Headlines December 16, 2020

Headlines December 16, 2020

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Vaccine Arrives in State

Six health workers in Boulder were given the coronavirus vaccine yesterday. Boulder Community Health received 970 doses of the vaccine, according to Rich Sheehan, spokesperson for Boulder Community Health.

The Daily Camera reports that starting today 200 health care workers will be vaccinated each day. Sheehan said he’s not sure when the second round of vaccinations will be delivered or how many will arrive. A vaccine produced by Moderna, based in Massachusetts, is also slated to arrive at a Boulder Community Health facility next week.

Meanwhile, Colorado Governor Jared Polis said Tuesday that if you’re planning to celebrate Christmas by gathering with your extended family, it’s time to start quarantining. He added that it’s safest to celebrate virtually or to plan “Christmas in July” parties after more people have received the COVID-1 vaccines.

Pueblo County Sets Up Mobile Morgue

In Pueblo County the Coroner’s Office said yesterday that it has set up a mobile morgue in a semitrailer to store extra bodies as coronavirus deaths continue to climb across Colorado.

The use of the refrigerated truck reflects just how deadly the third wave of the pandemic has become even as the vaccine arrives. The Denver Post reports that Pueblo County has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in Colorado, recording 141 fatalities per 100,000 people. In Denver, the COVID-19 death rate is near 85 per 100,000 people.

The state health department reported 132 new deaths reported yesterday and the number of patients hospitalized with confirmed cases of the virus decreased by 21.

Boulder Council Honors Commissioners

Two Boulder County Commissioners were honored by Boulder City Council last night as they prepare to end their government service.  Commissioners Elise Jones and Deb Gardner are term-limited and will turn the reigns over to new commissioners in 2021.  District 2 Commissioner Deb Gardner has served Boulder County as a state legislator and then as county commissioner. She acknowledged the way COVID-19 has changed how officials interact.

“Looking at everyone’s faces here, some of you I know really well, and have worked together a bunch, and some of you I really don’t know at all. And I think a big chunk of that is because of this last year with COVID, its hard to make new friends, and new relationships when you never get to see somebody actually in person, said Gardner.”

Commissioner Elise Jones, elected in 2012, applauded the partnership between the city and county.

“I love the fact that the City of Boulder and Boulder County are so aligned in terms of values and advocacy about everything from portable housing to homelessness, to climate, and that together we accomplish so much and innovate together.  And it’s really, really important that the county have a good working relationship with the city, said Jones.”

New Boulder County Commissioners elected in November include Claire Levy for District 1 and Marta Loachamin in District 2. Matt Jones, elected in 2018, is the third member of the county governing board.

State Legislative Audit Committee Hears Colorado Voting is Gold Standard

A state legislative committee held a day-long hearing on voting in Colorado yesterday and there was no evidence of widespread fraud presented. The Colorado Sun reports that Republicans, who initiated the hearing, praised the state’s voting systems and processes, despite baseless claims from President Trump about mass fraud that cost him the election.

Chuck Broerman, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder, and a Republican said that the state is the gold standard for voting in the country and everybody wants to be like Colorado. Former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, told committee members that Coloradans can be confident that their elections are free and fair, and instances of fraud that may have been successful are in the dozens, not hundreds of thousands.

Efforts by Republicans to launch audits of the process failed along party lines.

Challenge to Encampment Sweeps Starts with Court Hearing

A hearing in federal court started yesterday to consider whether the City of Denver’s sweeps of encampments violates the constitutional rights of people experiencing homelessness. The proceeding began as supporters of Homeless Out Loud protested outside the courthouse chanting for the sweeps to stop.

The plaintiffs are suing Mayor Michael Hancock, Gov. Jared Polis., and other officials.  The issue before Judge William Martinez is whether to issue a temporary injunction halting the sweeps. Andy McNulty, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, opened the two-day hearing by saying Denver routinely destroys the property of people experiencing homelessness, and added that scattering people as COVID-19 has surged puts “unhoused individuals in danger.”

Denverite reports that the city has argued that conditions at homeless encampments deteriorated to dangerous levels during the pandemic, forcing the city to conduct cleanups.

The hearing continues today.