Headlines April 23, 2020
Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Jared Polis gave further details on what the next stage in the COVID-19 pandemic will be for Colorado, as the stay at home executive order expires on Sunday and a new “safer at home phase” begins on Monday.
Personal service providers, like hair salons, will be able to reopen on April 27, but measures must be in place to allow social distancing. Child care can restart on April 27.
Retail stores and offices can reopen the following Monday, May 4, but social distancing measures must be outlined and employees should be allowed to telecommute as much as possible.
Restaurants and bars will stay closed initially but can continue to offer take out and they may be allowed to open in mid-May.
According to state health officials, there are currently 10,878 positive cases of COVID-19 in Colorado and 508 deaths. 23 people have died in Boulder County, the vast majority of them have been residents of long term care facilities.
A 3-year-old girl was unintentionally shot and killed by her 7-year-old brother in their Westminster home this Tuesday. Denver 7 reports that the two siblings were playing when the older brother found an unsecured, loaded shotgun.
There has been an increase in gun sales in recent weeks in Colorado. According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the number of background checks conducted in the state during March 2020 was nearly 65 percent higher than in March 2019.
Gun safety advocates are calling for increased measures during the stay at home order. They are warning parents to make sure any guns in the home are secured and away from children.
The Colorado Department of Labor says that they have received more than 30,000 claims since Monday which is when they launched a new online application to begin taking claims from self-employed, gig workers and those otherwise not eligible for regular unemployment due to COVID-19.
The latest public health order for Colorado, mandating that workers at critical businesses wear personal protective equipment while on the job, takes effect today. Public Health Order 20 26 follows an executive order of a similar nature that Governor Jared Polis signed into action last Friday. The mandate requires employees of essential businesses to wear face coverings and gloves, especially if they work in close contact with each other or with the general public. Employees who handle food also must wear masks, even if they do not closely interact with customers or other employees.
The order encourages employers to support their workers by providing face coverings, and making accommodations for people to continue some form of work even if they cannot wear a mask for some reason. Additionally, workers in long-term care facilities and non-resident visitors must also wear masks.
Non-healthcare employees should wear non-medical masks, and use gloves in an efficient manner, so as to leave medical-grade equipment for hospitals. Currently, Colorado is not over capacity for personal protective equipment, but due to the urgency of the current situation, the state distributes new shipments of PPE to healthcare centers as soon as they arrive. Sarah Tuneberg, director for the state’s Innovation Response Team, emphasized in a press call today the difficulty of obtaining PPE in the first place, as states compete in bidding wars against one another, the federal government and even other countries.
The public health order is in place until May 17, though it may be extended, changed or revoked.
Data on coronavirus-related deaths will soon paint a more accurate picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the state. Probable deaths – people who did not officially test positive for the virus, but whose death certificate lists COVID-19 or a related cause – have not previously been included in data, but will soon be integrated.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment expects the statewide death count to rise by about one hundred and thirty as a result of this change. Increases in targeted testing efforts will also result in higher COVID-19 case numbers, though experts estimate that statistics will continue to underestimate the number of cases occurring. Neither the increase in death data nor the increase in case data necessarily indicate changes in the virus’ trend, but rather indicate more effective monitoring and reporting systems.
Additionally, death data going forward will be registered in the state’s database under the day the death occurred. So far, deaths have been counted based on the reported date, which may not be the same day as the death itself.