Coronavirus In Colorado--March 23 Updates: Peterson AFB Declares Public Health Emergency, And More

Mar 23, 2020

Update- 7:36 p.m.

Peterson Air Force Base has declared a Public Health Emergency. The announcement comes after the base said two people—an active duty service member and a dependent—tested positive for COVID-19. The base says the two cases are unrelated, and both people are quarantined and receiving support and medical care.

The health emergency order took effect at 5 p.m. and means commanders are asked to limit in-office activities to those required for critical missions as determined by unit commanders.

Additionally, other measures have been put into place, including:

  • outdoor recreation temporarily closed;
  • Military Personnel Facility open for appointments only;
  • Dental clinic services limited to emergencies and readiness related appointments.

The order is in place for 30 days.

Meantime, a civilian worker at Schriever Air Force Base has tested positive for COVID-19. This person has been in home isolation since March 17 and all known contacts have been working remotely since March 17 as a precaution.

Base leaders there have suspended base shuttle service inside and outside the Restricted Area, suspended food truck service, and canceled or postponed large events and gatherings of more than 10 personnel, among other actions.

---Denver's Stay-At-Home Order Amended---

Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock amended his original public health order aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19. Originally restricted, the order now exempts liquor and marijuana stores with extreme physical distancing in place.

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Update- 5 p.m.

The state is beginning to ship supplies across Colorado today that have been procured from the Strategic National Stockpile. That includes 49,200 N95 masks, 115,000 surgical mask, and 21,420 surgical gowns.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimates the supplies can support one full day of operations around the state.

The supplies will go to county health departments and tribes where it's deemed their needed most. Criteria for that decision includes population; portion of the population older than 65 proportional to the state population; the number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals; if the county or tribe has received supplies previously.

"We are relieved that we have finally received materials from the Strategic National Stockpile, but it's not nearly enough," said Scott Bookman, COVID Incident Commander, CDPHE in a statement. "We're going to need more supplies and are grateful to all our partners across the state who are donating supplies and stepping up to help Colorado meet the demand."

---Monday's Updated Numbers From CDPHE---

New numbers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) say there are now 720 known positive cases of COVID-19. The number reflects an increase of 129 and includes people who have tested positive as well as people who have symptoms and are a close contact to someone who tested positive for the disease.

The data is complete through Mon. March 22, 2020.

72 people are hospitalized, and seven people have died.

In Southern Colorado:

  • El Paso County – 69 
  • Douglas County – 48
  • Teller County – 3 
  • Pueblo County – 3 
  • Chaffee County – 3
  • Elbert County – 3 
  • Crowley County – 1 

---Denver Mayor Issues Stay-At-Home Order In Effect Tues. At 5 p.m.---

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled a stay-at-home order for the city and county on Monday. The order will go into effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday and stay in place through April 10.

"This isn't a recommendation anymore. People need to stay at home," Hancock said.

According to CPR News, restaurants will still be able to deliver food under the work-from-home order. Parks will remain open, but playgrounds will close. Residents will still be allowed to take walks or go on hikes, as long as they maintain a six-foot distance from others.

Following the announcement, Governor Jared Polis issued a statement supporting the order: 

"Last week, San Miguel issued a stay at home order for non-critical functions and additional isolation measures were also taken in Gunnison, Eagle, and Summit counties. Today the city and county of Denver issued a similar order. 

I'm strongly in support of these local efforts, and it's extremely important that just as our state is acting boldly and urgently, that our county health departments are also taking strong actions guided by science, data, and the real-life situation on the ground including taking into account local factors like population density and concentration of Coronavirus cases, to best contain the spread of the virus. 

Thank you to Mayor Hancock and other local leaders making strong moves to reduce the spread of the virus in communities across our state."

More from our partners at CPR News

---City Of Colorado Springs Suspends Parking Meters---

The City of Colorado Springs is suspending enforcement of parking meters, time-limited and non-metered parking areas, as well as booting through Thursday, April 20.

Specific no-parking zones will still be enforced, including near fire hydrants, "no parking" areas, and blocking driveways or alleyways.

The city says the purpose is to allow residents easy access to restaurants offering curbside food service.

---morning update---

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) shows nearly 600 known positive cases of the new coronavirus across the state. The data is complete through Sat., March 21.

591 people are now known to have the virus, an increase of 116 from the day before, with 58 hospitalizations and six deaths.

In Southern Colorado, the number of cases continues to increase, particularly in El Paso County.

  • El Paso County – 51 
  • Douglas County – 33
  • Chaffee County – 3
  • Elbert County – 3 
  • Pueblo County – 3
  • Crowley County – 1

Data is released by the state daily around 4 p.m., though individual county health departments have been releasing information as it becomes available.

The state has also seen six deaths as a result of COVID-19:

  • El Paso County (3)
  • Crowley County (1)
  • Weld County (1)
  • Eagle County (1)

Weld County is also reporting a second death, although it is not yet reflected in the state data. 

All deaths appear to be among residents who are 60 or older. Three have been identified as having underlying health conditions, which is the greatest at-risk category. It has not been reported that the others have underlying health conditions, but that only means it has not been reported.
 

Screenshot of accumulated data tabulation from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as of Sun., March 22, 2020, 9:20 p.m.
Credit Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday ordered non-essential businesses to reduce the number of people physically present in the workplace by 50 percent, more if possible, effective Tues., March 24 and is currently set to last through Fri., April 10. 

In a list provided by the governor's office, defined critical workplaces that are exempt are as follows:

  • Health care operations;
  • Critical Infrastructure, including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, organizations that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain;
  • Critical Manufacturing, including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture;
  • Critical Retail, including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout, marijuana dispensaries but only for medical or curbside delivery, hardware stores;
  • Critical Services, including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues;
  • News Media;
  • Financial Institutions;
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations;
  • Construction;
  • Defense;
  • Public Safety Services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair;
  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical government services;
  • "Critical Government Functions." 

Polis said while the state was not wielding enforcement authority to keep people home, the "Grim Reaper" is a more severe enforcement authority.

"It is not the threat of you being brought to prison, it is the threat of death," he said.

At his press address Sunday, Polis also announced the creation of a new team aimed at finding innovative ways to address the response to COVID-19. It's called the Innovation Response Team (IRT) and is includes members of the public and private sectors. It's first tasks, Polis said, include ramping up a mass testing program, creating services for those under isolation or quarantine, and developing locally-sourced alternatives for stressed medical supplies.

Additional weekend developments can be found here