Coronavirus timeline: Looking back on the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado

As the novel coronavirus has spread throughout Colorado it altered the life of every resident; from their jobs, to changes in childcare, to what restaurants they could order food from. The Denver Post continues to devote substantial resources to provide up to date coverage of the pandemic. This timeline walks through some of the major events related to the COVID-19 outbreak as reflected in The Post’s stories.

March 5

  • Gov. Jared Polis announces state’s first confirmed cases

March 6

  • Denver reports first confirmed cases

March 10

  • Gov. Jared Polis declares a state of emergency to give officials “access to resources and more legal flexibility to takes steps now to protect the most vulnerable and better contain the outbreak.”
  • The number of cases rises to 17 as hospitals say they will take extra precautions
  • Denver cancels St. Patrick’s Day parade

March 11

  • The World Health Organization declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic
  • CU, CSU and DU all announce they are moving classes online to try and limit the spread of coronavirus
  • One of the nation’s first drive-thru testing facilities opens in Colorado
  • Polis urges at-risk individuals avoid the high country as public health officials announce first evidence of “community spread”
  • The NBA becomes the first professional sports league to suspend play

March 12

  • Denver Public Schools announces a 3-week closure, the first large Colorado school district to do so
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock declares a state of emergency
  • Following the NBA announcement, other professional sports leagues suspend or postpone play
  • NCAA championships are canceled

March 13

  • Colorado reports first confirmed coronavirus-related death
  • Denver Mayor Michael Hancock orders city venues to close their doors and cancel events until April 12
  • President Trump declares the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency and the U.S. House passed an aid package, with U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, being the only Colorado representative voting against it

March 14

  • The Colorado General Assembly shuts itself down
  • Gov. Jared Polis issues an executive order suspending all downhill skiing operations
  • Public health officials announce restricted visitation to skilled nursing, assisted living and intermediate care facilities to protect health care workers and those most vulnerable

March 15

  • Colorado public health officials warn of “extensive spread” in the high country as the case count climbs to 135

March 16

  • Gov. Jared Polis orders Colorado bars, restaurants closed
  • Most Colorado jury trials postponed until April; some courts close
  • Reports of scams, price gouging in Colorado trickle in as coronavirus anxiety builds
  • Coronavirus could cost Colorado budget $800 million, analysts say

March 17

  • Colorado unemployment filings skyrocket as businesses shutter
  • CU Boulder cancels spring graduation ceremony
  • Resident, worker at Loveland long-term health care facility tests positive for coronavirus

March 18

  • Colorado orders all schools closed from March 23 to April 17
  • San Miguel County becomes first area in Colorado to order residents to shelter in place
  • Polis announces new statewide coronavirus relief fund, calls on feds to assist Coloradans

March 19

  • Gov. Jared Polis suspends all nonessential medical procedures in Colorado, extends restaurant and bar closure to April 30
  • Colorado food pantry supplies diminish as thousands of job losses create influx of need
  • Colorado receives disaster declaration from feds, freeing up loans for small businesses

March 20

  • Gov. Jared Polis orders more financial support for Coloradans and businesses feeling coronavirus’ strain
  • Bolder Boulder moved to Labor Day, combines with another race
  • Colorado restaurants can now deliver alcohol along with to-go food
  • Colorado spends $2.4 million on emergency laptops for state employees who can work at home

March 21

  • Businesses find insurance may not cover closures related to coronavirus
  • Coronavirus’ increased isolation can hit hard for Colorado’s vulnerable older population

March 22

  • An early look at life in Colorado during a pandemic
  • Learning in the age of coronavirus: Colorado kitchen tables become school desks
  • “How am I supposed to live?” Coronavirus leaves Colorado’s working class anxious and afraid
  • Denver houses of worship go online

March 23

  • Denver issues stay-at-home order
  • After panicked crowds swarm Denver liquor stores and dispensaries, mayor reverses order to close both
  • Colorado opens health insurance marketplace due to coronavirus pandemic
  • Denver needs thousands of hotel, dorm rooms for those with unstable housing who get coronavirus
  • Colorado Latinos’ access to coronavirus care, information a concern

March 24

  • After days of error messages, some finally finding success filing claims on Colorado’s unemployment website
  • Grocery stores adding social distancing floor decals, sneeze guards in stores to combat coronavirus

March 25

  • Polis orders statewide stay-at-home order as cases top 1,000
  • FAQ about Colorado’s stay-at-home order
  • From airlines to hotels, layoff notices starting to pour in from across Colorado
  • Immigration attorneys required to wear masks, gloves to represent clients in Aurora detention center court

March 26

  • Denver hospitals haven’t seen coronavirus surge yet, but they’re preparing
  • Colorado unveils new coronavirus testing program for health care workers, first responders
  • Colorado child care providers struggle to keep up amid coronavirus crisis
  • U.S. unemployment claims soar to 3.3 million — quadrupling record from 1982 — and a new analysis finds that Colorado could lose more than 250,000 jobs by summer
  • Truck drivers, tasked with fueling the supply chain amid coronavirus crisis, try to keep things rolling
  • Denver chefs putting in wartime work during coronavirus shutdown
  • Human-triggered avalanches rise as more people go into backcountry to exercise; Colorado State Patrol targets illegal parking in Loveland, Berthoud passes
  • Forest Service closes campgrounds, picnic sites and many trailheads across Colorado
  • Denver jazz legend Freddy Rodriguez, Sr. dies from coronavirus complications
  • Gov. Polis signs two new executive orders aimed at coronavirus relief

March 27

  • Tens of thousands of lives could be saved if Coloradans stay home during coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Polis says
  • President Trump signs $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus after swift congressional votes and Colorado’s Ken Buck is among the few to oppose it
  • FAQ about the coronavirus stimulus package
  • Coronavirus hits Denver’s homeless population as 2 test positive
  • Flood gates open on Colorado unemployment claims, on pace for 75K this week, after state speeds up its processing
  • Coronavirus threatens financial health of Colorado’s struggling rural hospitals
  • Colorado Republicans denounce Polis’ statewide stay-home order
  • Roving produce trucks, curbside farm stands and more alternative grocery options
  • Front Range ski areas, Forest Service issue plea for uphill skiers to stay home
  • Arapahoe County deputy tests positive for coronavirus
  • Three Colorado Department of Corrections staffers confirmed for coronavirus

March 28

  • Grocery workers manage crowds and fears as coronavirus outbreak continues
  • Colorado confirms 13 more deaths related to coronavirus as positive cases top 2,000
  • More Colorado hotels lay off workers as coronavirus outbreak forces closures
  • Local public health departments in Colorado eye blood tests amid coronavirus testing shortages
  • Colorado construction industry keeps going amid postponed projects, deliveries because of coronavirus
  • Colorado oil, gas regulators hit pause on new rules because of coronavirus
  • Denver Mattress Co. factory making face masks to protect against coronavirus
  • These nine Colorado nursing homes have coronavirus outbreaks. A 10th has not been identified
  • Most Coloradans are very concerned by the coronavirus outbreak. But young people continue to be less troubled, state survey shows.
  • President Trump approves Colorado’s major disaster declaration

March 29

  • Not Colorado’s first pandemic, what we can learn from the Spanish flu
  • Meet Ross Palmer, a 64-year-old nurse on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in Boulder County
  • How do a first-grade teacher, educator to the deaf and photography instructor make remote learning work?
  • Rent is almost due, and many Coloradans don’t have the money. Some are prepared to strike.
  • Coronavirus teddy bear hunts make social distancing fun — yes, fun — for Front Range families
  • Coronavirus prompts CDOT to suspend bus service between cities across Colorado
  • Denver Trader Joe’s employee tests positive for coronavirus; store closed for cleaning
  • Coronavirus reaches two Southern Ute Indian Tribe staff members in Colorado

March 30

  • Colorado service providers prepare for wave of child abuse, domestic violence cases
  • Colorado’s unemployment rate is poised to double in less than three weeks. Here’s what you need to know.
  • Denver family gives their grandpa hugs and kisses through the window of his memory care facility amid coronavirus pandemic
  • Colorado lawmakers’ return to the Capitol unclear amid pandemic
  • Gov. Jared Polis says restaurant, bar closures have slowed coronavirus’ spread in Colorado
  • Mountains still attracting lots of people despite pleas from governor to stay close to home
  • It’s “very likely” Colorado students will spend rest of school year learning remotely, Polis says
  • Inmate at Denver downtown jail tests positive for coronavirus
  • Ten Denver firefighters test positive for coronavirus
  • TSA screening officer at Denver airport tests positive for coronavirus
  • With customers barred from auto showrooms, Stevinson dealerships cut 336 workers
  • Where to go online for free home workouts, from cardio to yoga

March 31

  • Denver’s stay-at-home order will be extended to April 30 to slow coronavirus
  • Experts say it’s important to understand insurance coverage, liability when working from home
  • Colorado doctors turning to telemedicine as coronavirus concerns keep patients away
  • How one Colorado nursing home is handling a coronavirus infection as outbreaks hit 14 facilities statewide
  • Colorado’s decision to shut down ski resorts over coronavirus seems obvious now. Should it have come sooner?
  • How a bridge tournament led to 4 coronavirus deaths in El Paso County and exposed hundreds to COVID-19
  • How many people have recovered from the coronavirus? Colorado says it can’t yet answer that question.
  • How to help feed unemployed workers, hospital staff, school kids and others in need around Denver
  • Funerals, grieving become private affairs in the era of coronavirus
  • More than 800 Greeley meat packing plant workers call off as coronavirus is confirmed among employees
  • How the governor’s stay-at-home order applies to outdoor recreation
  • Crowded trails force Jeffco Sheriff to step up enforcement of “physical distancing”

April 1

  • Colorado readies guidelines for prioritizing coronavirus patient care in case of hospital overload
  • Coronavirus sends DIA passenger traffic plunging by 90%, prompting closure of north TSA checkpoint
  • Arenas, college dorms and warehouses could take in patients as health system scales up
  • Colorado securing medical supplies for coronavirus surge since feds can’t keep up, Gov. Jared Polis says
  • Taiwan is donating 100,000 medical masks to Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner says
  • Colorado’s biggest jails drop population by a third as sheriffs combat spread of coronavirus
  • Colorado’s coronavirus school closures extended through April 30
  • Is golfing allowed amid Colorado coronavirus stay-at-home orders? Golfers find there’s no uniform answer
  • Colorado business confidence plummets on coronavirus concerns
  • Colorado orders Hobby Lobby to close all stores in state after retailer defied stay-at-home directive
  • Kroger adds “hero bonus” to frontline workers’ pay during coronavirus outbreak
  • Colorado petroleum shares shredded in dreadful quarter for U.S. stocks
  • The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs dismisses 1,411 workers because of pandemic

April 2

  • Denver home caregivers adjust to coronavirus as some are deemed non-essential
  • Some Colorado businesses get an April rent break while many apartment residents face late fees
  • Denver Center for the Performing Arts cuts staff, cancels shows amid coronavirus shutdown
  • U.S. unemployment claims hit record 6.6 million as layoffs mount amid coronavirus
  • Gov. Jared Polis pleads with feds for more ventilators, masks to bolster Colorado’s coronavirus response
  • Police impersonators driven by stress, uncertainty as coronavirus shuts down society, expert say
  • Air Force Academy to graduate seniors in online ceremony
  • Outdoor Retailer cancels summer show in Denver because of coronavirus

April 3

  • Deaths top 100 as COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 800
  • All Coloradans should wear non-medical masks when they leave the house, Gov. Jared Polis says
  • Q&A with Gov. Jared Polis on coronavirus, and how it’s affecting the U.S. Senate race
  • Schools across Denver area will remain closed rest of academic year due to coronavirus
  • RTD to suspend fares, halt downtown shuttle amid coronavirus pandemic
  • Farm-to-table operations now taking an online farm-to-public approach in the age of coronavirus
  • Colorado small businesses able to tap billions in stimulus money for forgivable loans
  • Reduce crew sizes, focus on “truly critical” activities: Colorado updates guidance for construction work during coronavirus pandemic
  • With baseball postponed, Coors Field’s Aramark workers struggle with no financial support from company or Rockies
  • Data don’t lie: Amid coronavirus restrictions, Coloradans are doing a pretty good job of staying home

April 4

  • What we know now: Updates to your coronavirus questions, a month after COVID-19 was confirmed in Colorado
  • Denver isn’t doing enough to protect homeless population from coronavirus, advocates say
  • “Either be in or out”: Feds swooped in on Colorado’s ventilator order, Polis says
  • More “critical” businesses in Colorado weighing whether to let workers go

April 5

  • Five Coloradans on what it’s like to have the coronavirus
  • Colorado officials set guidelines for prioritizing patient care in case of coronavirus surge
  • Short on ventilators, Colorado hospitals prepare for a “worst-case scenario” for coronavirus patients
  • Colorado sees “significant declines” in air pollution as coronavirus ramps down driving, industrial activity
  • What does it mean to believe in a higher power during a pandemic? Coloradans share how their faith helps them cope.

April 6

  • In Colorado’s mountain towns, high altitude presents a unique challenge in treating coronavirus
  • Gov. Polis extends statewide stay-at-home order through April 26 in a televised address, Mayor Hancock extends Denver’s order until April 30
  • Denver preparing to use Colorado Convention Center as a hospital
  • Coronavirus forces some Colorado cities to try virtual democracy
  • Meet the Castle Rock sisters on the front lines of the coronavirus battle
  • Trial for STEM School shooting suspect delayed due to coronavirus

April 7

  • Children’s Hospital Colorado among first to facilitate experimental coronavirus treatment
  • Franchises, trucking groups team up to ensure drivers keeping food on store shelves have places to eat
  • Colorado college seniors reflect on missing their final months of school
  • National model predicts coronavirus pandemic in Colorado has peaked, but state officials say worst is still to come
  • Colorado’s marijuana businesses can remain open during pandemic, but they say they’re still struggling
  • San Miguel County suspends community-wide coronavirus testing after delays in processing samples

This timeline will be updated as frequently as possible, but is not intended to reflect breaking news or developing stories. For the latest on the coronavirus in Colorado, please visit

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