As coronavirus spreads in Colorado, KGNU is committed to keeping you informed about the virus and connected to local resources.
Boulder County is currently at Level CLEAR
According to the CDPHE, 656,850 positive cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Colorado (7,441 deaths due to COVID-19)
De acuerdo al CDPHE, se han reportado 656,850 casos positivos de COVID-19 en Colorado (7,441 muertes a causa de COVID-19)
Latest Colorado COVID-19 News:
September 22, 2021
Free Rapid Tests Available at Home
The Governor also announced yesterday that any Coloradan can sign up to receive a COVID-19 test at their home. Residents can sign up at a state website for the test which would arrive in four to seven days. The results of the rapid antigen test can be determined after it is received back, within 15 minutes.
September 22, 2021
Polis Tells Older Residents to Get Booster Shots
Colorado Governor Jared Polis yesterday urged older residents to get booster shots against COVID-19, despite the fact that federal health officials have yet to approve them.
While a decision on boosters for older people could come from the Food and Drug Administration later this week, Polis said they could claim they have an immune system condition that would allow the booster under current rules.
Those parameters permit only those who have compromised immune systems, and have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, to get a booster, but Polis said moving forward now will not reduce efforts to get first and second shots into other arms.
The governor said that older Coloradans could interpret the idea of “weakened immune system” far more liberally than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does, and any person in their 70s could say they qualify. Vaccine providers aren’t allowed to ask for proof of a qualifying condition and a person simply fills out a form checking a box saying they do.
The state is planning to get all residents of nursing homes vaccinated with a third does of the vaccine in the next three weeks.
September 20, 2021
Mass Vaccination Sites to Open Today
Today authorities in Colorado will open new sites for mass vaccinations against COVID-19 as mandates by employers start this fall requiring employees to show proof they’ve received shots. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said there will be four locations which will be able to handle as many as 1,000 doses of vaccine each day. The sites will be at the Aurora Municipal Center, the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, and at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs. The sites will be open 7 days a week through September 30 and appointments are not required.
Dr. Jonathan Samet, of the Colorado School of Public Health, told KDVR that the epidemic has been worsening in the state since July. Some experts are saying the state is in the middle of a fifth wave of hospitalizations. The reasons for the increase include unvaccinated people, kids being back in school, people going about their regular activities, and mask policies that differ around the state.
September 13, 2021
State ICU Beds Reach Critical Level
On Friday, Colorado health officials sounded the alarm about the continuing spread of COVID-19, as the state now has fewer intensive care beds available than at any other time during the pandemic.
The number of open ICU beds dropped below 200 on Thursday and increased slightly on Friday.
Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show that over 80 percent of those now hospitalized in the state are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated and 85 percent of deaths in the state are from that group.
Scott Bookman of CDPHE said that the burden of the unvaccinated on hospitals is profound, and hospitals have begun canceling or postponing elective surgeries, and converting rooms and entire floors for treating coronavirus patients.
September 13, 2021
State Health Department Recommends Masks for All in K-12 Schools
The state health department also updated its protocols for schools on Friday, recommending mask mandates for everyone inside schools from kindergarten through 12th grade. CDPHE is urging local health officials and school districts to implement mask requirements for all students, staff, teachers and visitors regardless of vaccination status.
September 9, 2021
Unvaccinated Coloradans Almost 4x as Likely to be Hospitalized for COVID-19 Compared to the Fully Vaccinated
The Colorado Department of Health and Environment has released data sets that compare COVID cases for vaccinated and unvaccinated patients.
As of August 15th, state data indicates fully vaccinated individuals are almost four times less likely to be hospitalized as compared to individuals not fully inoculated. State data as of July also shows the risk of death from COVID is almost 6 times higher for those who are unvaccinated.
In yesterday’s media briefing, the CDPHE also presented data on breakthrough cases by vaccine, with Moderna shots showing the fewest number of breakthrough cases and the one-dose Johnson and Johnson showing the most.
September 8, 2021
New COVID Cases Highest Since Early January
New cases of COVID-19 infections are at the highest level they’ve been in Colorado since early January.
Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also show that hospitalizations are getting close to the peak they reached in the spring months of 2020. As of yesterday, more than 950 people were hospitalized in the state with confirmed or suspected cases.
The Denver Post reports that deaths from COVID-19 are also rising – 71 people died during the week ending August 29 – about twice more than those in the first week of the month.
Beth Carlton, a professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, said that the risk of exposure to the virus is high for everyone now, but the difference is that vaccinated people are less likely to get infected, and if they are, their risk of severe illness is substantially lower. She added that the best way to protect people against the more dangerous variants is to get vaccinated.
In other COVID-19 news, CDPHE has announced it is providing all K-12 schools with free testing for the school year. The screening is voluntary and is a rapid antigen test for all students and staff at public and private schools. The department said the tests would be available this week.
September 3, 2021
New Boulder County Indoor Mask Mandate Goes into Effect at 5 pm September 3rd
*Below is taken directly from bouldercounty.org/news/
Due to the recent surge of the Delta variant and aligning with CDC guidance, Boulder County Public Health (BCPH) issued Public Health Order 2021-08 requiring masks in all indoor public settings during periods of substantial or high transmission as defined by the CDC’s Data Tracker. The order goes into effect Friday, September 3 at 5 p.m. and requires masks in all indoor public spaces for all individuals 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status.
Because the delta variant is nearly twice as contagious, on July 27, 2021, the CDC issued a recommendation emphasizing the need for urgently increasing rates of vaccination and universal masking, regardless of vaccination status, for individuals age 2+ in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.
The CDC’s Data Tracker defines four levels of transmission: low, moderate, substantial, and high. Boulder County is currently in high transmission.
The order will monitor the CDC’s community transmission tracker in Boulder County and require masks during periods of high and substantial transmission and for the first 21 days after moving into moderate or low transmission. After 21 days in moderate or low transmission level masks will not be required but only recommended, although the public health order will stay in place. If Boulder County moves back into high or substantial transmission for five consecutive days, the order will again require indoor masking. The public health order remains in effect until rescinded.
Boulder County’s Transmission Status, including if masks are currently required, is posted on Boulder County Public Health’s status page.
Masks are required during substantial and high transmission in all indoor public spaces, including but not limited to public transportation, private and public offices, retail stores, restaurants, bars, event centers, gyms, recreation centers, and manufacturing facilities.
The order does not apply to private homes; however, Boulder County Public Health recommends wearing a mask whenever around individuals from a different household, particularly when at least one individual is not vaccinated.
Boulder County Public Health recommends that businesses and facilities move activities outdoors whenever possible, or increase ventilation by opening windows and doors, running the HVAC, or installing portable air filters. The order does not contain any outdoor mask requirements.
In addition to providing immediate protection, the universal mask order is part of Boulder County Public Health’s proactive layered mitigation strategy to protect the community from severe illness and unnecessary deaths, protect the integrity of our healthcare system so that all individuals may access timely healthcare when needed, and provide stability to our businesses through strategic and early intervention with a masking order without the huge costs associated with capacity restrictions and other orders.
“Only second to vaccination, adoption of a universal mask order is an extremely effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and minimize disruptive cycles of reactionary orders, and is particularly important for seeing a rapid shift,” said Camille Rodriguez, BCPH Executive Director. “With a long-term layered mitigation strategy, we have a sustainable and proactive strategy. By adopting a universal mask order now, we can preserve our healthcare system resources, protect the health of our community, and prevent hugely impactful capacity and social distancing restrictions.”
Boulder County recommends wearing a surgical mask, N95, or KN95 when possible, though cloth masks that comply with CDC mask guidance meet the requirements of the order.
The order also allows, with Boulder County Public Health approval, an exception for indoor public masking for employers, owners, and operators who have voluntarily implemented proof of vaccination requirements for all employees, staff, visitors, and patrons entering their facility (commonly known as a vaccination passport).
Business and event owners and operators that have already implemented a proof of vaccination policy for all visitors and employees should contact COVIDbiz@bouldercounty.org for more information on obtaining approval for a masking exception.
Boulder County Public Health will release more information on Voluntary Vaccination Passport program and open the application process in the coming weeks, and owners and operators of facilities and indoor public spaces who wish to apply for this program should monitor https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/covid-19-information/fullyvaccinatedfacilities/ for more information.
For more information and a full list of frequently asked questions about the order, visit Boulder County’s Indoor Mask Order FAQs.
Anyone with questions regarding this order should contact the Boulder County Call Center at 720-776-0822 or view the COVID-19 information on BCPH’s website at BoCo.org/COVID-19.
September 1, 2021
Boulder Health Recommends Third Vaccine for Immunocompromised and Other COVID-19 Updates
Boulder County Health Department announced this week that all clinics in Boulder may administer third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines for immunocompromised people. Immunocompromised patients can get the vaccine at Boulder County Health as well as a number of other locations across Boulder County. Vaccine providers will not require ID, or proof of medical history.
For those who received their vaccine more than 8 months ago, people may be able to get a booster shot as soon as September 20th. The CDC says vaccinated individuals are about 80% less likely to get severe COVID, even if they’re exposed to the Delta Variant.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment estimates COVID hospitalization rates are seven times higher for unvaccinated patients. About 75% of Colorado adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Coverage is lower among teens, with 55% of those ages 12 to 17 getting at least one shot.
August 25, 2021
COVID caseloads continue on an upward trajectory across Colorado and Boulder County is no exception, despite its high vaccination rates among those eligible.
Boulder County Public Health is reporting a seven-day average of 123 cases per 100 thousand residents. Positivity rates are hovering around four percent. The sharpest increase in cases in recent days has been in the 10 to 17-year-old age group. Cases may rise further with the start of in-person classes both at the K-12 and university levels. To mitigate the spread of the virus, the Boulder Valley School District has a mask mandate in effect. Boulder County health authorities are also asking all people above the age of 2 years old to mask while indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
August 16, 2021
Kids Returning to School as Districts Impose Mask Requirements
As children return to school around districts in the state, in at least one county, law enforcement will be in place as tensions rise over masking requirements.
In Eagle County sheriff’s deputies will be heading to schools to keep the peace and as a preventative measure.
On Friday the Eagle Country School District announced that students, staff and visitors to elementary and middle schools would be required to wear masks starting today.
A spokesperson for the district told the Denver Post that tensions have been really high over the weekend since the announcement, with a lot of chatter on social media including attempts to mount a walk-out and meetings to voice opinions. However, she said they have not heard of threats of violence.
Late last week the Cherry Creek School District and Aurora public schools reversed course and announced that students and teachers in lower grades will be required to wear masks. The announcement was a change, as both districts had said masks would either not be required, or only for those who were unvaccinated.
Mask mandates are in place in Boulder Valley, St Vrain Valley and Denver Public Schools, as well as Adams 12 Five Star District.
August 16, 2021
Boulder County Health Department Recommends Masking for those Two and Older
Boulder County Public Health officials are strongly recommending that all individuals over the age of 2 years old wear masks at indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status.
The Delta variant is causing a surge in COVID-19 cases, and the county has moved into a level called “substantial transmission” which is in the highest level under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Boulder County authorities say in a release that the Delta variant is highly transmissible and might cause more severe illness than prior strains in unvaccinated persons, including in younger people. They are encouraging everyone over 12 years old to get a vaccine.
August 16, 2021
State CDPHE Says They Have Enough Vaccines for Boosters
Colorado officials say they have enough COVID-19 vaccines to start giving booster shots to those with compromised immune systems. The state Department of Public Health and Environment made the announcement Friday after the Food and Drug Administration changed its authorization for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
Those who have had organ transplants or recent cancer treatments will also be eligible for a booster.
The state said that people won’t be required to provide proof before receiving a third dose if they say they have a qualifying condition.
The Denver Post reports that as of now, the booster recommendation does not include people with conditions that raise their risk of a severe case, like heart disease, diabetes, or advanced age.
August 12, 2021
Colorado Vaccine Equity Task Force Urges Officials to Require Masks in Schools
The Colorado Vaccine Equity Task Force is urging Governor Jared Polis and state and local health departments to require all school age children and staff to wear masks regardless of vaccination status, and implement regular testing and other effective strategies known to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The task force points out that while emerging data shows even vaccinated individuals can transmit the Delta variant of the virus, overwhelming evidence demonstrates face coverings decrease COVID-19 transmission. The group further states unmasked individuals in school settings, even if vaccinated, pose a risk to those not yet vaccinated, especially those under the age of 12.
The group indicates that the CDC currently recommends that all unvaccinated students and staff wear masks in schools and the American Academy of Pediatrics and AAP-Colorado have gone a step further, recommending universal masking in all schools.
August 9, 2021
CDC Officials Concerned Over COVID-19 Breakthrough Rate in Mesa County
COVID-19 cases from the delta variant in Mesa County on the western slope have increased rapidly.
The Denver Channel reports that officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are concerned after seeing less effectiveness from vaccines in Mesa county compared to all other counties in the state.
The effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine against preventing symptomatic infection was estimated at 78% in Mesa County, compared to more than 10% higher for other Colorado counties.
Officials at the CDC did not identify a reason why the vaccine appears less effective there, but Mesa County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.
August 3, 2021
Changes Coming to State Vaccine Data Dashboard as Focus Shifts to Fall COVID-19 Uptick
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced yesterday it will make multiple changes to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine data dashboard aiming to have additional detail on vaccination rates.
According to the latest statewide modeling report vaccinations can still prevent a fall season uptick of COVID-19 if Coloradans get at least one shot before Labor Day.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado School of Public Health released an updated statewide modeling report yesterday showing the importance of vaccine’s given in Colorado by Labor Day weekend. As schools start up again this month the models show that Colorado could still experience thousands more cases of severe, but avoidable, COVID-19 infections over the upcoming fall months. The CDPHE says that vaccination is the key to preventing these cases, especially in the teenage range.
By comparing vaccination scenarios, the modeling shows that increasing vaccination rates by Labor day to 80% among adults, with at least one shot, will prevent substantial COVID-19 hospitalizations this fall. The model also looks at a 70% target for Colorado teen vaccinations as schools prepare to reopen, posing a risk for increasing infections in this age group.
To reach 80% of Colorado adults with at least one shot, 456,000 first doses will need to be administered in August and to reach 70% of Colorado teens with at least one shot, 90,000 first doses will need to be administered to teens this month. Vaccinations were declining daily over the summer in all age groups, leading to an uptick in covid-19 cases in the state last week.
July 29, 2021
State COVID-19 Rent Assistance Program Sees Delays, Fraud as Eviction Moratorium Comes to a Close
The CDC’s national eviction moratorium is set to end Saturday, July 31st. Housing rights advocates warn this will trigger a new wave of homelessness, especially in urban areas. The Colorado Sun reports the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, or ERAP, has been delayed due to fraud prevention efforts.
A spokesperson for the Department of Local Affairs did not elaborate on the extent of the fraud or when payments for approved accounts will be issued.
According to the Colorado Sun, the state’s program has been overwhelmed during the pandemic contributing to extreme delays for renters seeking assistance.
July 29, 2021
Two More Hospital Systems Require COVID Vaccination
The University of Colorado Health System and Denver Health announced Wednesday they will require their employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by fall.
This comes on the heels of Banner Health, which operates four hospitals in Colorado, announced its requirement last week.
According to the Colorado Sun, Colorado’s other hospital systems – Centura Health, HealthONE, and SCL – have not issued a mandate but their situations may change when the FDA gives full approval of the coronavirus vaccines which is expected in the coming weeks.
July 27, 2021
CDPHE Will Send Vaccine Reminders Messages to Parents and Guardians
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has announced it will begin sending text and email notifications to parents and guardians of 12 to 17 year-olds who may be overdue for their second COVID-19 vaccine.
Text messages will be sent from the recipient 45778, beginning today, and email notifications will start going out later this week.
The notifications will be sent in English and Spanish and will include information on how to find a vaccine provider to schedule an appointment.
The state health department says the reminders will be similar to those sent to people over the age of 18 who were overdue for their second shots.
July 21, 2021
State Health Department Releases COVID Guidelines for Back-to-School
Colorado state health officials released back-to-school guidelines yesterday for COVID-19. In a release, the Department of Public Health and Environment says it is not imposing requirements. Instead, the state is recommending masking for all unvaccinated individuals age two and older when indoors.
The department suggested that local public health agencies and school districts consider mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals, particularly in higher-risk environments.
CDPHE said that best practices for schools include among other things, ventilation, maximization of outdoor activities, screening for symptoms, cleaning and disinfecting, and handwashing.
Colorado’s guidelines are closely aligned with those of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the release, health director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said that residents must continue to remain vigilant because many students have yet to be vaccinated, and those under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines.
She also said that unvaccinated Coloradans remain vulnerable to the new variants, especially the Delta variant, which appears to be more likely to make young people ill than previous variants.
July 15, 2021
Boulder County Health Monitoring Delta Variant
Boulder County Public Health is continuing to monitor the Delta variant of COVID-19, as cases continue to rise in the state and the county.
Angela Simental a spokesperson for the health department told the Daily Camera that they are learning more about the Delta variant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. The variant is the dominant strain, and has a 60 percent increased risk of transmission, she said.
As of yesterday, 26 cases of the Delta variant have been found in Boulder County.
Simental was unable to say what would cause to reinstatement of a mask order, or social distancing at restaurants or concerts
She added that the county has seen more “breakthrough cases” associated with the Delta variant that it did not see with past strains of the virus. A breakthrough is an infection of someone who has been fully vaccinated and tests positive for COVID-19.
It is possible, according to Simental, that the recent rise in cases can be attributed to a loosening of restrictions and the more contagious variants in circulation. Vaccines are effective against the variants she said.
July 2, 2021
Updated to COVID Guidance for Colorado and Boulder County
Colorado public health authorities have modified guidance with regards to face coverings. An updated health order, which took effect yesterday, “requires medical-grade face coverings for unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated employees in settings which serve vulnerable or at-risk populations” such as homeless shelters, prisons, jails, and emergency medical and other healthcare settings. “Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated visitors, residents, and patients in these settings must also wear masks, though they do not need to be medical grade.” The new health order will remain in effect until August 1st. Federal guidance on face coverings mandates mask use in other settings, including in public transit.
June 29, 2021
CDPHE Scaling Down Large-Scale Vaccination Sites
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will phase out its large scale community vaccination sites in the coming days. The six existing sites in Mesa, Larimer, El Paso, Denver, Adams, and Pueblo counties will close by July 4th. Inoculation work will shift to providers like doctors, pharmacies and local public health agencies. The CDPHE says twelve percent of all vaccines given in the state were administered through these community sites and that transitioning to local providers will establish a working model for possible booster shot delivery in the future.
June 23, 2021
COVID Vaccinations in State Reach 50 Percent
The state health department released data yesterday showing that half of Colorado’s population is fully immunized against COVID-19. That equates to 2.8 million fully vaccinated Coloradans.
The number of people hospitalized with the coronavirus continues to fall. Less than three hundred were in hospital – the lowest level since early October.
While the U.S. is likely to fall short of President Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70 percent of all Americans by July 4th, Governor Polis said on Facebook that he is confident Coloradans can meet that goal in part due to the weekly lottery drawing for those who are vaccinated.
Meanwhile, the state is calling unvaccinated people to encourage people to get a vaccination appointment. Colorado Public Radio reports that because the state is not trying to sell anything, the calls are not a violation of the state’s No Call Registry.
About half a million people will be called – their numbers coming from publicly available information.
In Boulder County the health department reported 9 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, two new hospitalizations and no new deaths.
On the West Slope, hospital beds in Mesa County are again at more than 95 percent capacity as of yesterday. But, The Daily Sentinel reports that the two-week count of new cases has declined in recent days.
June 1, 2021
New COVID Order Takes Effect Today
An order issued by the state health department Monday says those planning large indoor events with more than 500 people no longer need the state’s approval. The amended order from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment goes into effect today as transmission of COVID-19 and hospitalizations due to the disease level off. The order is scheduled to expire July 1. The health department order still encourages individuals to remain at least six-feet away from non-household contacts, wash their hands, and wear a face covering to reduce the likelihood of disease transmission. The order also requires masks for people who are not fully vaccinated in jails, prisons, K-12 schools, childcare facilities, camps and medical facilities.
May 21, 2021
Boulder County Mask Order Amended
Boulder County Public Health on Thursday amended its “Face Covering Order” effective immediately through June 10. The amendment requires masks to continue to be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, for schools, childcare and healthcare settings, on public transportation (including ride shares), and congregate care facilities in Boulder. This differs from the state mask order, which will be lifted for all indoor facilities beginning June 1. Residents should also be aware that businesses can still implement their own policies and require you to wear a mask.
May 17, 2021
Metro Counties Move to Level Clear Relaxing Pandemic Restrictions
As of yesterday, businesses in the six metro Denver counties now have the option to operate the way they did before the pandemic.
Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver and Jefferson counties all moved to Level Clear on the state’s COVID-19 dial meaning they can be open at 100 percent capacity and not require face coverings.
On Friday Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced the effective end of the statewide mask mandate.
The governor said that the state has a reached a threshold where there are not enough people vaccinated to call an end to the pandemic, but enough people have received shots so that they no longer need to wear masks.
Mask-wearing is still encouraged for people who haven’t received shots, and will continue to be required through at least June 1 for unvaccinated people in assisted-living facilities, emergency medical settings, childcare facilities, and jails and prisons.
After that date, events with over 500 people will no longer need state approval to take place.
People who are vaccinated should still carry masks with them. Some business owners are not yet ready to drop the mask requirement whether someone is vaccinated or not. Establishments may keep asking customers to wear masks, because they don’t have the resources or ability to verify someone’s vaccine status.
May 12, 2021
Boulder County Will Lessen COVID-19 Restrictions
Boulder County and most of the other metro Denver counties will lift the remaining COVID-19 public health restrictions this weekend, although people will still be required to wear masks in specific indoor settings as a statewide order remains in place at least until next month.
The state still requires masks in schools, child care centers, indoor children’s camps, prisons and health care settings. However, masks are no longer required in indoor gatherings where at least 80% of the group is inoculated against the coronavirus.
In addition to Boulder, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, and Broomfield counties confirmed to the Denver Post they will move from Level Blue to a new phase called Level Clear on Sunday.
Once the metro counties make that move, restaurants, bars, offices and other indoor settings can operate at 100% capacity with no additional requirements.
The counties moving to Level Clear on Sunday will enter an “observation period” for 90 days. If a county experiences a rise in its rate of coronavirus hospital admissions, it will move to stricter requirements.
The City of Denver’s public health agency stopped short of committing to the move to Level Clear, but said the city anticipates “aligning” with neighboring counties.
May 4, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
As of yesterday, almost two million Coloradans had been fully immunized against COVID-19, with 2.6 million Coloradans already having received their first dose. But new polling continues to show a political divide in the state over who wants to get them. The poll by Keating Research, OnSight Public Affairs and KOM Colorado Poll found that 63% of people surveyed had already received at least one vaccine dose, another 10% who said they planned on getting vaccinated but had not yet, 12% who said they were not sure if they would get vaccinated, and 15% who said they don’t plan to get vaccinated. The poll also found that 80% of Democrats said they had already received one dose, compared to 61% of unaffiliated voters and 46% of Republican respondents.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer for youngsters ages 12 to 15 by next week. That would make shots available for many before the beginning of the next school year. An official with the FDA said Monday that Pfizer has found that its shot – already authorized for those age 16 and older, also provides protection for the younger group.
April 28, 2021
Governor Urges People to Get Vaccinated as COVID-19 Cases Increase
Colorado health officials are imploring people to get vaccinated as the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across the state. At a news conference yesterday, Governor Jared Polis said that thousands of appointments or walk-up slots are available for the next few days across the state, and more vaccination sites are offering walk-up slots.
Polis said that a major task now is urging those who didn’t get the vaccine to get it. “It’s not a resistance to vaccine issue. It is what you might call a hesitancy or laziness issue. It’s people – we know this from research – they will get the vaccine But it’s not immediate in their minds. They’re thinking they will get it in the future, maybe in a month, maybe in two months. Maybe I’ll get it at some indefinite date. Well, that time is now. Step up and get it.”
Coronavirus cases are still increasing across the state. But, Dr. Rachel Herlihy the state epidemiologist said that the increase is slower than in recent weeks. Cases among 11- to 17-year-olds — middle school and high school students — are now occurring at a higher rate than among people age 18 and older.
The Colorado Sun reports that more than half of Coloradans have received at least one coronavirus vaccine, and about a third of the eligible population is fully vaccinated. But children age 16 and under are not yet eligible for coronavirus vaccines. Experts hope that will change before the next school year begins in the fall as vaccines are approved for younger people.
The majority of the 622 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado as of yesterday are under the age of 60, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. People between the ages of 40 and 59 make up the largest group, and just over a fifth are between 20 and 39 years old.
Gov. Polis said yesterday in a statement that students and parents should expect to see vaccine requirements for the school year starting in the fall.
April 19, 2021
Boulder County Moves to Level Blue Coronavirus Restrictions
On Friday Boulder County moved to a lower level of coronavirus restrictions. Larger capacities for bars, restaurants, gyms and events will be allowed. Lexi Nolen, Executive Director of the county health department said in a statement that the shift to a lower level on the coronavirus dial does not mean full reopening. The county has adopted a slightly modified version of the state’s framework to ease into recovery and give individuals and businesses guidance.
The new Level Blue allows for indoor seated events and all outdoor events to occur with 6 feet of distancing between people from different households. Indoor events that are not seated can occur at half capacity with a maximum of 175 people. Restaurants and gyms can operate fully with 6 feet of distance between parties, and bars can open at 25% capacity. Masks are still required in indoor public spaces.
On Friday the county health department announced a death from COVID-19, the first death in more than a month.
On Sunday there were 33 new COVID-19 cases in the county, but no new deaths. CU Boulder reported 13 positive tests on Friday.
Statewide, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the moving average of positivity tests decreased to 5.7 percent.
April 14, 2021
County Health Departments Adjust as State COVID-19 Dial Set to Expire
Some details were released yesterday about how counties in the Denver Metro area will go forward with pandemic restrictions after the mandatory statewide COVID-19 dial comes to an end.
At a news conference with Governor Jared Polis, the executive director of the Tri-County Health Department said that there will be a Metro Denver Partnership for Health to develop a regional plan. 9News reports that the counties involved are Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Denver, Adams and Arapahoe. Many health departments throughout the state are issuing their own guidance as the executive order mandating limits set out by the state dial ends on Friday.
Together, the metro counties will have a timeline to guide the region through a recovery phase, and then full reopening by summer with a new category called “Level Clear.”
Douglas County was notably absent from the list of metro jurisdiction which have agreed to participate. The Douglas County Commissioners voted unanimously to opt-out of Tri-County public health orders, declaring that “this pandemic is over.” While restaurants and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity there, the state mask mandate will remain in place in the county.
Also yesterday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the state Joint Vaccine Task Force said they are requiring providers to temporarily stop administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the state. The move comes after federal regulators reported rare blood clots in six women nationwide after receiving that vaccine. The state health department said in a release that these adverse events appear to be extremely rare. About 1 in ten vaccinated people in Colorado have received the Johnson & Johnson shot.
The state health department also announced that due to irregularities in storage and handling of some COVID-19 vaccines at a clinic in Colorado Springs, about 4,000 people will need to be revaccinated. Those who received a shot at the Dr. Moma Clinic will be offered another.
Free in-home coronavirus testing will be available to certain front-line workers. The state health department said that hotel, hospitality and retail workers among others are eligible for the in-home testing.
Colorado reported over 1,900 COVID cases on Tuesday while Boulder County Public Health said there were 113 new cases, but no new deaths.
April 12, 2021
State Enters Fourth Wave of Coronavirus
Colorado is now in its fourth wave of COVID-19 as more contagious variants of the disease have become the dominant form spreading across the state. Hospitalizations are at their highest level since mid-February and cases have risen sharply in recent weeks, though not among Coloradans 50 and older, who have mostly been vaccinated.
As of Sunday, 421 people were hospitalized with the virus and the seven-day moving average of the rate of positivity tests increased slightly to over 5.6%. It’s estimated that almost half of new cases in Colorado are among the strain of coronavirus first identified in the U.K., which is believed to be far more transmissible. Another 20% of cases are thought to be among the California variant, also believed to be more transmissible.
The Boulder County health department reported 55 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, but no new deaths. There were 20 people in the hospital in the county as of Friday due to COVID-19. And also on Friday, the University of Colorado Boulder reported seven positive tests.
In a statement Saturday, Governor Jared Polis said that more than 2 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
Meanwhile, Centura Health said in a statement over the weekend that it will no longer offer the one-shot, Johnson and Johnson vaccine at three mass vaccination sites. The health provider said the decision to stop offering the one-shot vaccine was based on a national shortage and eleven adverse reactions that were reported last week at a vaccination site.
April 8, 2021
COVID-19 Cases Are on the Rise Again in Colorado
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment reported increased hospitalization rates Wednesday, April 7th with 450 people currently hospitalized for the virus. That’s the highest number since mid-February. The increase comes despite more vaccinations and may be connected to more contagious variants as well as relaxed restrictions in some counties.
Boulder County reported 127 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday along with seven additional hospitalizations. There were no new deaths from the virus in the county. Coronavirus variants continue to spread among Boulder County residents. To date, county officials report 66 variant cases detected. Most of those cases are the B 117 variant. At a briefing Wednesday, a Boulder County Public Health representative said cases are again spiking among student-age residents 18-22 years old.
April 1, 2021
Boulder County Reports 100 New Cases of COVID-19
Boulder County reported on Wednesday that the 100 new coronavirus cases were the largest number of daily cases since March 13.
The Daily Camera reports that CU Boulder students can register for fall classes starting Monday. CU Boulder students will be choosing from classes that are around 70% in person, 10% hybrid, with the remainder being remote.
The university has an online vaccine sign-up form available for students, faculty, and staff and they feel that there will be enough vaccine supply available for those wanting one.
They are estimating that at the beginning of the fall semester 75% of the campus population will have immunity to COVID-19, either through vaccination or through prior infection.
Currently, there is no requirement to be vaccinated in order to be on campus. Campus officials are evaluating the legal and ethical implications for such a requirement.
On Friday, the state will open up COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to anyone 16 and older. According to the state’s Wednesday weekly report, the number of active COVID-19 cases decreased again but correctional institutions saw increases.
Four jails in the state reported COVID-19 outbreaks. Clear Creek, Summit counties, the Delta Correctional Center and Denver Women’s Correctional Facility involved outbreaks of fewer than 20 new cases.
March 31, 2021
COVID-19 Mask Mandate Set to Be Modified
Boulder County public health officials say they’re not sure yet what the governor’s new mask order will look like. The state’s mandate is set to expire on Saturday, and the Daily Camera reports that a spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis said he intends to sign a new 30-day order that will account for where we are in the pandemic.
The news comes as county officials said yesterday that the average number of new COVID-19 cases “has ticked up a bit in the last week,” though, hospitalizations haven’t followed the trend. Boulder County reported 70 new cases Tuesday. The seven-day average of the number of cases in the county was almost 63 this week and just over 52 last week. Mike Stratton, Boulder County Public Health spokesperson said that the uptick is not large, but it’s something to watch.
Low Vaccination Rate of State Prison Staff Leads to Monetary Incentive
In related news, the Colorado Department of Corrections is now offering a $500 incentive to staff members to get a COVID-19 vaccine. KDVR reports that more than half of Colorado’s state prison workers have not received any COVID-19 vaccine, despite being eligible for months. Currently, there are active COVID-19 outbreaks at seven different state prisons.
March 29, 2021
All Coloradans to be Eligible for Vaccine Starting April 2
Gov. Polis announced today that all Coloradans will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Friday, April 2. Everyone 16 and older is eligible for the Pfizer jab, Polis said, while those 18 and up are eligible for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson doses.
State COVID Positivity Rate Increases Slightly
As of yesterday, there are 323 people hospitalized with the coronavirus in the state. The seven-day average of positivity has increased slightly to close to 4 percent. Positivity is an important indicator of the status of the pandemic in the state. The World Health Organization recommends that the positivity rate be lower than 5 percent.
Nearly 1,600,000 people in Colorado have received at least one dose of vaccine with close to one million being fully vaccinated.
March 24, 2021
COVID Dial Update to Less Restrictive Category
The latest update to Colorado COVID-19 Dial goes into effect today. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Dial 3.0 will make it easier for counties to move into Level Green, the least restrictive level on the dial. It will also remove many of the restrictions that currently apply at that level. Restrictions for bars, retail establishments, offices, and non-critical manufacturing facilities would also be relaxed under Level Blue.
Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of CDPHE, said that while this is still a time for caution, these changes to the Dial better reflect where we are in the pandemic today, and the balance they are trying to strike between disease suppression and economic hardship.
CDPHE said the updates reflect the increasing number of Coloradans who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 80% of people 70 and older.
Fully vaccinated residents at residential care facilities can have close contact with visitors under updated guidance released this week by the CDPHE.
Boulder County Public Health on Tuesday reported no new deaths, one new hospitalization and 69 new COVID-19 cases. The University of Colorado Boulder said there were no positive test results Monday.
March 19, 2021
Colorado Makes Progress in COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Starting today, the last sub-group of Phase 1B becomes eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. The1B subgroup includes anyone in Colorado who is 50 or over, as well as frontline workers in higher education, food service, journalism, manufacturing, public transit, public health, human services, faith communities, some state, and local government divisions, and services to homeless populations. Once that group has come forward, the general public can start getting the vaccine, which Governor Jared Polis has said would start next month.
Restaurant Workers Get COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
The Denver Mayor’s office announced Thursday that local restaurant workers in Colorado will get their own COVID-19 vaccine clinic. Four sites in Summit, Larimer, and El Paso counties will hold clinics on Tuesday, March 23 and there will be one site in Denver on two days, the first on Monday, March 22, and the second on Tuesday, March 23. There are nearly 300,000 restaurant workers in Colorado.
March 18, 2021
Colorado Opens Mass Vaccination Sites
Colorado opened two mass vaccination sites Wednesday, one in Colorado Springs and the other in Grand Junction. These are the state’s first permanent mass vaccination locations. Three other mass vaccination locations will open Monday: one at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, one at The Ranch in Loveland, and another at the state fairgrounds in Pueblo.
Another site—at the Ball Arena in downtown Denver, will open on April 1. Colorado is expanding vaccine eligibility starting Friday. As of tomorrow, anyone over 50 is eligible as well as a broad category of front-line workers, including employees in food service, higher education, manufacturing, public health, public transit, human services, faith communities, media, and services to people experiencing homelessness.
March 16, 2021
Studies of CU Students Show Many COVID-19 Patients May Not Be Contagious
CU Boulder has done two studies on the Covid-19 virus and how contagious it is. The first study found that about half of COVID-19 infected people may not spread the virus but you won’t be able to judge who is doing the transmitting just looking at the symptoms.
Researchers looked at weekly COVID-19 tests that were given to 1400 CU Boulder students living in dormitories and who tested positive but weren’t showing symptoms, compared with people who’d been hospitalized with the virus.
For Professor Sara Sawyer, the senior author of the study, this means that some asymptomatic people are carrying a viral load as high as someone who is on a ventilator in a hospital bed.
A second study, using the same data found that students with higher amounts of the virus in their saliva were more likely to have infected their roommates. Just 20% of students who tested positive had passed it on to a roommate.
These results could let universities tell if they can continue offering on-campus housing with roommates.
Professor Sawyer said that both studies show that most people with COVID don’t get other people sick, but a few people get a lot of people sick.
Both studies have yet to be reviewed for potential mistakes or omissions.
March 12, 2021
BOCO Vaccine Clinic Canceled
Boulder Valley School District COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Boulder Community Health has been canceled for Saturday in anticipation of the winter storm. Additionally, Boulder County Public Health on Wednesday said drive-thru COVID-19 testing sites in Lyons and Nederland are closed Friday. In a BVSD email, the announcement said people who had an appointment to get their second shot would be rescheduled for the week of March 15. Public health officials encouraged people to look online for updated testing information at boco.org/COVIDTesting.
Denver COVID Commemoration
One in eight Colorado deaths in the past year involved COVID-19. More than 700 residents have died from COVID-19 in Denver alone, about 250 in Boulder. To end a week of remembrance for those who have died, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is asking Denver residents, visitors, and businesses to observe a moment of silence on Friday at noon. The moment of silence will happen after the chiming of twelve bells at the City and County Building, one for each month of the pandemic thus far.
March 8, 2021
COVID-19 Variant Detected in Colorado
For the first time, three cases of the more contagious variant of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Colorado. State officials announced last night that two staffers and one inmate at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex have tested positive for the variant that was first identified in South Africa.
The Denver Post reports that 81 other cases of the South African variant have been detected in 20 jurisdictions across the U.S. It’s believed to spread more easily and quickly than other versions of COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Public health officials worry that highly contagious strains could take off before enough of the population is inoculated against the virus — or that some variants could prove more resistant to the new vaccines.
After detections of the three cases at the Buena Vista prison, the state health department plans to sequence all positive COVID-19 specimens from the facility to look for variants. The prison is undergoing its third outbreak and as of last week included three inmate infections and 11 staff cases.
Meatpacking Plant Shuts Down to Vaccinate Workers
In Greeley on Friday, the JBS meatpacking plant – that saw a deadly coronavirus outbreak last year – suspended operations so that workers could receive COVID-19 vaccines on-site.
The Colorado Sun reports that workers received their shots in a temporary clinic set up in a hallway. More employees were due to be vaccinated Saturday in a partnership with the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, which represents about 3,000 workers at the plant.
The union said it expected as many as 350 people per hour to get shots. Doctors and nurses were on hand to monitor vaccine recipients for any adverse reactions.
March 3, 2021
Colorado’s Supply of Vaccines to Increase
Officials in Colorado are expecting the weekly supply of COVID-19 vaccines to increase significantly by next month. The state’s weekly vaccine allotment will grow from about 260,000 doses next week to just over 400,000 doses in early April.
The state will get its first doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, but, there will a drop-off in shipments of that vaccine due to production hurdles.
During a media briefing yesterday, Governor Jared Polis said that they are excited to add that vaccine to the arsenal of weapons that will allow the state to defeat the deadly virus.
The governor said that he is confident that summer will be very close to normal based on the predictions of vaccine supply and that people who want the vaccine will be able to get it in April and May.
The state will move to the next phase of its vaccination rollout on Friday — Coloradans age 60 to 64 and people with two or more chronic health conditions — after the state hit its goal of inoculating 70% of those over 70 by the end of last month.
Boulder Council Discusses Equity Strategy in Vaccine Distribution
Following the good news about more vaccines on their way to Colorado, Boulder City Council got a local update from the County’s Public Health Department last night.
In his final presentation to council prior to retirement, Executive Director Jeff Zayach announced there were fewer deaths in February than in previous months, and an 84% decrease in deaths in long-term care facilities. But Zayach spent most of his presentation emphasizing the ramp-up in vaccine availability.
Zayach: “We have capacity now for 20 to 25,000 vaccines per week. We’re still getting only around 7,000 to 8,000 and we are building capacity to closer to 35,000 per week. So there’s been a lot of work that’s been happening with the anticipation that we are going to be receiving a significant amount more of vaccine towards the end of March and the early part of April.”
Zayach said almost 60,000 Boulder County residents have received the vaccine, including 84% of those 70 and older, while half of those ages 65 to 69 have had at least one dose.
Indira Gujral, with the health department, said there remains a wide gap in the percentage of White residents who have received the vaccine compared to those who are Latinx and Asian, despite the county’s equity strategy to eliminate vaccination disparity. She also cited a survey that addressed vaccine gender issues, saying there is a trust factor based on concerns and rumors.
“We knew that the willingness to be vaccinated varied with race, ethnicity, and gender, and women, in particular, are less likely to have trust in the vaccine as compared to men. And we see this with African Americans and the LatinX community where some of it is down to almost 50 percent. And Out Boulder presented a similar survey that they did locally and their LGBTQ survey did show very similar results with this same kind of gender variation.”
Friday, March 5th is the one-year anniversary of the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Colorado. Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver announced that in an effort to acknowledge what he called the community’s “collective grief,” Boulder will light up both the municipal building and Boulder Bandshell at Canyon and Broadway, as well as other city buildings including police and fire stations.
March 2, 2021
Coronavirus Cases Rise in Colorado
Cases of COVID-19 rose in Colorado last week — the first increase since the holidays. The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and the Environment reported almost 7200 new cases for the week ending Sunday. That’s up from about 6600 cases the previous week. The Denver Post reports that it’s not clear if the increase represents the start of another surge or a plateau. Vaccination rates are increasing but more contagious variants are spreading.
State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Monday says that overall Colorado is still doing okay in controlling the spread. So far, the state has identified 100 cases of the B 117 variant and 54 cases of the California variants. State officials warned against relaxing personal virus precautions.
March 1, 2021
Colorado Moves to Next Phase of Vaccination Plan
Colorado will move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan this Friday. About 1 million people will become eligible to receive a vaccine including those who are over 60 years old, and frontline workers in grocery stores and agriculture.
Governor Jared Polis announced the move into the next phase on Friday.
Also starting the end of this week, people age 16-59 with two or more pre-existing conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, or others will be eligible.
9News reports that People in the 60+ age group should go through their healthcare provider or a health system. State officials said they will provide an update this week with more information about the best way for this age group to sign up.
Meanwhile, the state’s goal of vaccinating 70% of those over 70 years old by the end of February was met in at least 21 counties in Colorado.
In Denver on Saturday National Jewish Health held a vaccination clinic geared toward this group.
Denver7 reports that some people over 70 have had trouble obtaining a vaccination appointment.
Over the weekend a third vaccine was approved–this one made by Johnson and Johnson. It requires only one shot. Governor Polis released a statement saying that the approval was great news.
Feb 26, 2021
Colorado Ending February With Improved COVID-19 Numbers
New COVID-19 data out from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as of Thursday shows the seven-day, moving average positivity rate decreased to 3.62%. At the same time, about 824,000 people have been vaccinated with one dose of the vaccine as of Feb. 24, and 411,000 have received two doses. Both vaccines currently authorized are about 95% effective and require two doses to achieve immunization. Colorado is approaching 6,000 deaths from COVID – with more than half among people over age 80; 24% of deaths occurred in people between ages 70-79, and 12% were in people ages 60-69.
Feb 25, 2021
COVID-19 Vaccine Inequity Continues to Challenge Boulder County
Boulder County Public Health Emergency Management Planner Chris Campbell revealed that community ambassadors will help educate minority communities about the virus and vaccinations.
The Daily Camera reports that the community ambassadors will be trained in vaccine safety and effectiveness. They will also support the minority community to find mobile and vaccine clinics.
Campbell said the key issues about the vaccine in these communities is that mistrust is deep-seated in political influence, the rush in creating the vaccine, side effects, and long-term effects.
BCPH Executive Director Jeff Zayach said that the county reported 64 new COVID-19 cases but no new deaths or hospitalizations and the county is trending down into the blue zones on the state dial.
The county also announced that the new mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics will provide less than 250 coronavirus inoculations a week for those with limited mobility, which includes those in independent living accommodations and mountain communities.
Information for residents with limited mobility in need of transportation to COVID-19 appointments can be found at the Boulder County website.
Feb 23, 2021
Vaccine Eligibility to Expand Next Week
Colorado state health officials announced today that starting late next week more Coloradans will become eligible to receive a vaccine. The Colorado Department of Health and Environment says it is expecting to move into Phase 1B.3 of its COVID-19 vaccination distribution plan “on or around March 5.”
Currently, anyone who is 65 or older, as well as first responders, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and those working with the public in health care, child care, or K-12 education are eligible for vaccines.
The new phase will open eligibility to “essential frontline workers” in the following industries:
Food and agriculture
U.S. Postal Service
Human services (including services to homeless populations)
Feb 17, 2021
Vaccine Deliveries to Colorado Delayed
The severe weather across the country has delayed the delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses that were expected to arrive in Colorado this week. The winter storm impacted a distribution hub in Tennessee, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Over 130,000 doses were expected to arrive between Tuesday and Thursday; but, the Denver Post reports that it’s unknown when they will get here.
The state health agency said it is working with vaccine providers and local public health departments to make sure appointments and clinics for the shots aren’t canceled this week.
Boulder County Cancels Wednesday COVID-19 Virtual Meeting
Boulder County Public Health canceled its weekly virtual COVID-19 community meeting scheduled for today. The agency cited a lack of new information to share.
The weekly virtual meeting is expected to return next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.
Boulder County yesterday reported two new COVID-19 deaths and 36 new cases. And officials said it’s uncertain if the weather could impact the next delivery of COVID-19 vaccine doses in the county. The University of Colorado Boulder announced on its dashboard that during testing on Monday, there were 12 positive test results.
Feb 16, 2021
COVID Hospitalizations Continue to Drop
Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to decline statewide. 462 people were in hospital Monday for confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The Denver Post reports that the number is the lowest for hospitalizations since Oct 19. Overall case numbers are also at their lowest levels since October. Many counties loosened some of their virus restrictions around business capacity in early February…but health officials say it takes two to three weeks after a policy change to see what impact it’s had on the number of people sick…so it’s too early to tell if the more relaxed rules will translate to more cases. Boulder County on Monday reported 17 new COVID cases and one death.
And state health officials have confirmed 67 cases of more contagious COVID variants in Colorado.
Feb 10, 2021
More Vaccines to Arrive in Colorado
Colorado will receive more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in its weekly allocation starting next week. Gov. Jared Polis announced yesterday that the federal government will increase the amount by 9,000 over a three-week period.
The Denver Post reports that the state was receiving about 70,000 does a week but has received more than expected recently.
So far, about 660,000 people in Colorado have received their first dose of vaccine and more than a third of those have received their second shot.
The governor also said he has rejected a request from the city of Denver to speed up vaccinations for people experiencing homelessness.
Mayor Michael Hancock and the city’s joint task force sent a letter to state officials last week presenting a vaccine strategy that would target people living and working in shelters, motels, managed campsites or unsanctioned encampments, no matter their age. The letter cited a hospitalization rate for people experiencing homelessness at three times that of the general population.
But the Governor did not approve:
Polis: “It would cost lives to divert the vaccine from people that are in their seventies to younger healthier people just because they happen to be homeless. We give the same prioritization for homeless as we do for any Coloradan who has a home. That is everybody who is 70 and up who’s homeless is already eligible. [They] should have been vaccinated. If they are 65 and up they are now eligible whether you have a home or don’t have a home.”
9News reports that homeless advocates in Denver are upset with what they believe is a lack of consideration for an especially vulnerable population.
Feb 9, 2021
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Decline Statewide
COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to decline in Colorado. State health department data released on Monday showed 535 people hospitalized for the virus in the state. That’s about a quarter of the people who were in the hospital for COVID-19 in December. But it’s still considerably higher than last summer’s low hospitalization rate.
There were also about 8400 reported cases of the virus statewide as of Sunday…the lowest weekly total since October. Health officials attribute the decline to people observing the recommendations on wearing masks, washing hands, and limiting face-to-face interactions. The reduction in hospitalizations and overall cases led to easing of some restrictions in Boulder, Denver, and other metro area counties. But officials warn that continued caution is required, particularly as new more contagious variants of the virus spread.
Feb 8, 2021
Metro Area Moves to Level Yellow
On Saturday businesses, including bars and restaurants around the metro area started operating at the less restrictive Yellow Level on the state’s COVID-19 dial. Establishments in Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, and Jefferson counties are now allowed to operate at 50% capacity up to a maximum of 150 people.
Eligibility for Vaccine Increases Today But Availability Limited
As of today, more than 400,000 people have become eligible for a coronavirus vaccination in Colorado.
People aged 65 to 69, workers in K through 12 education and child care, and a small number of government officials are included in what the state is calling Phase 1b.2 of its vaccination plan.
The Colorado Sun reports that these new groups add to the more than 800,000 people who are already eligible for a vaccination. This means that more than a quarter of Colorado’s adult population is able to get the shot.
But being eligible to get the vaccine does not mean one can get it – people need to have an appointment, and the supply of vaccines in the state is still limited. Colorado is expecting 90,000 doses to arrive this week. And, while the state is roughly two-thirds of the way to the goal of vaccinating 70% of those 70-and-older by the end of the month, that still leaves more than 100,000 people in that high-risk group looking for their shots.
The state has a list of vaccine providers by county, but people can also cross county lines to get vaccinated. Health officials have been encouraging everyone to sign up online instead of using the telephone, if able to do so.
Vaccination Event Overrun on Saturday
A COVID-19 vaccination event in Denver was overrun Saturday. It was focused on giving shots to people of color and low-income seniors in the neighborhoods around the National Western Complex.
Then Jefferson County Public Schools alerted 14,000 of its employees that 200 extra doses of vaccine were available to those who could get to the complex within an hour.
The Denver Post reports that hundreds of people rushed there. Traffic backed up at exits and into Interstate 70. Some people leaped from their cars and ran the final stretch to the building.
About an hour after the first notification, the Jeffco district sent another message, telling anyone who was not already in the building to go home. As many as 500 district employees may have received the vaccine.
Coors Field Vaccination Event Draws Thousands
Nearly 10,000 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 over the weekend in a parking lot at Denver’s Coors Field.
The drive-through clinic was open by appointment only to people 70 and older along with some remaining health-care workers.
UC Health spokesperson Richard Zane told 9News the shots were administered over 6 hours each of the two days, and he hopes the playbook that they and their partners created over the weekend could help future mass vaccination sites.
Governor Polis Announces Those 65 and Older and Teachers To Be Vaccinated Starting Next Week
On Friday, Gov. Jared Polis said that Coloradans 65 and older, as well as teachers and child care workers, will have access to the coronavirus vaccine starting a week from today.
Polis, said it was an “easy call” to move the age group up in line to receive the inoculation.
The Colorado Sun reports that people ages 65 to 69 were initially in Phase 2 of Colorado’s vaccine distribution plan, set to begin in the spring; however, they are now in a newly formed Phase “1B.2”.
The governor estimated it will take about two or three weeks to administer first doses to all K-12 educators who want to be vaccinated. School support staff, like bus drivers, will also have access to the vaccine starting next week.
Scott Bookman, Colorado’s coronavirus incident commander, said educators and child care workers will sign up to receive the vaccine through their employers.
Polis said 90% of health care workers and first responders have been vaccinated.
State Legislators Vaccinated
Colorado state lawmakers, their staffers and the journalists who cover them at the Capitol received early access to COVID-19 vaccines in January.
The Denver Post reports that the state sent 240 doses of the vaccine to UCHealth to vaccinate legislators and their staff, however the governor’s office does not know how many actually received the shots. A governor’s spokesperson said that the legislature’s ability to conduct its session safely as soon as possible is necessary to the state’s successful response and recovery.
Sluggish COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout in Colorado
As of Thursday, 410-thousand Coloradans had received one vaccine for COVID-19. Another 109,000 have had two vaccines. That leaves a couple million of eligible state residents without a jab, as new strains of the virus believed to more infectious are discovered. Colorado’s vaccination plan has three phases. Frontline healthcare workers were the first to receive vaccines, followed by Coloradans over the age of 70. Essential workers, including teachers and grocery store employees, are next in line, followed by Coloradans over age 60 and those with preexisting conditions. The general public isn’t expected to begin receiving vaccines until the summer.
Hospitalizations Dropping in Colorado
The Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment reported Monday that 706 people are hospitalized for the virus. That is about one-third the number who were hospitalized in early December.
New cases of COVID are also at about one-third the number reported back in late November. Although the declining numbers are good news, health officials cautioned that those numbers are still three times higher than they were last summer when cases were at their lowest. State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihey told the Denver Post that Coloradans need to continue with precautions while the push to vaccinate continues.
Boulder County Will Receive Less Vaccines This Week
Boulder County will receive fewer doses of the Covid-19 vaccine this week and the state reports that teachers and child care workers will be the first to be vaccinated among essential workers.
Boulder County Public Health reported Monday local COVID-19 vaccine providers will only receive 800 vaccine dosages from the state instead of the typical 3,000 weekly doses. Meanwhile, the county reported six new deaths, 56 new cases, and 10 new hospitalizations. The deaths were residents in their 70s and 90s.
The Daily Camera reports that no explanation was given for the vaccine shortage but that 800 doses will be enough for residents who need their second dose this week.
The same allocation of 800 doses is expected for the next three weeks but is supposed to increase by mid-February.
The Denver Post reports that the state has prioritized vaccinating people 70 and older but that the first essential workers to be vaccinated will be teachers and childcare workers.
The consensus about prioritizing teachers and child care workers in the essential worker groups was based on the importance of reopening child care, preschools, and K-12 schools.
If the state meets its goal of vaccinating 70% of the Coloradans who are 70 or older by Feb. 28, essential workers could begin getting their shots in late February or early March.
Vaccinations at Coors Field on Sunday
In a parking lot outside Coors Field in downtown Denver on January 24, about 1,000 people over the age of 70 received the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19.
The effort was part of a UCHealth drive-thru event that served as a practice run before a much bigger effort planned for next weekend when they hope to vaccinate as many as 10,000 in two days.
The Denver Post reports the vaccine is given to those with appointments, and others who show up are turned away.
The trial run went smoothly with traffic flowing steadily to 18 individual tents where drivers were vaccinated.
White Coloradans More Likely to Have Been Vaccinated
Meanwhile, state health officials released new data on Friday that shows Coloradans who are white are more likely to have received a coronavirus vaccine than those who are Black or Hispanic.
White Coloradans have accounted for close to 70 percent of those receiving at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine so far. That’s roughly equal to white representation in the state’s overall population.
But the Colorado Sun reports that Black and Hispanic Coloradans have been under-represented in vaccinations so far. Nearly 4% of Colorado’s population is Black, but they account for less than 2 percent of those vaccinated. The state’s Hispanic population represents nearly 22% of residents, but just over 4 percent have received the vaccine.
The numbers are incomplete because some vaccine providers had not been recording pertinent data. About 1 in 5 vaccinations have been recorded as having “unknown” race or ethnicity — meaning it’s possible the state’s racial and ethnic disparities could be even wider than the new data show. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has now begun asking providers to collect racial and ethnic information.
Governor Jared Polis said Friday that it’s clearly unacceptable to have this kind of disparity here in Colorado.
Local health officials have begun expressing concerns that communities of color are being left behind in the state’s vaccination drive.
The Metro Denver Partnership for Health is calling for the identification of under-vaccinated neighborhoods and expanding vaccination sites to target those areas. It also called for more tailored communication approaches to reach often-overlooked populations.
Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the executive director of the CDPHE, said her agency is working to do exactly those kinds of things. She said they are working to identify neighborhoods that could be “vaccine deserts” because they have no medical facilities or pharmacies where vaccines would traditionally be dispensed.
Boulder County reported 64 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, but no new deaths. CU Boulder reported there were 12 positive results found during Friday testing.
- Call the Colorado Health Emergency Line (toll-free hotline) for the latest public health information with reliable, consistent, and accurate information in many languages. The CO HELP numbers are 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.
- Coloradans can also visit the CDC and CDPHE websites for more information on best practices
- If you have upcoming travel plans, visit the CDC’s website for the latest travel information
- MORE RESOURCES HERE
COVID-19 Información En Español:
- Qué hacer si contrae la enfermedad del coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)
- COVID-19 propagación en la comunidad hoja de datos
- COVID-19 reducir el miedo y cuidar de sí mismo
- Viviendo y Trabajando con COVID19