Headlines October 14, 2020
Polis Warns the State to Get Virus Transmission Under Control
Yesterday Colorado Governor Jared Polis said that residents need to take immediate action to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. Colorado’s rate of positive tests has risen above five percent.
At a news conference from the governor’s mansion, Polis said that the state has to get the situation under control now, and we have to do better.
On Tuesday, Colorado recorded more than 1,000 new cases, which was preceded on Saturday when the state recorded more than 1,000 for the first time in a single day. The Colorado Sun reports that hospitalizations were 290 yesterday, their highest rate since May.
While the World Health Organization says that a positivity rate above five percent suggests a need for restrictions on people’s movements, Polis didn’t address a question as to whether he’s considering new mandates to slow the spread.
Instead, the governor asked Coloradans to change their behavior to reverse the trend — go out less, put off gatherings, wear masks more frequently and ensure they are washing their hands as often as possible.
The governor said the majority of Colorado’s new cases are in Denver and Adams counties, and he praised Boulder County for reversing its trajectory of rising cases stemming from an outbreak among students at the University of Colorado.
Boulder 18-22 Year-Olds Can Gather in Groups of 6
In Boulder County, the Public Health Department is relaxing some restrictions on 18- to 22-year-olds and allowing gatherings of up to six people.
The Daily Camera reports that the loosening of the previous two-person-gathering restriction comes due to the fewer coronavirus cases and lower positivity test rates. A surge in September had led to the stricter requirement.
Boulder County has seen a significant drop in new cases even in the past week, Health Director Jeff Zayach said. However, the county’s current positivity rate is slightly above six percent.
Officials at CU and the County said the progress made could easily be lost if members of the age group flaunt safety measures that prevent the disease from spreading.
Denver Public Schools Delay Reopening for Middle and High Schoolers
Denver middle and high schools will continue with virtual learning into November. The school district had planned to reopen schools to those students in a week.
But Chalkbeat reports that an internal memo says the district now plans to reopen middle and high schools on Nov. 9 at the earliest with two exceptions that will open in a week: programs that serve students with disabilities, and students new to the United States.
Denver elementary schools will reopen on schedule next week. The district has been gradually bringing back those younger students in recent weeks. Public health data shows COVID-19 infections are lower among young children than in teenagers.
In an email to staff yesterday, Superintendent Susana Cordova said that it was not an easy decision to make and she knew the delay would be a disappointment to many secondary students and staff.
Boulder Council Gets Look at New Online Petition System
Yesterday the Boulder City Council got a first glimpse of a new online petition system that will be available for the 2021 election cycle.
The Daily Camera reports that the platform, called Boulder Direct Democracy Online, is related to a charter amended passed three years ago allowing for electronic endorsement of initiative petitions.
City staff and councilmembers also clarified election guidelines, which came under scrutiny this summer when some campaign organizers were given incorrect information by city officials about filing and signature requirements for initiative petitions.
The council will have a public hearing on charter amendments and the new online system on November 10, and then the voters would have to approve them in November 2021.
Boulder County Sherriff Arrested
A sergeant in the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested after reportedly using a stun gun on a restrained Black inmate at the Boulder County Jail last month.
The Daily Camera reports that Sgt. Christopher Mecca was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault and first-degree official misconduct, both misdemeanors.
The incident occurred when a 32-year-old Black man was brought to the jail in September on a domestic violence case and was reported to have been combative with officers and intoxicated.
After he had been restrained, Mecca used a stun gun on the leg of the inmate for five seconds. Mecca self-reported the incident, and was placed on administrative leave. He resigned last week in lieu of being terminated.
Cameron Peak Fire Update
High winds yesterday elevated the fire activity of the Cameron Peak Fire, forcing mandatory and voluntary evacuations.
Officials said crews were successful in completing a significant amount of containment line along the northern perimeter on Monday. As of yesterday the fire west of Fort Collins has burned nearly 135,000 acres and was fifty-six percent contained.