Post Premium: Our best stories for the week of May 25-31

Data from the state health department this week reinforced the theory that coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths peaked in Colorado last month, and health officials are hopeful the worst is behind us, although an increase in new infections is expected as the state opens back up and testing increases significantly. And the pandemic continues to sicken Coloradans and claim lives.

That’s why this inside account of The Medical Center of Aurora’s COVID-19 unit is so important. The hospital granted The Denver Post rare access to the part of its intensive care unit where highly infectious coronavirus patients are treated, allowing reporter Jessica Seaman and photographer AAron Ontiveroz to spend several hours observing treatment and talking to doctors, nurses and other medical staff.

What they saw — captured in today’s gripping story and powerful photos — is the quiet daily struggle to keep coronavirus patients breathing, as illustrated by the intubation they witnessed. That procedure — the insertion of breathing tubes down a patient’s throat so that a ventilator can pump air into their lungs — has become one of the defining scenes of the pandemic. And it’s one from which the patient, put into a medically induced coma, may never recover.

We hope these photos and this story will help remind Coloradans that while the worst hopefully has passed, COVID-19 is still a life-or-death fight for these brave medical staffers on the front lines, doing everything they can to keep these patients breathing.

— Matt Sebastian, senior editor/enterprise

Inside a Colorado hospital’s COVID-19 unit, a quiet fight to keep coronavirus patients breathing

Ongoing coverage of George Floyd protests in Denver

Thousands of people gathered in Denver on Saturday in response to the death of George Floyd as Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced an 8 a.m. to 5 a.m. curfew across the city until Monday morning. The Denver Post will continue to report on this fluid and ongoing story. For the latest, please visit denverpost.com.

Here are some of our key stories from the past few days:

  • Denver leaders defend use of chemicals, gas during clashes with protesters
  • Voices from the George Floyd protest in Denver
  • Denver police searching for driver who struck protester during George Floyd rally
  • Denver Post photographer struck twice by pepper balls during George Floyd protest

Estes Park, struggling amid pandemic, welcomes Rocky Mountain National Park reopening

Rocky Mountain National Park is slowly reopening, but Estes Park businesses continue to grapple with the broadside economic hit the coronavirus delivered to a tourist-dependent town. Both local and state health orders were handed down that closed many shops, restaurants and accommodations throughout Colorado.

Ben Ferguson, who owns the downtown Hyk mountain apparel shop with his wife, said he expects a 60% drop in business this summer as people gradually get used to traveling and being around others again. Read more from John Aguilar…

RELATED: Rocky Mountain National Park open on weekend first time in 10 weeks

RELATED: Rocky Mountain National Park will require online reservations as they partially reopen

Colorado Democrats’ gun reform agenda is latest COVID casualty

Colorado House Rep. Tom Sullivan had a gun bill drafted and ready to introduce before the 2020 legislative session even started in January. But now, his legislation requiring lost or stolen firearms to be reported is headed toward the chopping block, along with nearly 300 other bills claimed by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more from Saja Hindi…

On reopening day, one top Denver restaurant closes for good

As restaurants begin to reopen for dine-in service, one thing will soon become apparent: which dining establishments aren’t coming back at all. Congress Park’s 3-year-old [email protected] is the latest to announce its closure following the 10-week coronavirus shutdown in Denver. Read more from Josie Sexton…

RELATED: Denver restaurants that have closed permanently due to coronavirus — The Know

An emotional day at Arapahoe Basin as the ski area reopens after coronavirus shutdown — The Know

Sarah May got a little teary-eyed on her first trip up the Black Mountain Express chairlift Wednesday as skiers and riders attended reopening day at Arapahoe Basin following a 10-week shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

May and her boyfriend have ridden their snowboards in the backcountry a few times since Gov. Jared Polis ordered ski areas closed on March 15, but this was different. This felt like a step toward normalcy. Read more from John Meyer…

+ Court upholds Colorado Governor Polis’ power to change ballot initiative rules

+ Summer camp chaos: Organizers try to get plans in place for June 1 openings

+ Suncor reports chemical sheen on Sand Creek, breach of containment area at refinery north of Denver

+ Rockies’ Scott Oberg and David Dahl confident in their safety despite compromised immune systems

+ With guidelines still murky, Colorado bars, breweries start reopening along with restaurants — The Know

See more great photos like this on The Denver Post’s Instagram account.


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