Headlines April 26, 2021

Headlines April 26, 2021

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Vaccination Rates Still Lower for Latinx Population

People of color are still being inoculated against COVID-19 at a slower rate than their white peers four months into Colorado’s mass vaccination campaign. The lower rate occurs despite state health officials’ repeated assurances they’re prioritizing equity in distributing the shots.

The Denver Post reports that the racial disparity in vaccinations remains largest among the Latinx population. Only 9 percent of Latinx Coloradans had received immunizations as of Thursday, despite making up almost 22% of the state’s population. About 2.5 percent of Black Coloradans had received the vaccine, even though they make up almost 4% of the population. The persisting racial gap in vaccinations is significant as Black and Latino Coloradans have faced high rates of sickness and deaths from the coronavirus.

And while it’s only been three weeks since COVID-19 vaccines became available to everyone 16 and older, public health experts said the disparities are not only due to who was first allowed to receive the shots, but also because of existing barriers to health care.

In Boulder County, 56 new coronavirus cases were reported yesterday, with no new deaths.

Currently, there should be no problems for those in Colorado wanting to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Demand for a vaccine appears to have dropped off, opening up thousands of appointments for those wanting to be inoculated. A spokesperson for SCL Health told the Denver Channel it’s experiencing lower demand for the vaccine than their supply. SCL Health currently has hundreds of vaccine appointments available at its community clinics.

Nearly One Hundred Detainees at Ice Facility Test Positive for Virus

Nearly one hundred detainees currently housed at the privately-owned immigration detention facility in Aurora have tested positive for COVID-19. Congressmember Jason Crow’s office released the figures in a weekly accountability report. The individuals who have tested positive are “new arrivals from the border” transferred into the Aurora facility and are among those detained by the U.S. Marshals’ Service, according to Crow’s office.

Vaccination Rates Lower in Areas that Supported Trump

Meanwhile, the latest COVID-19 vaccination rates show that in areas of the state that voted for Donald Trump for president, vaccination rates are lower.

The Gazette examined vaccinations in zip codes combined with election results. The data shows that where the former president received a majority of the votes, about 35 percent of the population are either partially or fully vaccinated compared to 45 percent where Biden won.

Train to Boulder Advances

On Friday, the state agency working on a Front Range passenger railway system voted to support a route that could boost a long-delayed train to Boulder. The Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission is recommending a plan including Boulder and Longmont that would use a shared corridor northwest from Denver. Both the larger Front Range regional rail plan and RTD’s long-delayed extension of its B-Line commuter rail to Boulder County are still years from happening.

The Denver Post reports that earlier this month RTD’s board signaled its support for restarting the plans for the B-Line extension from Westminster to Boulder and Longmont. The move came in response to pressure from Gov. Jared Polis and other northwest metro elected officials to finish the line, as promised when voters approved the FasTracks plan in 2004.

Census Figures to Be Released Today 

The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release state population data this afternoon. The figures are used to determine how many congressional delegates and electoral votes in presidential elections each state gets. The Colorado Sun reports that most projections show the state will gain one seat, which would result in Colorado having eight members in the House of Representatives. Texas is likely to gain three, and Florida two. California, New York and a handful of other states are expected to lose seats.

Boulder D.A. Creates Domestic Violence Response Team

The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office has created a domestic violence response team. The Daily Camera reports that the team will establish contact with victims sooner in the process to help prosecute cases and provide survivors with protection and resources.

The response group comes in the wake of an increase in domestic violence cases during the pandemic.

D.A. Michael Dougherty said the primary goal of the team will be to establish face to face contact with victims within 48 hours the arrest of a perpetrator. In prior years, victims would talk to police and detectives, but might not be able to immediately see a prosecutor. Dougherty’s office has used money from a grant to hire a new deputy district attorney and a new investigator to serve on the team alongside another lawyer in the office.

Aurora Police Shootings Will Be Investigated by Other Agencies

The Aurora Police Department will no longer investigate its own officers’ shootings and will instead allow other law enforcement agencies to lead those inquiries. Aurora police will join the multi-agency teams of the 17th and 18th judicial districts, which both include Aurora. That means that the next shooting by an Aurora police officer will be investigated by police from other agencies in those jurisdictions.

The Denver Post reports the new partnership replaces an agreement between Aurora and Denver police that allowed the two agencies to investigate their own shootings.

That agreement came under scrutiny after outside consultants determined that an Aurora investigation into the death of Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora officers was deeply flawed.  The consultants, hired by the city, found that the detectives “stretched the record to exonerate the officers” and asked leading questions.

Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen said Friday that his department is also considering a new way of investigating police shootings. He would not give specifics about the new arrangement because it is not yet final.