Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We have received a lot of questions from you all about COVID-19 and the criminal justice system. Thankfully, our friends at the ACLU have answers! I have asked Denise Maes to give a brief update about what they have been up to. Let us know if you have an idea or concern that you would like us to include in the newsletter here. Leslie
As the Public Policy Director for the
ACLU of Colorado
, I spend significant time thinking about the 35,000 Coloradans incarcerated in our jails and prisons. Right now, they are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
Colorado's criminal justice leaders recently sent a letter to Governor Polis, the State Court Administrator, the Directors of Corrections and Public Safety and the Chief Justice of our courts, with the following statement:
"It's not a question of IF the COVID-19 virus will take hold in Colorado's jails and prisons; its a matter of WHEN."
Public health experts recognize that there is a heightened risk of infection for people involved in the legal system. This is not just an issue about the safety of inmates, but rather the safety of jail personnel, contractors, public defenders and probation officers - all of which visit the jails daily.
There are now 4 confirmed cases in the Public Defenders Office and reports of several inmates quarantined in various jails across the state.
Today, the Governor issued guidance to counties, municipalities, local law enforcement agencies and detention centers, emphasizing the need to incarcerate fewer people. The guidance asks law enforcement to focus on issuing a summons or a citation rather than arrest and when arrest is needed, to prioritize serious and violent offenses over non-violent offenses.
Jails are a revolving door to and from the community, creating the possibility of a super highway of transmission from the jail to free Coloradans. We have heard numerous times that the CDC emphasizes social distancing, which means staying six feet apart and avoiding a gathering of more than ten individuals. Jails certainly cannot adhere to these critical guidelines. Inmates literally sleep, eat and use the toilet within a few feet of one another.
The Governor's guidance is a good first step. We need to see more from our courts and prosecutors in an effort to decrease the jail population and in-person court appearances. Let's keep in mind that over half of our jail population statewide and in Denver is innocent. They are pretrial and are there because they couldn't afford to buy their freedom.
Public Policy Director
ACLU of Colorado
with reliable, up-to-date information on COVID19. For general questions, call (303) 389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911. For written answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin (普通话), and more, email COHELP@RMPDC.org.
Denver's Stay-at-Home Order
To slow the spread of COVID-19, Mayor Hancock has issued a mandatory
for Denver, which is now in effect.
for the full text, including exemptions to the restrictions summarized below. Find frequently asked questions here.
- Individuals in Denver are ordered to stay at home. Individuals experiencing homelessness are exempt.
- Individuals may leave for outdoor activities as long as they are maintaining social distancing. Parks will stay open for individual activities only. Playgrounds will close.
- Businesses in Denver are required to close for in-person work.
- Public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a home are prohibited.
Several of the exemptions are listed below.
This not a comprehensive list.
Review the full list
- Obtaining medication, visiting a health care professional, or other activities related to health and safety
- Caring for a family member or pet in another household
- Shopping for food and picking up take-out from a restaurant. DPS students and families are allowed to pick up meals at DPS food distribution sites.
- Individual outdoor activities like walking, running, biking, and hiking
Businesses which can remain open
- Health care operations, pharmacies and dispensaries (medical & recreational)
- Grocery stores, farmers markets, convenience stores, pet supply stores and liquor stores. Restaurants can still deliver food and offer takeout meals
- Gas stations and auto repair shops, banks, laundromats, child care facilities
- Rideshare operators (uber, lyft, etc)
Find frequently asked questions
COVID-19 By The
192 new cases were reported on Tuesday for a total of 912 cases and 11 deaths. [
All 50 states have confirmed cases, with the largest hotspots in New York (25,665 cases), New Jersey (3,675 cases), and California (2,484 cases). [
China, South Korea and Singapore have been reporting less than 100 new cases per day, while 3 countries reported more than 4,500 new cases on Monday, including Italy (4,789 new cases), Spain (6,368 new cases), and the United States (10,168 new cases) [
Governor Polis has recently taken the following executive actions:
For Individuals and Businesses in Denver:
Additional COVID-19 Updates from the Governor
Gov. Polis launched the state's Innovation Response Team (IRT) to ramp up a mass testing program for COVID-19 and develop alternatives for critical medical supplies in short supply.
Suspension of elective and nonessential surgeries and medical procedures, to free up medical devices and personal protective equipment for medical staff.
Hair and nail salons, spas, tattoo and massage parlors are CLOSED until April 30th.
Signed on March 6th: the
Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, a $8.3 billion
- $3 billion+ for development of vaccines and therapeutics;
- $9.3 million in funds for Colorado to support state and local health agencies
- Support for small businesses -- allows for an estimated $7 billion in low-interest loans to affected small businesses.
Signed on March 18th: the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes:
- Free coronavirus testing for those who needs a test, including uninsured;
- Paid emergency leave; 14 days of paid sick leave and up to three months of paid family and medical leave;
- Enhanced Unemployment Insurance, a first step that will extend protections to furloughed workers;
- Strengthened food security initiatives, including SNAP, student meals, seniors nutrition and food banks;
- Clear protections for frontline workers, including health care workers and other workers who are in contact with those who have been exposed or are responsible for cleaning at-risk places;
- Increased federal funds for Medicaid, as states face increased costs.
For more information on the federal response to COVID-19, click
Connect for Health CO Open!
Resources for Seniors
Senior shopping hours.
Stores are dedicating hours for seniors,
Show our seniors some love and support.
7 ways to boost your loved one's morale here (provided by AARP).
for seniors. The Denver Regional Mobility and Access Council has transportation options for older adults and individuals with disabilities.
Older Adult Resource Directory. An extensive directory of contact information, including benefits, emergency services, meals and healthcare.
Food pantry schedule. A listing of over 30 Denver food pantries.
Denver Regional Council of Governments Aging and Disability Resources. A collection of resources including guides to in-home healthcare, transportation, and legal assistance.
Paying Rent & Utilities
has announced that they will not terminate service because of inability to pay and will waive ate fees.
ot terminate service to customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by COVID-19.
aive late fees caused by circumstances related to COVID-19.
Small Businesses & Workers
If you have been laid off due to a business closure related to COVID-19, are experiencing wage reductions or are working fewer hours, you can file a claim here.
Mental Health Colorado
has updated its
with useful information for those who are struggling with mental health or substance use challenges.
Colorado Crisis Services. If you are more seriously concerned about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, call 1-844-493-8255 or text "TALK" to 38255.
Denver Therapy Match.
Search for Denver providers
For additional reduced rate
Psychology Today. Search for statewide providers here.
Food Assistance for Students
The locations are:
- Abraham Lincoln High School, 2285 S Federal Blvd
- Valverde Elementary School, 2030 W Alameda Ave
- Joe Shoemaker School, 3333 S Havana St.
- Place Bridge Academy, 7125 Cherry Creek N Dr.
- Cowell Elementary School, 4540 W 10th Ave
- North High School, 2960 Speer Blvd
- STRIVE Prep - Sunnyside, 4735 N Pecos St
- Bruce Randolph School, 3955 Steele St
- Denver Center for International Studies - Baker, 574 W 6th Ave
- Manual High School, 1700 E 28th Ave
- The Evie Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St
- The Montbello Campus, 5000 Crown Blvd
In addition, Food for Thought Denver
will be providing Powersacks at all twelve locations, every Friday. Each Powersack contains enough food for a family of four for two days. They are available for anyone in need, not just DPS students.
Hunger Free Colorado
has set up a Food Resource Hotline for anyone who needs help locating food. Call 855-855-4626, M - F (8 am - 4:30 pm) to find school meals, food pantries, and SNAP and WIC enrollment.
Students outside Denver can find nearby locations to pick up meals
Childcare and Resources for Parents
If you are a health care professional or work in public safety, and need childcare, you may be eligible to receive it through the
Emergency Childcare Collaborative
How to talk to your child about COVID-19.
Personal Protective Equipment and other medical supplies.
Location: 10377 E Geddes Ave Ste. 200, Centennial, CO 80112
Hours: 7 AM - 5 PM, Monday - Friday. If you cannot drop off during those hours, you can leave supplies by the West door of the building.
Blood donors needed. Donor eligibility here
. Make an appointment here.
College Students and Higher Education
Do not call 911
if you are seeking general medical advice or a COVID-19 test.
For people with mild symptoms:
Early on, symptoms
may feel like a cold, including cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness.
If you have mild symptoms including a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or suspect that you were exposed, please stay home and self-isolate.
Use over-the-counter medication to treat mild symptoms. M
ost individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications.
For people with more serious symptoms,
especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath:
Continue to self-isolate.
Call your health care provider or a nurseline if your illness becomes more severe, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. Your provider may recommend you be tested for COVID-19.
For people with severe symptoms:
(severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)
Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your symptoms. These could include symptoms
of heart attack or stroke; d
ifficulty breathing; c
ifficulty speaking, walking, or seeing; s
evere allergic reactions; c
onfusion, dizziness, or disorientation; or s
udden, severe pain.
Paid for by Leslie Herod for Colorado. Contributions are limited to $400 every 2 year election cycle from individuals, sole proprietorships, LLPs, LLCs and state PACS and $5,350 from small donor committees. Contributions from corporations, labor unions, foreign governments and non-US citizens are prohibited. Contributions are not tax deductible. Donations from registered Colorado lobbyists or principals of lobbyists are prohibited during the legislative session running from January 8th to May 6th, 2020 and any email or donation page from this campaign is not soliciting a contribution from lobbyists or principals of lobbyists.