Coronavirus updates in Denver from March 26: 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.
7 min. read
Plants on a windowsill at Eric Robert Dallimore’s Congress Park home, March 25, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

6 p.m. Channel 4: Mayor Hancock tests negative for the new coronavirus

In a tweet, Brian Maass, a reporter with CBS4 Denver, said Mayor Michael Hancock was tested and found to be negative for the new coronavirus. The mayor told Maass that he was tested Monday after someone he worked with showed symptoms.

Maass's station will be airing an interview with the mayor at 10 p.m.

3:10 p.m. Stay-at-home means don't go to the mountains

The eagle-eyed staff at The Know found the answer to a question that may have been on the minds of many Denverites in the wake of stay-home orders from their mayor and their governor.

The Know found on Denver's FAQ page that one Q was: "Can I still travel to other towns in Colorado or the mountains for recreation?"

The answer: "No. Denver issued the Stay at Home order in solidarity with our neighboring and mountain communities. Staying at home means staying where you are - not going to neighboring communities or the mountains for recreation where we could further spread COVID-19 and overwhelm limited healthcare systems."

While Gov. Jared Polis said hiking was fine, The Know notes that "stricter restrictions are what apply, so in this particular case, the city and county order trumps the statewide order."

1:50 p.m. Stapleton veterinary hospital donates 600 face masks to hospital, asks for cloth mask donations

Northfield Veterinary Hospital in Stapleton is donating 600 face masks and 50 isolation gowns to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora to help with ongoing COVID-19 care.

Jen Weston, co-owner and manager at the veterinary hospital, said they're also asking people to donate cloth masks, which Weston is swapping for regular face masks to donate to hospitals.

Materials including face masks and isolation gowns donated by Northfield Veterinary Hospital in Stapleton. Photo courtesy of Jen Weston.

Locally and nationwide, there's been a push to create more facemasks amid a shortage. This weekend, people dropped off materials during a collection drive at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver for similar personal protective equipment.

Weston said she had so many masks because she bought ahead anticipating they might face a shortage. But after hearing about shortages in hospitals, she decided to donate the veterinary hospital's supply.

Weston said regulations for vets are far less strict than in hospitals, so vets can use the cloth masks (she said there varying opinions on are whether human hospitals can use them). It's why Weston is asking people to donate cloth masks for veterinary use; she's then contacting area veterinary hospitals to swap donated cloth masks for their regular masks, which she plans to donate to hospitals.

So far, she's reached out to at least seven veterinary hospitals in Denver, Aurora and Lakewood. She's working to donate more masks to Denver Health and Children's Hospital Colorado

Anyone interested in donating cloth masks can reach out to the veterinary hospital at 720 503-9559.

-Esteban L. Hernandez 

12 p.m. LGBTQ outreach to counter isolation

The Center on Colfax is using Facebook to help LGBTQ Coloradans stay connected during the coronavirus outbreak.

The center's physical presence at 1301 East Colfax Ave. in City Park West closed to the public March 13 and remains closed under stay-at-home orders. In a statement Thursday, the center said it was offering some of its services remotely and that its COVID-19 Response Group on Facebook is the first of its virtual support groups that will be rolled out in the next few weeks.

"We understand how the current restrictions designed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus can also leave people feeling very isolated. We hope this group can provide crucial support during this difficult time and bridge the gap until we can all reconnect in person," said The Center's CEO Rex Fuller.

For more information about support groups for transgender community members and older adults, email [email protected]

11:30 a.m. Dogs practice social distancing at Cheesman Park

This actually happened yesterday, but it's too important to keep to myself.

Here's a picture of my dog, Rocky (third from right) with his Wednesday pack. Our neighborhood dog sitter, Felix, takes care of him once a week.

COVID-19 isn't so ruff for everyone.(Felix Merino/K9 Consulting)

Felix is a dog whisperer who I once saw successfully order a pup to grab the leash of another who was running around. So it's no surprise he was able to make these dogs pose regally at Cheesman Park.

While there's no evidence that dogs can get COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization, these good boys and girls are setting a good example when it comes to social distancing (for the most part).

-David Sachs

11 a.m. Virtual support for parents thrust into home-schooling

Parents who are accustomed to using online resources to teach their kids are encouraging others to join their Facebook page for tips and support.

In a statement Thursday, Tillie Elvrum said her Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families was committed to providing "resources for parents who are new to online schooling. It's disorienting and stressful, but as seasoned cyberschool parents, we want to help."

The coronavirus pandemic "is disrupting the daily routines of millions of students, educators and families across Colorado," said Elvrum, who is president of the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families and former president of the National Coalition for Public School Options.

In addition to its Facebook page, the Colorado Coalition of Cyberschool Families has compiled a list of public resources, including lesson plans recently released by Colorado Department of Education.

With schools closed to help stop the spread of coronavirus, Aurora Public Schools nutrition workers distribute meals to students and families from the back of a truck in the parking lot of North Middle School on Wednesday, March 25, 2020. Susana Blanco Reyes hands bags through the window of a waiting vehicle.
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

8:20 a.m. Aurora schools distributes meals from parking lot

School districts across the state are trying to make sure students still get fed, even while they are at home during the COVID-19 outbreak, distributing breakfast, lunch and even dinner.

They include schools in Denver, Aurora, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Pueblo and many other places.

Five Aurora Public Schools workers were distributing meals to families on Wednesday from the parking lot of North Middle School on Montview Avenue. One of them, Kerry Hawley, says it's fulfilling to serve others.

"Yesterday we did 864 meals. I actually was on spring break last week, and I was like, 'I want to come back. I want to come back.' And they were like, 'Come in on Monday.'"

Hawley's crew traveled to three other schools that day, as part of a program that visits 16 schools five days a week.

-Hart van Denburg

8:19 a.m. Wow, yesterday was something

Did being in isolation for nearly two weeks catch up to anyone else? I definitely felt it. Fortunately, a list I made of all the things you can and can't do under the city's stay at home orders made me feel better. Why? Because technically there are more things you can do than cannot.

Also, in case you missed the big news of the day, Gov. Polis issued a stay at home order for Colorado. CPR has all the handy info you need to know here.

-Ana Campbell

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