Headlines April 28, 2021

Headlines April 28, 2021

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Boulder Canyon Drive Closed by Rockslide

A major rock slide last night has resulted in the closure of  Colorado Highway 119 from its base in Boulder to the top of the canyon near Nederland. The slide included five truck-sized boulders, and happened during heavy rain and snow in the area referred to as the Narrows of Boulder Canyon Drive.

No one was injured and no vehicles were reportedly damaged.  CDOT said in a release that specialized rock teams will be brought in to clear the road, but the closure is expected to last well into today.

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.

Health Care Bill Advances with Amendments

Yesterday at the state Capitol, a health care measure advanced in a House committee, but it was substantially changed from what was once known as the public option bill. Now, the proposed bill no longer includes a state-run option but instead would force insurers to offer a standardized plan developed by the Insurance Commissioner and to cut insurance costs for consumers using the individual or small group marketplace.

The latest version of House Bill 21-1232, was rewritten following feedback from insurers and the health care industry. Now most of the top health care groups and organizations, including the Colorado Hospital Association, will take a neutral stance on the measure rather than opposing it.

Under the proposal, the healthcare industry is required to reduce premium costs by 6% per year, for three years starting in 2023 for a total of 18%. One of the bill’s sponsors, Dylan Roberts a Democrat from Eagle, said the change from the original bill’s 20% over two years is a major concession.

Colorado Politics reports that even with major concessions, the bill’s road to the governor’s desk doesn’t look to be easy.

Boulder Council Local Financial Update

The Boulder City Council heard yesterday that the city is in a better financial position than was expected at this point. But officials said that the coronavirus pandemic’s impact won’t be going away any time soon, and the city likely won’t be able to restore all of the services this year that have been cut because of the pandemic.

Chris Meschuck, Interim City Manager said that hard decisions will have to be made about what services or things that were cut can come back, or which are going to wait a little longer.

The Daily Camera reports that Boulder’s economic recovery continues to lag, and the city is concerned about some systemic shifts such a continued push to work from home that could affect restaurants, retail stores and other service-based businesses.