Coronavirus updates in Denver from March 23: news you can use and slices of life in these weird times

It’s like your Twitter feed right now but with fewer trolls and more news.
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Ryan Turano, owner of Sunny’s in Sunnyside, makes to-go orders on March 21, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

1:30 p.m. "Stay at home" orders coming for Denver, according to Mayor Michael Hancock.

Hancock will be speaking at a press briefing at 2 p.m. today. You can watch the briefing online and check back with us for updates once we learn more about what this means for you.

12:07 p.m. Denver police's emotional support K-9 Sammy wants to remind you to wash your hands.

And also practice social distancing while celebrating National Puppy Day!

11:55 a.m. The Salvation Army is giving its workers raises

The charitable organization said in a release today they are increasing wages for employees working in shelters and those "on the front lines" serving people impacted by COVID-19. The organization has six Corps Community Centers in Metro Denver. People can pick up a food box at these locations between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The boxes can be provided with no-contact.

The organization said they will continue operating their housing and shelter programs. They added that they're taking extra measures to sanitize and keep facilities safe.

"The Salvation Army wants front-line workers to feel appreciated, valued and supported in their efforts to address this crisis," Kristen Baluyot, The Salvation Army Denver Metro Social Services Director, said in a release. "I am incredibly thankful for all that they are doing to carry on and embrace these challenges."

You can call 855-768-7977 to learn more about service options. You can learn more about how you can donate money and materials at

10:45 a.m. Toothbrushes, volunteers, cash and hotel rooms are among the items on a list that business groups compiled to make it easier for businesses to support people experiencing homelessness

The Downtown Denver Partnership and the Business Coalition on Homelessness put out a "call for support" in a weekend email that included a link to a spreadsheet with the list. Tami Door, president and CEO and the Downtown Denver Partnership, said members of the two groups were in frequent contact with homelessness service organizations and would keep the list updated.

"Every single thing matters," Door said. "Everything matters."

The email noted that Mile High United Way had set up web sites to coordinate volunteers and collect funds. Property owners who can offer vacant hotel rooms or apartments were asked to contact Britta Fisher, head of the city's housing department. Fisher is seeking rooms for people experiencing homelessness and others who need to be isolated because of the new coronavirus.

The Downtown Denver Partnership and the Business Coalition on Homelessness identified as drop-off centers for supplies two recreation centers that are open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday: La Alma at 1325 W 11th Ave. in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and Martin Luther King Jr. at 3880 Newport St. in Northeast Park Hill. Supplies also can be dropped from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Peak Thrift at 4890 North Pecos St. in the Chaffee Park neighborhood.

-Donna Bryson 

10:07 a.m. The Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse will be closed for two days after an attorney tested positive for COVID-19

The Denver courthouse will be closed today and Tuesday after an attorney who appeared in multiple courtrooms last week tested positive for COVID-19, Second Judicial District Chief Judge Michael A. Martinez said in a statement on Sunday.

Denver's Lindsey Flanigan Courthouse.

While the courthouse is closed for sanitation, Martinez said district court criminal dockets will be suspended for this week. The court will be working with defense counsel and the district attorney's office to hold virtual courtroom appearance once the criminal dockets resume.

The statement said the attorney is in quarantine with mild symptoms. It added that court staff and others who may have been exposed have been notified and told about proper steps to take.

-Esteban L. Hernandez

7:30 a.m. National Jewish Health Launches COVID-19 Testing and New Acute Respiratory Care Clinic

Last week, Dave reported on Denver Health being the first hospital in the state to offer in-house COVID-19 testing. As of today, National Jewish Health is following suit.

According to a statement, the hospital "has developed a COVID-19 diagnostic test and established an Acute Respiratory Clinic for suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients.

"The National Jewish Health Advanced Diagnostic Laboratories and the organization's Center for Genes, Environment & Health collaborated to design, validate and launch a number of platforms in order to provide more sustainable testing. National Jewish Health began testing over the weekend, focused initially on serving hospitalized patients and frontline health care workers. We plan to be able to expand testing to the broader community in the coming days."

-Ana Campbell

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