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A worker at a coronavirus drive-up testing site in Montrose. (Handout)

The count of Colorado deaths linked to the new coronavirus hit 193 on Wednesday, including a 21-year-old college student, as Gov. Jared Polis warned that the worst of the disease is still ahead.

“There are more victims ahead of us than there are behind us,” he told reporters at a news conference earlier in the day. “We know that there are many more losses ahead.”

Cody Lyster, a student at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, died of complications related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“When not on the club baseball field, Cody was pursuing a degree in criminal justice,” CMU President Tim Foster wrote in a letter to the university’s community. “This pursuit was a path following in his father’s footsteps. … The fact that Cody did not contract the virus on campus is a painful reminder that even as students remain at home, and engage in remote learning, that certain risks remain for all people of all ages.”

David Ludlam, a spokesman for CMU, said Lyster was a Colorado resident. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports he was 21, making him the youngest person with a confirmed case of coronavirus to die of the disease in Colorado so far.

“While older Coloradans are most at risk, this virus can take a deadly turn for people of all ages,” Polis said in a written statement. “That’s why we need to stay at home except when absolutely necessary.”

The new fatalities include the state’s first death in Delta County. Denver County is leading the state with 33 coronavirus-related fatalities.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


The deaths per county are:

  • Denver – 33
  • El Paso County – 30
  • Weld County – 30
  • Jefferson County – 23
  • Arapahoe County – 19
  • Adams County – 14
  • Larimer County – 8
  • Douglas County — 8
  • Eagle County – 5
  • Montrose County — 3
  • Boulder County – 3
  • Pueblo County – 2
  • Pitkin County – 2
  • Chaffee County – 2
  • Broomfield County – 2
  • Teller County – 1
  • Elbert County – 1
  • Out of state – 1
  • Montezuma County – 1
  • Gunnison County – 1
  • Garfield County – 1
  • Crowley County – 1
  • Delta County — 1
  • Unknown – 1

There are more than 5,600 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Colorado. Of those, 1,162 are hospitalized. About 30,000 people have been tested.

Outbreaks of the virus have been reported in 48 long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes and senior care centers. Dozens of residents from those facilities have died from complications of the virus, The Colorado Sun has learned.

Polis said the coming week will be an important measure of how Colorado will fare going forward with the virus. “The next week of data is going to be absolutely critical.”

The governor is hopeful the statistics will show his efforts to limit Coloradans’ movement — including a stay-at-home order now in effect until April 26 — have worked to slow the disease’s spread.

Polis spoke to reporters at the governor’s mansion in Denver instead of the state’s emergency operations center because someone who works at the latter facility has tested positive for the virus. The governor said temperature screening at the emergency operations center alerted the person that they were ill before they felt unwell.

Also on Wednesday the Colorado Department of Corrections reported the first coronavirus case among one of its prisoners. The inmate was in isolation at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex after arriving from Denver’s City Jail on March 26.

“This inmate had been in quarantine since arriving at the prison and did not enter the general population or go out into the facility,” prisons officials said in a written statement. “The inmate was quarantined with one cellmate who will continue to be monitored by CDOC medical staff.”

Last week an inmate at Denver’s downtown jail tested positive for COVID-19.

Updated at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 9, 2020: This story has been updated to correct an error in the list of coronavirus-related deaths by county. Montrose County has three such fatalities and there is one coronavirus-related death of someone whose home county is unknown.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....