Most Notable Coloradans to Test Positive for COVID-19 So Far

The Denver Broncos' Von Miller, the late El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Hopkins and Colorado Rockies star Charlie Blackmon all contracted COVID-19.
The Denver Broncos' Von Miller, the late El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Hopkins and Colorado Rockies star Charlie Blackmon all contracted COVID-19. Denver Broncos Instagram/El Paso County Sheriffs Office/Colorado Rockies Twitter
Love him or loathe him, President Donald Trump is arguably the most famous person on the planet right now — which makes him, by default, the biggest celebrity to test positive for COVID-19 to date.

Wife Melania Trump has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, too, and so the First Couple has now officially joined over 34 million people worldwide to receive such a diagnosis thus far, including more than one million who died as a result of the virus.

The overall total includes in excess of 71,000 Coloradans who've had COVID-19 during the pandemic's first six months plus; because of medical privacy laws, most of them have never been publicly identified. Some have, though; here's a look at some of the most notable individuals from our state to have contracted the disease:

The Athletes

Sports standouts are the biggest stars in Colorado, and two of the most prominent — Denver Broncos superstar and onetime Super Bowl MVP Von Miller and Colorado Rockies favorite Charlie Blackmon — publicly acknowledged their infections in April and July, respectively. Both have recovered.

Several other COVID-19 cases have been revealed by Denver's major sports franchises. A member of the Denver Nuggets organization tested positive in March, with three more following in June. That same month, Major League Baseball announced that two Rockies in addition to Blackmon also received positive test results, and three members of the Colorado Avalanche were reported to have recovered from the disease in April.

Still, the local pro team most impacted by COVID-19 is the Colorado Rapids, which postponed its October 3 match against the Portland Timbers thanks to a rash of positives involving at least four Rapids players and ten staff members.

The new batch of Rapids cases is expected to return the team to the outbreaks report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which resolved a previous investigation into the disease on September 9. Likewise, another Rockies outbreak was wrapped up on September 8.

Also dubbed CDPHE outbreaks in recent months were the athletic programs at Colorado State University and the University of Northern Colorado, as well as a University of Colorado Boulder training group and the University of Denver gymnastics team. And the general athletics program at Metropolitan State University of Denver was declared an outbreak on September 15; the inquiry remains active.

Politicians and First Responders

In March, state representative Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Commerce City Democrat, revealed her positive test results, as did Colorado House District 7 candidate Terrence “Big T” Hughes, faith leader of the Colorado Poor People's Campaign.

Most law enforcement officers who've contracted COVID-19 remain anonymous, including a Broomfield police officer who tested positive in July. But the CDPHE's updated data contains references to outbreaks past and present for the Colorado Springs Police Department's Sand Creek division, the Delta County Sheriff's Office, the Pueblo Police Department, the City of Englewood Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol. The Arapahoe County District Courthouse was also the site of an outbreak that was subsequently resolved.

The most prominent law enforcement victim of COVID-19 remains El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Hopkins, whose April 2 death from the disease was catalogued as having taken place on duty.

Fire departments haven't escaped the disease, either. An investigation into an outbreak at a South Metro fire and rescue station in Jefferson County has been completed, but inquiries are ongoing for a Westminster fire station and the response team to the Cameron Peak fire.

Front-Line Workers

Grocery store employees have been hard hit by the virus. Resolved outbreaks have been registered at six King Soopers outlets in Denver and Jefferson counties, three City Markets (two in Summit County, one in Eagle County), Mi Pueblo Markets in Aurora and Thornton, a Weld County Food King, a Westminster H Mart, an El Paso County Safeway, a Denver Whole Foods, the Carniceria Leonela in El Paso County and Carniceria Sonora in Montrose County.

At least three King Soopers workers have died from COVID-19.

Dozens upon dozens of restaurants have seen outbreaks of their own. Many have been fast-food establishment, but there are no shortage of sit-down places that have had to deal with the risks involved in feeding Coloradans.

Educators are also at risk, as witnessed by currently active outbreaks at seventeen K-12 schools across the state. And not to be overlooked are the employees at eleven active and fourteen resolved outbreaks at child-care facilities. 

The Losses

As of 4 p.m. on October 1, the number of people who've died directly as a result of COVID-19 in Colorado stands at 1,962, out of 2,054 deaths of people who'd tested positive. All of these people left behind family, friends and loved ones for whom their passing is a painful personal reminder of the toll taken by the virus, which is now being experienced by the President of the United States.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts