In The News

Top 5 COVID-19 Online Training Courses for Nurses from Nurse.Org

April 7, 2020

Nurses all around the country are being cross-trained to work in higher acuity or critical care patient areas as fast as possible to maximize efforts against COVID-19.  But as nurses step out of their comfort zones, there have been concerns that many nurses feel unprepared. 

Here are online training resources, listed in no particular order, to help prepare nurses to provide appropriate care for COVID-19 patients - including those being cross-trained into new specialties such as critical care, as well as how to protect yourself as a frontline clinician.

1. Free COVID-19 Training Course, IntentlyCare

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, IntentlyCare, a workforce management solution for post-acute facilities, launched a free COVID-19 training certification program.

Chris Caufield, RN, NP-C, and founder of IntentlyCare, explained that his initial goal was to help protect nursing facilities, where residents are particularly vulnerable.

"When COVID-19 first hit the US, there were stories of nurses having to take care of patients without proper training or best practices to follow. We had already started designing our own COVID-19 nursing training course to support our IntentlyCare nurses, but we felt like its reach could go much further."

One of the biggest challenges is that skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes have limited resources compared to more prominent hospitals, according to Caufield.  For starters, they don't have negative air pressure rooms that hospitals use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They must rely on alternative isolation precautions in facilities with sick patients.  

“In a little over two weeks since the release of this course, we have had over 37,000 nursing professionals complete the certification course and over 310 healthcare facilities sign up to register their internal staff.”

2. Back To Basics: Caring For The Critically Ill,  Nicole Kupchik Consulting Inc.

Nicole Kupchik is a Critical Care Nurse Specialist, online course creator, nurse educator, and a consultant for critical care training and quality improvement programs in the US.

As Seattle was hit with COVID-19 cases last month, Nicole stated that she was “bombarded" with messages from  ED, PACU, low-acuity ICU, and telemetry nurses in the area. They were concerned that once the COVID-10 surge arrived at their facilities, the expectation was they would have to go into the ICU and be a part of a "team nursing model" to care for critical COVID-19 patients.  

To help quickly educate nurses, Nicole recorded a 6 part series called Back To The Basics:  Caring For The Critically Ill. The video series includes:

  • Intubation Basics
  • Basic Ventilator Settings
  • Lung Protective Ventilation for ARDS
  • Parameters We Measure in ARDS
  • Prone Positioning & Rescue Strategies in ARDS
  • Arterial Line Basics 

Nicole also created a Proning For Severe ARDS video about proning awake, non-intubated patients. 

You can find all of Nicole's courses on her website here.

  • The mechanical ventilator course is marked down to $49 (from $159)
  • All online courses are 40% off
  • Since many nurses are needed to cover cardiac areas, the Cardiac Boot Camp course is discounted
  • All online courses are accredited and have CEs

For more information, you can connect Nicole on FacebookInstagram, or YouTube. 

3. Pulmonary, ARD, and Ventilator Resources,  American Association Of Critical Care Nurses

The Pulmonary, ARDS, and Ventilator Resources is a free online course available 24/7 featuring the latest information nurses need to provide care for patients with COVID-19.  

Nurses can become "immersed in real-world ICU scenarios, while interactive elements encourage the development of safe and effective practices." There are 4 modules the course is divided into:

  • Analyzing ABGs and managing patients' oxygen delivery
  • Caring for patients with acute respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Administering care for patients requiring endotracheal intubation or invasive mechanical ventilation
  • Managing patients on mechanical ventilation

4. Breakthrough ICU, Fresh RN

Kati Kleiber, MSN, RN, CCRN, is a nurse educator and creator of FreshRN, a website aimed at "growing new nurses." Kati is the creator of Breakthrough ICU, a 6-week online course specifically crafted for brand new ICU nurses who "want to get ahead of the game."

On her website, Kleiber states that she can help nurses "navigate the unknown with an unapologetic thirst for growth." Also, she has several resources on her website to help nurses prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kleiber is offering a temporary 20% discount pricing on all FreshRN courses during the COVID-19 crisis.  Here are some of the available courses that make help care for COVID-19 patients.

5. ANA COVID-19 Webinar Series

The American Nurses Association is offering FREE COVID-19 training for nurses titled Be Confident Protecting Yourself and Providing the Best Care to Your Patients during this COVID-19 Pandemic.

The ANA website states that "Nurses and health care workers face ongoing challenges with the supply and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during times of supply chain shortage, patient surge, and evolving evidence on COVID-19.”

  • ANA partnered with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) to create a free, on-demand webinar, which includes the following information:
  • Current epidemiology of COVID-19 including modes of transmission
  • How to implement critical infection control standards to minimize spread and maintain healthcare worker protection
  • Best practice recommendations for optimal protection while maximizing a limited supply of PPE 
  • Review of the ANA COVID-19 website that provides critical information and links to keep you up to date, participate in legislative advocacy and share your personal story with ANA

COVID-19 is expected to peak soon in many cities across the US, hospitals and medical professionals are scrambling to prepare for an influx of COVID-19 patients and these resources will help. 

 

Governor Polis COVID-19 Update April 6, 2020

Topline Update

This evening, the Governor addressed Coloradans and below are some of the key points from his address that I wanted to provide to you as an update. You can view the full speech here and read the Executive Order here. 

As of today we have 5,172 cases, 150 deaths, and 994 hospitalizations out of 26,875 completed tests. We are thinking of these families and communities during these trying times.

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

UPDATE - Stay at Home Order Extended to April 26th

This evening the Governor announced that our state’s stay at home order is now planned to end April 26th, which is two additional weeks beyond the current order and several days ahead of the national goal. Governor Polis said tonight that if there is any way to end it sooner, then we will. And likewise if the numbers of the deceased continue to increase, then it could go longer, which is why it is so critical that Coloradans stay at home. 

The reason for the April 26th date is because data and science tells us that at this point  it is our best chance to avoid a catastrophic loss and loss of life for thousands of our friends, our neighbors, our family members. This extension of the stay-at-home order will not only help us slow the spread of the virus, it will give us crucial time to build out our health care capacity so it can handle the coming wave of hospitalizations that this virus will cause.

The Governor mentioned tonight  that we are fighting an invisible enemy: a virus that is both deadly and extremely contagious. The fewer social interactions we have with one another, the fewer opportunities there are for people to spread the virus to others, and the fewer infections we will have in our state. We are also in a race against the clock. Because if too many people get seriously ill at once from this virus, our health care system simply will not have the capacity to handle the flood of sick patients.

Without an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for our health care workers, without an adequate supply of ventilators for the critically ill, and without the testing supplies that we need for a mass testing and an effective containment program, our only option is to severely limit the number of person-to-person interactions by extending the statewide stay-at-home order. We are doing everything we can to ensure that our health care workers have the personal protective equipment they need to keep themselves safe, i.e., gowns, masks, gloves, and face shields. And we are building out our hospital bed capacity to make sure that we have enough space to handle the projected influx of severely sick patients, and we’re doing everything we can to procure more life-saving ventilators.

The Governor also said tonight that the economic consequences will be even more severe and more prolonged if we have a catastrophic breach of our healthcare system. The longer this lasts, the fewer jobs there will be to return to, and the more difficult the recovery will be. By acting swiftly and boldly now we are saving lives and preventing even further economic damage down the road.

Thankfully, thanks to our actions, a silver lining is beginning to emerge. The data is telling us these tough measures are starting to work. At the beginning of this crisis, the number of positive cases were doubling every 1 and a half days. Today, the number of positive cases are doubling every six days, which means the spread of the virus is beginning to slow. This is a remarkable achievement by the people of this state. Thank you for taking this seriously. You are helping to turn the tide against this virus.

This is not the time to abandon what has been working, it is actually quite the opposite. We need to keep up this good work for a while longer so we can return to a level of normalcy in our economy and our society. Most importantly, we need to stay at home, and not go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you go out, stay six feet away from others and wear a cloth facial covering or a mask when you must leave home.

We are using our creativity, our innovative, scrappy and independent spirit to procure tests so that we can have widespread testing and containment like Korea and Taiwan, who have been able to successfully return to a level of normalcy by testing, quarantining, and isolating individuals instead of quarantining an entire society. Recovery from both the virus and the economic devastation is possible, and we will get there.

But all of these efforts will be in vain, and many many lives will be lost, if we fail to do our crucial patriotic duty and stay home. By staying home, wearing a mask when you go out, practicing proper physical distancing and proper hygiene you are saving lives. 

Additional Extensions and Executive Orders

Today the Governor has released additional Executive Orders to extend previouslyeld orders, as well as take additional actions to further address COVID-19: 

  • Authorized the implementation of a Crisis Standards of Care Plan, as recommended by the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee (GEERC). View here.

  • Rescinded Executive Order D 2020 013 requiring all Colorado employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50%. This is being rescinded because it is superseded by the stay at home Executive Order. Read the Executive Order here

  • Extended D2020 012, which limits evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections, as well as expedites unemployment insurance claims processing. Read the Executive Order here. 

  • Issued a one-month extension for filing and remitting state and state-administered local sales tax. Read the Executive Order here

  • Extended the temporary suspension of elective and non-essential surgeries and procedures, the closure of downhill ski areas, the suspension of in-person requirements for notarizations, and the issuance of marriage licenses when county clerk and recorder offices are closed. 

  • Extended the suspension of other regulatory requirements, including clarifications to alcohol delivery and takeout, requirements related to taxicab carriers, in-person processes for background checks, and driver’s license and identification card renewal.

We greatly appreciate your helping to share information during this crisis.

 

Governor Polis Updates April 4, 2020 COVID-19 

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

Topline Update

As of today we have 4,174 cases, 105 deaths, and 806 hospitalizations out of 22,071 completed tests. We are thinking of these families and communities during these trying times.

Yesterday the Governor provided updates on relief for businesses and workers and explained what resources are available and how to access them, testing capacity and containment strategies and other new efforts to help stop the spread. You can view the slides from his presentation here.

How you can help with economic recovery support

The better job we do at staying home and limiting physical interactions to contain the virus in Colorado, the sooner we can return to something resembling economic normalcy. Conversely, failure to stay at home will only extend the economic pain, and it could mean many thousands of fatalities in our state like our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends.

As Coloradans have made personal sacrifices to prioritize the public health and safety of residents across our state, we know that these actions have a real impact on our normal economic activities. Businesses and employees that were part of Colorado’s thriving economy only weeks ago are now sidelined as we do everything we can to deal with the crisis at hand.

State-Level Tax Extensions

At the state level, we are doing what we can to provide as much relief as possible while we weather the storm. We have been working hard to make sure families and businesses that are not getting paid are given more time to file and pay their taxes.

The Governor announced several days ago that we are waiving all penalties and interest so that people and businesses can extend the payment date for their state income tax from April 15 to July 15, which will help leave over money pockets of families and businesses across the state for three months to help weather this crisis.

Yesterday the Governor announced that we are offering a one-time 30 day extension for businesses to file and remit their state sales tax.  This also includes local sales taxes for 272 state-collected local taxing jurisdictions. This means, state sales taxes that are owed on April 20 do not need to be paid until May 20 with no penalty or interest.

Recently, the Governor signed an executive order that allows local governments to waive penalties and interest for property tax payments through April 20, but announced that he is extending it to May 1, which is the full 30 days that he is allowed under an executive order. And for property owners that are worried about paying their property tax in April, you can now split your property tax payment into two installments, so you can pay half in April and half in June without penalties or interest. Taxpayers who want to split their payment should reach out to their county treasurer. 

We’re doing everything we can to help business and make sure our communities are taken care of. Yesterday, the Governor also signed an executive order that extends several deadlines for businesses that have to submit valuation reports to their county assessors. This will ease the administrative burden on thousands of businesses across our state. Read the Executive Orderhere.

Federal Stimulus

We know that families and businesses are hurting as the COVID pandemic is disrupting economic activity in our state. The $2 trillion dollar stimulus package, otherwise known as the CARES Act, which was signed last Friday, offers economic assistance for the millions of Coloradans who have felt the economic pain of this national health crisis and now feel the strain of financial obligations.

The measure offers $1,200 in one-time direct cash assistance; over 90% of Colorado families will qualify. It also provides $500 per child 16 and under.

  • An individual that makes less than $75,000 will receive the full $1,200 benefit.

  • For every $100 in income an individual makes over $75,000, $5 is deducted from the total benefit.

  • As a result, an individual making over $99,000 would not qualify for this benefit.

  • For couples filing jointly, the numbers double. If your household makes less than $150,000, you will receive $2,400 total. 

  • Just like an individual filer, the benefit is reduced by $5 for each $100 you make over $150,000.

  • As a result, if your household makes more than $198,000, you would not qualify for this benefit.

  • The $500 per child is provided regardless of income.

And YES, you qualify even if you don’t normally have to file taxes, like Social Security recipients, those who receive SSI Disability, and railroad retirees do not have to file to get benefits. Please visit IRS.gov/coronavirus for more information.

Regular Unemployment Insurance

The federal legislation also includes extra unemployment benefits -- $600 per week for four months -- to help those who have lost their jobs or lost wages get through this tough time. This week was the largest spike in unemployment insurance claims in American history with 6.6 million Americans filing.

We want to thank you for your patience, and I’m glad that the issues that we were facing the last few weeks with the online filing system have been mostly ironed out. We are continuing to encourage anyone who may qualify for traditional unemployment insurance to file online at ColoradoUI.gov:

By traditional, we mean you are a W2 type employee who was laid off or lost hours due to no fault of your own, including COVID-19. You could be eligible for 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits from the state of Colorado. Unemployment insurance in Colorado provides around 55% of an individual's average weekly pay, up to a maximum $618 per week. In addition to those benefits from the state, you could be eligible for the $600 extra per month for the first four months of unemployment thanks to the federal stimulus package.

Furthermore, once you have exhausted your 26 weeks of state unemployment, you would be eligible for another three months of unemployment paid for by the federal legislation. If you have already filed and qualified, then you will not need to file again to get the additional $600 per week from the federal bill added to your weekly benefit. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

But we know that not everyone is a traditional W2 employee; there are many folks in the gig economy who have lost work and wages due to this crisis. For non-W2 workers, CDLE is working to stand up a separate system to accept these non-traditional workers (independent contractors, gig workers, etc.) that would only qualify under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which is a new program passed by the federal government in the CARES Act.

Please keep a close eye on coloradoUI.gov for the most up to date information about the department’s implementation of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

How to file for Unemployment

If you are applying, be sure to take extra care when going through the application and save your work frequently; it is hard to make changes after you file. 

  • Step 1: Collect any income related information.

  • Step 2: Go to coloradoUI.gov and click on the “Workers” button.

  • Step 3: Review your claim before you hit submit.

    • After you file, you should receive a PIN in the mail to launch your claimant account and finish out the process, including requesting payments. 

    • You’ll be paid within two weeks.

  • Step 4: Register with your local Workforce Center

Paycheck Protection Program

Last week, the Governor announced that he secured access to the Small Business Association’s low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Colorado businesses in all 64 counties.

Additionally, the federal stimulus act has set aside $349 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, independent contractors, the self-employed, and nonprofits. This new program offers direct assistance in the form of forgivable loans for two-and-a-half months of your average monthly payroll expense. The idea is that instead of laying people off and having them go on unemployment, we can help small businesses make payroll and stay in business so folks can keep getting a paycheck from their employer.

Small businesses and sole proprietors can now apply for forgivable loans. Next Friday April 10th, independent contractors can begin applying for these forgivable loans. Visit OEDIT’s website at choosecolorado.com. Visit the SBA’s website at sba.gov/ppp for more information.

Current Testing Status and Capacity

We have made significant progress in terms of testing. About a month ago, we could only process 160 tests per day. Today we are processing about 2000 tests per day.

Colorado has the capacity, the technology, and the equipment to run over 10,000 tests per day, but we simply do not have enough testing supplies such as swabs or enough reagent. Hospital systems have been going above and beyond. Denver Health, UCHealth, National Jewish, Children’s Hospital have developed their own tests and are performing hundreds of tests per day. And local Public Health Agencies in Mesa, Larimer, and El Paso counties are standing up testing sites. We are grateful that everyone is pitching in because this is a situation where we see the state government, local government, and the private sector working together to fill the need. But if we want to have the sort of mass testing and containment program that will allow us to return to a level of economic normalcy, we are going to need more supplies, and the federal government and private suppliers need to step up.

One of our Wildly Important Goals is rapidly working to get supplies to ramp up testing. The second Wildly Important Goal is to expand our testing capacity. Right now we’re able to process 2,000 tests per day. In two weeks, the Governor would like to see us processing 3,500 tests per day. By the end of April, he wants us processing at least 5,000 daily.

We can only do this with an adequate supply of tests (i.e., swabs and reagent). When we are able to get this mass testing regime in place, that is one of the boxes that we need to check before we can return to economic normalcy. But as much as we are experiencing a healthcare crisis brought to us by a novel virus we are experiencing a crisis in the supply chain. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to procure more tests.

And we are asking that folks make or purchase homemade masks instead of using medical masks like N95s, or medical surgical masks, which must be reserved for medical workers. They are at a much higher risk, and we need to keep them safe and healthy so they can tend to those who fall ill. N95s for health care workers; Cloth face coverings for everyone else.

The Colorado Mask Project

If you’ve been around in grocery stores recently, you may have noticed that more people are wearing cloth face coverings or home-made masks out in public. Making that part of our routines will be an important step in reducing the spread of the virus so we can save lives and return to a functioning economy.

We are asking all Coloradans to wear non-medical, cloth face coverings when they go out of the house for Necessary Activities like grocery shopping.At this point, a cloth face covering or a home-made mask should be part of our distancing and personal hygiene practices. 

Wearing something over your nose and mouth can provide an additional layer of protection for those who must go out. The spread of the virus occurs primarily through droplets from an infected individual’s mouth or nose, which fabrics can filter. Data also suggests up to 1 in 4 people infected with COVID are asymptomatic and may be spreading infected respiratory droplets without knowing they are infected. Furthermore, patients may be asymptomatic for days before they start showing symptoms. By wearing a non-medical mask, you are protecting others even if you don’t know you’re sick. When face coverings are combined with frequent hand washing and appropriate physical distancing, they help reduce the transmission of infections. Wearing face coverings can also send a message to others not wearing a face covering that we need to change our behavior to combat this virus. Finally, face coverings are a good way to protect yourself and help you remember not to touch your face which is another key step in preventing infection. 

Thankfully we all have a lot more time on our hands these days. To facilitate this effort, we need everyone’s help. We have partnered with the grassroots group ColoradoMaskProject.com, where you can find patterns for making your own masks and ideas for how you can help others who can’t make their own, get one. For this to be successful we all need to help out. Call your neighbors and see who needs a mask, have a virtual mask making party with your extended family or friend group or book club. It’s human nature to go along with a trend. As more residents start wearing masks, others will follow, and every person wearing a face covering will have an impact on reducing viral spread. So let’s make it cool!

 

 

Governor Polis Updates April 2, 2020 COVID-19 Including PPE Supplies Tracker

Quick Links to Stay Up to Date

Topline Update

We have 3,342 cases and 620 hospitalizations out of 18,645 completed tests. Tragically, we have had 80 deaths to date. We are thinking of these families and communities during these difficult times.

Yesterday, the Governor provided an overview of what the state must do to to return to economic and societal normalcy:

  • Reduce the rate of infections to a level where each Coloradan is infecting fewer than one other Coloradan. At this point, the virus begins to die out.

  • Build out capacity in our medical system so that we can treat everyone who gets sick and save lives.

  • Resolve supply chain issues so that we can establish a mass testing and containment program so that we can quarantine and isolate on a case-by-case basis instead of these onerous distancing measures that amount to quarantining our entire society

The Governor also provided a critical update on the state’s ability to obtain Personal Protective Equipment as well as an overview of how we are building out our medical capacity to meet the coming surge of cases. A link to the presentation that the Governor presented during yesterday’s press conference can be found here 

Personal Protective Equipment Update

Not only are we facing a health care crisis, we are also facing a supply chain crisis that has hampered our abilities to effectively respond to the health care needs. 

The Governor submitted an official request to Vice President Pence requesting what we need from the Strategic National Stockpile in terms of equipment.

Here is what we have gotten from the federal government so far

  • N95 Masks: We have gotten 220k out of 2M requested

  • Surgical masks: We have gotten 517k out of 4.6M requested

  • Face Shields: We have gotten 350k out of 880k requested

  • Surgical Gowns: 100k out of 720k requested

  • Gloves: 504k out of 4.3M requested

  • Ventilators: 0 out of 10k requested

One of the biggest challenges is that this precious personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators are in demand across the country and around the world, so everyone is competing against each other to get it, and what we received from the national stockpile won’t get us past a few days of need. 

We’ve asked every relevant sector of the economy to do an inventory, and offer up to the health care system any PPE or DME (Durable Medical Equipment) they have to spare. 

We are working to build entirely new supplier relationships with global companies to acquire PPE.

We’re also working with manufacturers within Colorado and all over the world who are repurposing their operations to make these needed supplies.To date, we have placed a series of orders with various suppliers, and will continue to place orders as we identify reputable manufacturers both in Colorado and across the globe.

 

Once we physically obtain this equipment, we need to test it to make sure that it is safe for doctors, nurses and patients alike -- we thank our partners at CU and CSU for helping us test this equipment so we can get it in the hands of our medical providers.

At this point of this crisis, PPE equals lives. Ventilators equals lives. It’s the difference between our healthcare workers being able to treat the sick, and falling ill themselves.

And we will continue to work with anyone and everyone who can provide this equipment until Colorado’s needs are met.

Medical Surge Capacity

Healthcare institutions across the state have been preparing for COVID-19 for many months and have taken steps to increase internal capacity to prepare for a surge of patients.

The role of the state is to:

  • Support healthcare systems with coordinated access to private sector resources to acquire PPE, ventilators, and other equipment

  • Coordinate the recruitment and utilization of volunteer medical professionals to provide surge capacity within the healthcare system

  • Provide information on the status of the healthcare system

  • Create systems that overlay the normal healthcare system to provide coordination and response when the healthcare system becomes overwhelmed

Based on epidemiological models, and depending on the effectiveness of social distancing measures like school closures and stay-at-home orders, Colorado can expect to see a surge of patients that will overwhelm hospitals between April and July 2020.  Remember -- we are trying to delay the peak so it is not as severe, and so it buys us time to build more capacity, get more PPE, and save lives.

And based on clinical evidence from areas previously hit with the COVID-19 outbreaks, patients who are severely ill will require intensive care and will be ventilator dependent for an average of 11 to 20 days.

Just like in normal life, some cases are more critical than others. So we have developed a four-tier system by which we will classify patients.

And we have matched the appropriate class of patient with the type of facility that will best meet their needs.

This chart details our four-tier plan, and when we expect to have the additional capacity built.



We want to thank our health care partners and other partners including the Army Corps of Engineers for helping to build out this capacity.

In addition to the bed construction, we are also working to establish a patient transport unit so that patients can be transported to the appropriate facility as their symptoms progress.

We believe that this plan -- along with the drastic physical distancing measures that we are all taking -- will allow us to deal with the surge of patients without overwhelming our public health capacity here in Colorado.

Stay in Primary Residence

We have gotten reports of an alarming increase in people who own a second home in the mountains traveling there. As a reminder, this is not a vacation. The mountain communities have a much higher rate of infection than the rest of the state and anyone traveling there now is putting themselves and others at additional risk.

Furthermore, from the beginning, we have been extremely concerned about overwhelming the public health systems in our isolated mountain communities that do not have the capacity to handle a surge in positive cases. We cannot afford to put extra pressure on our small mountain health care systems, as EMS, Law Enforcement, hospitals are already strained, and grocery stores are already struggling to keep up with demand just from local residents, much less an influx of second homeowners who think this is an opportunity for a vacation.

Please stay in your primary residence. It is much more likely that your primary residence has better access to necessities and health care resources than our mountain communities that are having a much more difficult time dealing with this crisis.

Evictions and Utility Bill Notices 

During this unprecedented time, Coloradans should not have stress over rent, mortgage payments, or utility bills adding to the other anxieties caused by COVID-19. That’s why on March 20, 2020, Governor Jared Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 012, ordering Colorado state agencies to work with property owners, mortgage companies, and utilities providers to limit evictions, foreclosures, and public utility disconnections while Colorado is in a state of emergency. 

Furthermore, the federal government has passed legislation that will give individuals making under $99,000 per year up to $1,200 in cash assistance, including $500 for each dependent.

Finally, Colorado is encouraging those who have lost wages or lost their job because of this crisis to apply for unemployment insurance at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/unemployment

If you know you won’t be able to pay for these vital needs, or are concerned about your ability to pay in the coming months, please review the steps that have been taken by both government and private industries, to see how they may impact you. You can also find resources for assistance with payment of rent, mortgage, and utility bills by visiting www.211colorado.org or by dialing 211 on a phone.

Our teams at the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and at the Department of Regulatory Affairs (DORA) have pulled together a document that shares resources with consumers to help with these issues during this time of crisis.

Extension of School Closure E.O. to April 30

Yesterday, the Governor announced the extension of the closure of all schools through April 30. This is consistent with the President’s views that restrictions on in-person gatherings should go on for at least the month of April. The practice of announcing executive orders for 30 days is something that typically happens during times of crises. We expect that many districts will make the decision to stay closed for the remainder of the school year; for now the Governor believes that the best statewide policy is to remain closed until April 30th.

Across the state, superintendents, school leaders, and educators are stepping up to build remote learning plans so students don’t lose out on valuable instruction because of this crisis. Here in Colorado, our educators are innovative and strong. And we must continue to prioritize creativity and do the best we can in this virtual environment. 

We know that the extension of closures will be tough news for parents, including those who are juggling working from home and helping their children with schoolwork. But this is the best way to keep everyone safe, prevent the spread of coronavirus, and prevent unnecessary death. So we want to thank all the parents, educators, and students out there for adapting to this situation as best as we can.

UPDATE: Special Enrollment Period Extended to April 30th

Our special enrollment period for the state’s health care exchange has been extended to April 30th. If you are or someone you know is currently uninsured or if you have temporarily lost your job due to COVID-19, please take advantage of this special enrollment period to get affordable health coverage. Visit connectforhealthco.com and enroll today.

DACA

The Governor is calling on the federal government to extend protections for DREAMers through 2020. We need to be 100% focused on the crisis at hand, and many DACA recipients work in critical services including healthcare and law enforcement. We should not be expending resources to throw people out of the country who were brought here as children through no choice of their own, and many of whom know no other home than America.

Census Day

Finally, I want to salute everyone who is doing their civic duty -- their patriotic duty -- by staying at home and practicing physical distancing. But there is another civic duty that arrived in your mailbox in the last month: your Census form.

The Census is so much more than a population count. It is a critical process meant to ensure that the people of our state and their communities get access to the resources that they need to thrive, both now and for the future. An accurate count will mean billions of dollars over the next 10 years in federal funds for our communities to help with a variety of necessary projects, from building roads to providing healthcare.

This pandemic shows exactly how crucial it is that we have the representation and funding we need to care for Coloradans. Across the United States, there is approximately $880 billion in federal funding that is allocated based on Census counts. And for Coloradans, that equates to roughly $13 billion annually or an estimated $2,300 per person. The census ensures that Coloradans are fairly represented in Congress. Colorado’s population has grown steadily since the last Census and with an accurate count we might be up for an 8th Congressional seat. That means more folks advocating for our fair share from Washington.

The bottom line is that we want those dollars here in Colorado, improving the quality of life for all of our residents. Go to Census.gov for more information, and if you have lost your form, call 1-800-772-7851 to request a new one.

 

Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay Orders

April 1, 2020

Division of Labor Standards and Statistics in the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment is notifying you that on Thursday, March 26, 2020, the Division adopted amendments to the Colorado Health Emergency Leave with Pay ("Colorado HELP") rules, following Governor Polis’ announcement on March 10, declaring a state of emergency in response to the increases coronavirus COVID-19 cases in Colorado.

These changes to the temporary or emergency rules, originally adopted and effective March 11, 2020, as amended on March 26, 2020, modify Rule 3.1 to add coverage for:

(A) an additional industry category, “retail establishments that sell groceries”; and

(B) not just those “being tested” for COVID-19 (as in the original rules), but also those “under     instructions from a health care provider to quarantine or isolate due to a risk of having COVID-19.”

 These rules will remain in effect for the longer of (a) 30 days after adoption, or (b) the duration of the State of Disaster Emergency declared by the Governor, up to a maximum of 120 days after the adoption of these temporary rules.

For more information, visit our webpage dedicated to this rule (the content of which has already been updated to reflect the March 26th changes), which links the Colorado HELP Rules, and the Division’s Statement of Basis, Purpose, Authority, and Findings supporting and explaining the rules. The page also lists email and phone contact information for any further questions you may have.

Thank you, 

Michael Primo
Director of Operations
Division of Labor Standards and Statistics
 
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