nursing facilities. Elder housing also accounts for a majority of deaths in Colorado linked to the new coronavirus.
— Rachel Estabrook
8:53 a.m. — A sign of Colorado's reopening: Free bike share
In a sign of how things are changing in Colorado, the bike-share program in Colorado Springs is offering unlimited free rides. Pike Ride is a 501c3 nonprofit.
Downtown businesses are slowly starting to reopen, since the state is allowing personal service businesses and retail storefronts to have in-person customers, as long as they maintain social distancing. While that's still on hold in most counties in Metro Denver, areas like Colorado Springs and much of the rest of the state have forged ahead.
If you're brave enough for shared transportation right now, the Pike Ride bicycles assist peddlers with an electric motor. They're parked all around downtown in Colorado Springs. Rides are free for up to 30 minutes. Those interested need to download a smartphone app to try it out.
— Dan Boyce
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this update stated that Pike Ride was city-sponsored. The organization is 501c3 nonprofit.
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