City officials: Denver’s COVID-19 cases are starting to level off — but please stay at home

Mayor Hancock said the city’s stay-at-home order will still be in effect until April 30.
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Mayor Michael Hancock speaks during a rally on the City and County Building Steps in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, that will go before the U.S. Supreme Court in a few short days. Nov. 8, 2019. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

On Monday, the city's public health director said the number of COVID-19 cases is starting to level off in Denver, but there are no immediate plans to lift the city's stay-at-home order before its April 30 expiration date.

At a press conference with Mayor Michael Hancock and other city staffers, Bob McDonald said the city has 1,358 cases and about 60 deaths.

While Hancock said the city's stay-at-home order will be in place until April 30, he's left open the possibility of changing it. He said he would consider lifting the city's order only after reviewing the state's data on cases. The state's stay-at-home order will expire on April 26.

For the past three weeks, the city has seen a leveling off in the number of cases, McDonald said. There was a spike in cases on April 9, but he said the city is looking at a three-day average due to delays in reporting.

McDonald said the city hasn't yet seen the full benefits of the stay-at-home order, which has been in place since March 24. He added that hospitals in the city are not at capacity.

He credited the leveling off to "aggressive" social distancing efforts, while Hancock credits it to people following the order.

"I am optimistically cautious about that, but I will tell you that when I look at other curves of other municipalities and many others that are struggling with the same thing, to be this far into it, this many weeks into battling this virus ... I am very excited and very hopeful about that," McDonald said.

However both McDonald and Hancock cautioned that this is not the time to pull back.

"The key for us now is that we do see some daylight," Hancock said. "This is almost like a marathon. By no means are we done."

Recent data released by Denver Public Health, which showed COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting African Americans in the city, which Hancock addressed at length. He said he has advised his siblings to stop visiting his mother, who has underlying health conditions and has been self-isolating in her apartment for weeks.

Hancock said he's asked the city's public health and environment to conduct an analysis of racial disparities for COVID-19 cases.

Chief Housing Officer Britta Fisher said Catholic Charities, the Delores Project and the Gathering Place are partnering with the city to create an emergency shelter for women at the Denver Coliseum. The city last week opened a similar shelter, for men, at the National Western Complex.

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