CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE: 31 deaths in Colorado with 239 hospitalized as of Friday

DENVER (KKTV) - On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis addressed the public in regards to his COVID-19 response. You can watch it at the top of this article.

Photo courtesy: MGN

Earlier in the week, the governor announced a statewide "stay at home" order.

Click here to view a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the order.

The order went into effect on March 26 at 6 a.m. and was announced by the governor on March 25.

Click here to view the full order.

WHAT THE STAY AT HOME ORDER MEANS:
This executive order means Coloradans should not be leaving their homes except for critical activities including:

- Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine

- Going to and from work if you are a critical employee

- Seeking medical care

- Caring for dependents or pets

- Caring for a vulnerable person in another location

- Cannabis and liquor stores will remain open

- Or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties

CLICK HERE for a list of critical businesses in Colorado as defined in Public Health Order 20-24.

"This order is now the law," Gov. Jared Polis said. "What does this mean? The stay at home order means that individuals should only interact with your own household, and only leave your household when you absolutely need to."

ADDITIONAL DETAILS ON THE STAY AT HOME ORDER:
- Grocery stores will remain open under this order.
- You will be able to leave your home to get necessary medical supplies
- Essential travel will be allowed.
- Roads and state borders remain open.

For information and resources on COVID-19, El Paso and Teller County residents can call 719-575-8888 seven days a week. Monday through Friday, the line is available from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Weekends, calls will be taken between 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

CORONAVIRUS IN COLORADO BY THE NUMBERS (3/27 4 p.m.):
(These numbers are based on the state website, which updates at 4 p.m. daily. To avoid confusion, we will only be updating these once a day, in line with the state's site.)
CASES: 1,734
- EL PASO COUNTY: 160 (7 deaths)
- PUEBLO COUNTY: 6 (1 death)
- FREMONT COUNTY: 1
- TELLER COUNTY: 7
(All other counties can be viewed by clicking here and scrolling down.)
HOSPITALIZED: 239
COUNTIES: 42
PEOPLE TESTED: 11,675
DEADLY CASES: 31
The state added this data likely does not reflect the actual number of cases. Gov. Jared Polis also says there are probably thousands infected who have not been tested.

March 26
If you are in El Paso County and have non-urgent questions about COVID-19, please call the El Paso County Public Health call center at 719-575-8888. The center is available 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. 5 p.m. on the weekends.

March 25

A civilian employee of the Air Force Academy tested positive for COVID-19. The Academy is not aware of the civilian having any known contact with cadets.

Prior to the governor's announcement on a statewide stay at home order, more than 2 million in the Denver metro area were joining Denver proper in a stay-at-home order. Read more about the counties affected and what that means here

The City of Pueblo announced it would temporarily be closing its Sales Tax, Finance and City Clerk offices.

March 24

The total number of confirmed cases in El Paso County eclipsed 100 on Tuesday. The number of cases statewide increased to more than 900. The number of patients who passed in El Paso County is three as of March 24. After further investigation, El Paso County Public health clarified the fourth death reported on Monday was actually a patient from Teller County.

More Colorado counties are confirming positive cases, with Otero announcing its first Tuesday morning.

Gunnison County recorded its first death, Crested Butte's newspaper reported Monday night. The patient died March 13 and was tested for COVID-19 posthumously. The results came back 10 days later.

Teller County Public Health and Environment announced its first death from COVID-19. It isn't clear if that death was included in Monday's reporting numbers from the state level. Teller County also announced two more positive cases of COVID-19.

A patient also tested positive for COVID-19 in Otero County.

The Air Force Academy says it'll be closing the North Gate indefinitely beginning Thursday.

March 23

El Paso County Public Health announced its fourth COVID-19 related death on Monday. The patient was a man in his 80s. The health department then later clarified the patient was actually from Teller County, and updated the number of deaths in El Paso County to three as of March 24.

Denver's mayor announced a new "stay at home" order on Monday that is set to go into place on Tuesday at 5 p.m. Click here to hear his announcement.

Teller County announced its first confirmed cases of coronavirus. Fremont County, which was also sitting at zero confirmed cases Monday morning, announced that afternoon that a woman in the county had tested positive. Because the announcement came late in the afternoon, the case is not reflected on the state's case summary yet. It is expected to included in the 4 p.m. Tuesday update.

March 22

There are six confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in Colorado. Half of the deaths are in El Paso County.

Statewide, the highest number of cases are in the 40-49 age group, which has 20 percent of the state's cases. Thirty to 39-year-olds have the next highest percentage of cases at 17 percent, followed by those in the 50-59 age group at 16 percent.

Those under 19 make up the smallest group of cases at 4 percent (3 percent of cases in the 10-19 age group and 1 percent in the 0-9 age group). There are currently five children under 9 with confirmed coronavirus cases.

Those over 80 make up 5 percent of the state's confirmed cases.

A civilian health care worker at Evans Army Community Hospital tested positive for COVID-19, making her the second positive case on Fort Carson. Read more here.

An El Paso County deputy also tested positive for the virus, the sheriff's office said.

Gov. Polis issued an executive order Sunday calling on non-essential businesses to cut on-site employees by half. If working from home is not possible, he encourages businesses to stagger work schedules to reduce the physical proximity of people working. The order goes into effect Tuesday.

Businesses deemed critical, which he described as "health care operations, critical infrastructure, critical manufacturing, critical retail, critical services, news media, financial institutions, providers of necessities to the economically disadvantaged, construction, defense, public safety vendors to the public sector in critical services, and critical government functions" are exempt from the order but encouraged to cut down on-site workers where possible. More can be read here.

Polis did not issue an official shelter-in-place order but is encouraging Coloradans to limit time out of the home. Ideas suggested was cutting down on how often you go grocery shopping and engaging in outdoor activity less frequently or earlier in the day. Avoiding the more popular trails and instead using ones that few others use is also a good option.

March 21

A third death was reported in El Paso County Saturday, bringing the number of total deaths statewide to five.

The deceased has been identified as a man in his 70s. It's unknown how he got it and if he had any pre-existing conditions. People over 70 and especially over 80 are at a higher risk of death from COVID-19 than other age groups.

With three deaths, more than half of the deaths in Colorado from the coronavirus have occurred in El Paso County.

A Colorado National Guard soldier became Fort Carson's first positive case of coronavirus, the post announced Saturday. The soldier is in his 30s and does not currently require hospitalization. He's being kept in isolation at the National Guard's 186th Regional Training Institute. Read more here.

King Soopers announced they were in need of new employees to help with the increased business during the pandemic. A hiring event was planned for the 23rd and 24th; details can be found here.

March 20

UCHealth implemented a no-visitors policy in an effort to keep those potentially infected out of the hospital.

Until further notice, visitors will not be allowed inside any of the hospitals in the UCHealth family. An exception will be made for the following: maternity, NICU, pediatric and end-of-life care,

The hospital says outpatient clinic patients will be allowed to have one person with them if needed for support.

Connect for Colorado, the state's health insurance market, is offering a two-week enrollment period to enable the uninsured to purchase insurance. That window started March 20 and extends through April 3. More information can be found Click here for more information.

March 19

A new public health order went out on Thursday from the governor's office.

In it, non-essential personal services are to be closed throughout the state. Non-essential personal services include hair or nail salons, spas, or tattoo or massage parlors. Click here for more on the public health order. The order is in place through April 30.

Another major development from Thursday, six people tested positive for COVID-19 at one senior living facility. Click here for more on that story.

The fourth death tied to coronavirus in the state of Colorado was announced on Thursday by the Otero County Health Department for a resident from Crowley County. She was an elderly woman with underlying health conditions who was being treated at Parkview in Pueblo.

The El Paso County Health Department also confirmed a second death in the county from coronavirus. According to spokesperson Michelle Hewitt, the patient was a man in his 60s who had been in contact with the previous patient who had died, a woman in her 80s. The health department would not confirm the relationship between the two.

Hewitt told 11 News she wanted to stress to the public that the vast majority of people who contract the virus will recover and that most cases are mild. But because there are some people including the elderly and people with prior health issues that are at a higher risk of complications with the virus, it's important for members of the public to practice good hygiene and stay home when sick.

March 18

Colorado's governor signed an executive order on Wednesday suspending in-person learning in public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17. He also issued a public health order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Click here to read more on the executive order.

With local businesses taking a major hit following the announcement all Colorado dine-in areas, gyms, theaters and casinos need be closed for 30 days. The city of Colorado Springs set up a website to support local businesses.

Click here to visit the website. The website, Support the Springs, was announced on Wednesday. The move comes as states across the country work to overcome the coronavirus outbreak.

March 17

The second death tied to COVID-19 was reported in Colorado on Tuesday. The patient was a man in his 70s and the case was out of Weld County. The first reported death was for a woman in her 80s in El Paso County who had underlying health conditions.

The state also announced a new resource for the public on COVID-19 in Colorado. Click here for frequently asked questions and information. Click here for more data on cases in Colorado.

Call CO HELP at 1-877-462-2911 with questions or concerns in the state of Colorado.

Updates March 12-16

On Monday, the Colorado governor announced the temporary closure of all dine-in areas of restaurants and bars across the state. That included the closure of all casinos, gyms and theaters. The closures started on Tuesday and will last for at least 30 days. The option for delivery and takeout is still available at many restaurants.

Tests that show up negative that were done by private companies may not be included in the number of total tests administered. The governor added he believes there are thousands of untested cases across Colorado, based on information from epidemiologists.

If any employees are impacted by the closures, they can apply for unemployment benefits by clicking here.

In addition, the order does not apply to grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, food pantries, room service in hotels, health care facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, juvenile justice facilities, crisis shelters or similar institutions, airport concessionaires, and any emergency facilities necessary for the response to these events.

Possible enforcement actions include fines or the possibility of filing an action in court. Click here to read the full order by the governor.

QUICK LINKS TO CREDIBLE SOURCES:
-Click here for the El Paso County Public Health COVID-19 website

-Click here for the CDPHE COVID-19 website. The website includes a lot of answers to Frequently Asked Questions from across the state.

-Click here for the CDC COVID-10 website

A female in her 80s living in El Paso County, was the first reported death from COVID-19 in Colorado. The woman who passed reportedly had underlying health conditions. She was being treated at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.

“While we were expecting this day, it doesn't make it any less difficult to hear and share this news. As a state we are in mourning and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the Coloradan we lost,” said Governor Jared Polis following the woman's death.

“We care deeply about our older Coloradans and people who have chronic diseases,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “This is an all-hands-on-deck effort to slow the spread and support people during these trying times. We know Coloradans will do whatever it takes to help protect those at risk of getting very sick.”

“We offer our deepest, heartfelt condolences to the family and are saddened by this news,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health Director. “We have a dedicated team of experts working around the clock to protect the health and safety of our community. We are doing everything we can to prevent more loss of lives. We know all of El Paso County, and Colorado, will join us.”

Click here for a list of major closures, including schools, tied to coronavirus and weather. The list will be updated. All Pikes Peak area school district schools are closed from March 16 to the 27. You are encouraged to check your district or school's website for the latest information and updates.

The mayor of Colorado Springs addressed the city on Thursday.

"Folks there is no reason to panic," Mayor John Suthers stated.

The governor declared a state of emergency in Colorado in order to help better contain the spread of the virus earlier in the month. The World Health Organization declared that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on March 13.

WHAT DOES STATE OF EMERGENCY MEAN?
- Directs Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to engage in emergency rulemaking to ensure workers in food handling, hospitality, child care, health care, and education can get paid sick leave to miss work if they exhibit flu-like symptoms and have to miss work awaiting testing results for COVID-19.

- For workers who test positive and lack access to paid leave, the Governor is directing CDLE to identify additional supports and wage replacement such as access to unemployment insurance. These steps are especially important for those who work with vulnerable populations like older Coloradans and those with underlying health issues. When those workers lack access to paid sick leave, it poses a great risk to our ability to protect the public.

- Directs DPA to engage in emergency rulemaking regarding state employees. The administration wants to ensure that state functions continue to run smoothly. For employees who may be put either in quarantine or isolation and can work from home, they should do so. If these workers fall ill and cannot perform their duties, they will be able to use paid leave, and the state will be flexible with that paid leave. For impacted employees who cannot work remotely, such as correctional officers, assisted living staff, etc., the administration is working to ensure paid leave options for those who are ill to ensure that those workers can continue to put food on the table while protecting public health.

- Directs the Department of Revenue to temporarily allow Coloradans over the age of 65 - a vulnerable population - to extend their driver's licenses online to avoid having to congregate at DMVs at this time.

-Starting March 11, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment will be opening a drive-up lab at their facility in Lowry to test anyone who has a note from their doctor stating that they meet the criteria for testing. You must still have a doctor’s order to get tested at the new drive-up lab. That facility is located at 8100 E Lowry Blvd, Denver, CO 80230.

Should you get tested for coronavirus?
The state health department recommends anyone exhibiting symptoms should go to a medical provider, like a clinic or hospital, ONLY AFTER, calling the provider. If appropriate, the provider will give them instructions on where to go for care and testing.

We are no longer providing additional information on patient-specific cases because the number of cases in Colorado is now more than 100.

The state health department continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and public health agencies across the state and is committed to protecting the health and safety of Coloradans. Health officials advise Coloradans to stay informed, take simple disease prevention measures, and prepare (Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment):

· Practice good hygiene. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer; use your elbow or sleeve to cover coughs and sneezes

· Stay home if you’re sick; keep your children home if they are sick. The illness can last for many days so make preparations now to work from home if possible.

· We advise Coloradans to always be prepared for an emergency-- like a large snowstorm-- and have a plan for your family. Make sure to have 72 hours of key supplies on hand like medications, infant formula, diapers, pet food, etc. FEMA guidance for pre-pandemic COVID-19 preparedness is available on Ready.gov.

· Stay informed with reliable, up-to-date information. People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019, can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911

Click here for more on coverage from across the country.

CENTURA HEALTH PROVIDED "MYTHS" ON THE VIRUS:

Myth 1: Saline, garlic and sesame oil can prevent coronavirus infection
There is "no evidence" that these products can ward off coronavirus (COVID-19) and there is no known preventive treatment for COVID-19. World Health Organization (WHO) notes that while researchers, including those in the United States, are pursuing possible vaccines against coronavirus, no vaccine is currently available.

Right now, the best methods of prevention, according to CDC, are to avoid close contact with sick individuals, wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, clean and disinfect hard surfaces, and limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Myth 2: Spraying your body down with alcohol or chlorine, or swallowing bleach, can kill the new coronavirus.
Another myth that's been gaining traction is that dousing oneself in alcohol or chlorine can kill the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that while there is evidence that chemical disinfectants, such as those containing bleach or chlorine, can kill coronavirus on surfaces, the products will not ward off the virus when used on human skin. What's more, WHO warns that using those chemicals on your skin can be "harmful."

Myth 3: The new coronavirus is man-made.
CDC states that coronavirus (COVID-19), like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, can be traced back to bats, and many of the first patients in Wuhan had a link to a large seafood and live animal market. However, researchers have yet to identify the exact animal that led to the first human case. Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Myth 4: Pets can become infected with and spread the new coronavirus.
While researchers believe that coronavirus (COVID-19) originated in animals, animals are not intimately associated with the spread of this disease. Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus on to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owners. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the World Organisation for Animal Health have issued advisories saying there is no evidence that companion animals can spread the virus.

However, both CDC and WHO caution that you should continue to wash your hands after contact with pets or animals to prevent the general spread of bacteria. CDC also notes that, if you are infected with coronavirus, you should avoid contact with pets as you would other humans, as an extra precaution.

Myth 5: The new coronavirus is 'the most dangerous virus' and 'a death sentence'.
The fifth myth we'll address here is that the new coronavirus (COVID-19) is "the most dangerous virus," and that contracting the virus amounts to "a death sentence."
Experts don't yet have a clear picture of how deadly COVID-19 is when compared with other viruses. That said, research suggests the global mortality rate for COVID-19 currently is around 3.4% - which makes the virus a more severe illness than the flu, but doesn't spread as efficiently.

Myth 6: Coronavirus can spread from products, letters or packages from China.
People receiving packages from China or purchasing products from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.