According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there have been 29,901 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 60 of the state’s 64 counties.

As of June 17, 5,308 people have been hospitalized; 1,417 deaths have been reported due to COVID-19 and 1,638 deaths among people who had COVID-19 but whose deaths may have been attributed to another cause.

In El Paso County as of June 18, there have been 2,046 cases, 293 hospitalizations and 115 deaths, according to El Paso County Public Health.

In the face of a spike in COVID-19 cases in Boulder, Gov. Jared Polis reiterated today the importance of continuing precautions against spreading the disease.

More than 108 Boulder County residents have tested positive in the past week.

Public Health and CU officials attributed the jump in cases to large graduation parties, attendance at protests and out-of-state visitors who did not follow guidelines about wearing masks and keeping at least a 6-foot distance from others.

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Polis said a large number of the new cases were among graduating CU students.

He said he understood the students’ desire to celebrate but was concerned that many of them work in retail stores and restaurants.

“So those precautions that people are taking at stores, at restaurants are so critical at preventing that 108 students from spreading the virus to hundreds or thousands of Boulder residents who are customers or fellow workers in those stores and restaurants,” Polis said. “That’s why when you go into stores, when you go into a restaurant, the employees should be wearing masks.”

Polis said Colorado is still going in the right direction in containing the spread of the virus — overall, the state has seen a downward trend in new cases for 12 of the past 14 days.

But Polis said Arizona and other neighboring states are going the other way.

“We’re the only state in the Pacific or Mountain time zone that’s seen a steady decline in cases,” he said. “We’re worried that Colorado will join the trend in other states to our west” and that a reversal of the state’s current trend would result in additional deaths.

“This is crunch time, folks,” he said. “We need to make sure that for the next few weeks and months, we wear our masks in public when we’re out with others, especially with all the new freedoms we enjoy and with all the businesses that are opening and of course, really making a major effort to have social distancing where possible … and hanging out in smaller groups.

“One thing we know for sure: If we go back to living the way we did in January and December, where we took life for granted, the virus will have exponential growth,” he said.

As counties open up, “we need to double down on what’s working,” Polis said.

“If caring about the lives of your friends and loved ones isn’t enough, if you enjoy the freedom that we have, if you care about the economic recovery of Colorado, please wear a mask whenever you can. … This is still about personal responsibility, doing the right thing.”

Polis announced a new website, healthathome.colorado.gov, that encourages the use of telehealth visits with health care professionals.

Through the state Office of eHealth Innovation, Colorado has become a leader in telehealth technology, he said.

The new site, available in English and Spanish, helps people understand virtual care and provides links to a free hotline for COVID-19 screening and telehealth service for Coloradans who do not have health insurance.

In El Paso County, those seeking birth and death records will soon be able to meet in person with El Paso County Vital Records staff by appointment only.

Appointments must be made online; a new scheduling feature is available on the department’s website.

Customers are asked to wear a mask and comply with physical distancing requirements (maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and those outside their household when possible).

The department requested that those who are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19 stay home.

Whenever possible, only the applicant should come to the appointment. Customers are asked to complete paperwork in advance and bring a valid photo ID.

Customers may also need to bring supporting documentation for proof of relationship or proof of direct and tangible interest.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment has paid out about $2.5 billion in unemployment benefits since March 29.

That amount includes $880.6 million in regular unemployment benefits, $277.5 million in benefits paid through the federal unemployment assistance program for gig workers and the self-employed, and $1.32 billion in pandemic unemployment compensation claims, which include an extra $600 a week in benefits.

The department said today that 10,270 initial regular unemployment claims and 17,945 pandemic unemployment assistance claims were filed the week ending June 13.

Over the past 13 weeks, a total of 456,763 regular unemployment initial claims have been filed and a grand total of 568,721 claims, including federal PUA benefits.

For the week ending May 30, initial claims by industry included:

  • Accommodations and food services: 1,245 (13.0 percent)
  • Health care and social services: 1,001 (10.4 percent)
  • Manufacturing: 994 (10.4 percent)
  • Retail trade: 912 (9.5 percent)
  • Administrative, support, waste management and remediation services: 843 (8.8 percent)
  • Education services: 744 (7.8 percent)
  • Transportation and warehousing: 603 (6.3 percent)
  • Construction: 506 (5.3 percent)
  • Professional and technical Services: 569 (4.9 percent)
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation: 392 (4.1 percent)

Initial claims are those claims filed to establish benefit eligibility. Initial claims are considered a reliable leading indicator of economic activity.

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