Headlines September 30, 2020
Boulder County Health Warns of Possible Stricter COVID-19 Orders
Boulder County is at greater risk of having to move to more restrictive COVID-19 rules.
The Public Health Department announced yesterday that the they are seeing an increase in new coronavirus cases among all age groups and warned that Safer-at-Home level 3 restrictions may be imposed.
The Daily Camera reports the county is in the “red” zone for new cases, with more than 350 per 100,000 people, and a positivity testing rate in the “yellow” zone, with between 5% and 10%.
In a news release Boulder County Health director Jeff Zayach said that, although they have seen a downward trend in the number of new cases among 18-22-year-olds over the last week, they are seeing increases in cases in all other age groups. He added that the downward trend in the younger age group is a good indication that the strategies they’ve implemented are starting to work.
CU Boulder has switched to fully remote learning and last week the county ordered a halt to all gatherings for college-age residents except for groups of two.
Zayach said it is critically important for each and every individual in the community to socially distance, wear face masks, limit gatherings, and stay home when sick.
BVSD K-2 Kids Return to In-Person Learning
Meanwhile, many Boulder Valley kindergartners returned to in person school yesterday for a traditional first-day after five weeks of online learning.
The Daily Camera reports that K-2 students now can attend in person four days a week. Students in intensive special education programs in grades 3-12 can now attend 2 days a week.
The Boulder district is now looking to bring other grades back, if supported by health data and logistically possible. The plan is for grades three to five to attend in-person classes four days a week, while middle and high school students would attend one day a week.
And in the Denver school district, kindergartners and some first graders – who chose to go back to in person learning – returned to school for the first time since spring.
Leaders Concerned about Lower Enrollment
While some kids returned to classrooms, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis pleaded with parents yesterday to enroll their children in school.
He said that districts have seen declines in the number of kids signed up for classes during the coronavirus crisis, especially among younger grades. The Colorado Sun reports Polis fears some parents are trying to home school their kids without proper planning and curriculum.
Thursday is the traditional day students are counted which helps determine how much state funding each district gets but the count can include a five day window on either side of October 1st.
JBS Denies COVID-19 Claims of Workers and Families
A Greeley meatpacking plant has denied the claims of workers who got sick with COVID-19, and also those of the families of workers who died.
In denying them workers’ compensation, Reuters reports that JBS, the world’s largest meatpacker, said the employee’s infections were not work-related.
At least three Greeley JBS employees who died were refused benefits, as were the claims of employees who survived the virus and filed to get help with medical bills or lost wages.
The meatpacking industry has suffered severe coronavirus outbreaks, in part because production-line employees often work side-by-side for long shifts.
JBS acknowledged rejecting claims but declined to say how often. It called the denials consistent with the law, without elaborating.
Federal Judge Denies Challenge to Gov.’s COVID-19 Order
Yesterday a federal judge refused to exempt a religious organization from Gov. Polis’ public health orders prohibiting large gatherings during the pandemic. The Denver Post reports that an organization representing Andrew Wommack Ministries sued Polis on Monday, ahead of a planned conference scheduled to start next week and expected to draw more than 600 attendees.
The lawsuit challenged Polis’ 175-person cap on religious gatherings during the pandemic as unconstitutional; however, Judge Christine Arguello declined to do so, keeping the governor’s order in place.