Headlines January 6, 2021

Headlines January 6, 2021

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Boulder County Health Director Warns Good News About Virus May Not Last Long

A day after Boulder County moved from the most restrictive “Level Red” on the state’s COVID-19 dial to the less restrictive “Level Orange,”  Boulder City Council received an update on cases from the Boulder County Health Department.

Executive Director Jeff Zayach warned that the good news might not last long.

“Today when we met with the state health department we learned from the mobility data, that our mobility data over the last two and a half weeks, as compared to Thanksgiving as an example, we were showing more mobility so less people staying at home. So, unfortunately, we are expecting to see some increased cases associated with both the Christmas holidays as well as New Year’s. We will not know exactly what that looks like until we get to about the 15th of January,” said Zayach.

Boulder County’s move from red to orange means loosened capacity restrictions for offices, retail, restaurants, and a variety of other types of businesses and facilities.

Boulder City Council has drafted a letter to the state health department emphasizing the importance of ensuring an equitable approach to vaccine distribution for Latinx, Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities disproportionately impacted by the virus.

In Boulder, people 70 and older started receiving the vaccine on Monday. 182 new cases of coronavirus were reported Tuesday, but no new deaths.

CU Boulder Chancellor Tests Positive

CU Boulder officials announced Tuesday that Chancellor Phil DiStefano has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be isolating at home.

A news release from CU explains that DiStefano is experiencing mild symptoms, and his daughter also tested positive for the virus.

DiStefano said that like many others, he has been following public health advice and that his family’s situation is a reminder of how important it is to continue to follow public health guidance and to get tested.

Boulder County reported Monday that there have been 155 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths. The two people who died were in their 70s and 90s and were residents of long-term care facilities.

State Seeks to Vaccinate People 70 and Older, Then Teachers and Frontline Workers

Coloradans 70 and older will receive the coronavirus vaccine before teachers and other frontline workers as the state moves into the next inoculation phase.

In a letter sent Tuesday to healthcare providers, Scott Bookman, the state’s coronavirus incident commander, said that they are working toward being able to announce–by the end of this week–how people older than 70 can schedule appointments with hospitals and health systems.

The state Department of Public Health and Environment anticipates that more than two-thirds of Coloradans 70 and older will be vaccinated by the end of February.

Governor Jared Polis last week changed the state’s plan to move Coloradans 70 and older into Phase 1b; however, the state health department clarified yesterday that essential workers, including teachers, should not be inoculated against COVID-19 until after health care workers, first responders and people 70 and older receive their shots.

The clarification came as at least two Denver-area school districts announced they would begin vaccinating teachers as early as next week. The Denver Post reports those plans must now be halted. People in the state who don’t fit into Phase 1b are expected to be vaccinated in the spring and summer.

Boulder Valley and St. Vrain Valley School Districts Start Return to In-Person Learning

Elementary students in the Boulder Valley School District returned yesterday to in-person classes.

The Daily Camera reports that the district’s second-semester plan includes elementary students attending four days a week in person. Secondary students are starting remotely and will be phased in under a hybrid model with two days in person.

Mondays will remain what’s called a “launch” day, with students in all grades learning independently from home so teachers can plan.

St. Vrain Valley District students return today, with elementary kids attending four days a week in person. Secondary students start online and will be phased in to attend two days a week in person.

Two Climate Measures Proposed in Denver

Activists in Denver are looking to put two measures on the ballot both of which address environmental issues.

One initiative seeks to curb climate change by investing in green jobs, sustainable transportation, clean energy and would be paid for by new taxes on electricity and natural gas. If approved by voters, Denverite reports that most commercial, industrial, and residential property owners would receive a monthly allowance for how much electricity and natural gas they could use. The owner of any building that exceeds the cap would pay extra.

The proposal will need about 9,000 signatures to make the November 2021 ballot, and is nicknamed “Polluters Must Pay.”

In another initiative, climate activists are seeking to keep far more of the city’s waste out of landfills.

The plan, dubbed “Waste No More,” would require many businesses like apartments, restaurants, and hotels to provide compost and recycling pickup services.

The activists hope the initiative will improve Colorado’s dismal recycling record, which falls well below the national average of thirty-five percent.

Kate Bailey, policy director at Eco-Cycle in Boulder, which helped draft the measure, said that moving Denver forward is a huge way to move recycling forward across the state.