Headlines May 12, 2021

Headlines May 12, 2021

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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.

Aurora Public Schools Will Require Vaccines for Staff as GOP Seeks to Stop Employers from Doing So

The Aurora Public School system will require its staff to be vaccinated against the coronavirus for the next school year. Superintendent Rico Munn made the announcement in a letter to employees and added that some exemptions will be allowed under state and federal law.

Meanwhile, Republicans at the state legislature are pushing a measure that would ban employers from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their workers and customers. The bill is scheduled for its first hearing today. However, the Denver Post reports it faces an uphill battle with Democrats in control of both chambers of the General Assembly and also the governor’s office.

Colorado’s major universities will require vaccines for students and faculty in the fall, and some businesses are making patrons show proof of vaccination for indoor dining.

Boulder City Council Hears about Vaccinations for Children 12 to 15 Years Old

A final decision on whether to offer Colorado kids between the ages of 12 and 15 COVID-19 vaccinations is expected today following a meeting by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Speaking to the Boulder City Council last night, Lexi Nolen, Acting Director of the County’s Public Health Department, said if the CDC moves forward, kids in the 12 to 15 category would receive the Pfizer vaccine. Previously, only those 16 and older were eligible for the two-dose vaccine. Boulder County’s positivity rate for COVID-19 continues to decline, but Nolen noted it’s not uniform across the state.

“Our positivity rate is at 3.1 percent which is down from about 5 percent a month ago,” says Nolen. “There are a few counties across Colorado are still in Red, in what used to be the Red level on the dial with greater than 10 percent positivity.  Colorado has been over the past few weeks experiencing a case surge that put us among the second-highest states U.S. States after Michigan in terms of case rates.  So we are coming down off of that spike and declining quickly but we still have some work to do looking across the state.”

Nolen reported 21 new cases of COVID in Boulder County as of yesterday, and said local hospitalizations are flat, with no new deaths, which stand at 255.

Right now the statewide indoor mask order remains in place through June 2nd.  We’ll have more on the Boulder City Council meeting coming up.

Boulder County Public Health Appoints First Latina as Director

Yesterday Boulder County Public Health appointed the first Latina to lead the department as its new executive director.

Camille Rodriguez will assume the position early next month. There were more than 60 applicants for the position and two finalists, according to the Daily Camera.

Most recently, Rodriquez served as a county administrator and as a local health department director in Illinois.

CU Boulder and Other Institutions to Receive Emergency Funding

More than $100 million is coming as emergency funding for colleges and students in the state’s 2nd congressional district. Congressman Joe Neguse – Democrat from Lafayette– made the announcement in a release yesterday. The funding will help institutions cope with the financial fallout from the pandemic and allow them to serve students safely.

At least half of the funding each institution receives will be distributed in the form of emergency cash grants to students who are facing hunger, homelessness, and other hardship.

C.U. Boulder will receive more than $51 million under the American Rescue Plan, with over $25 million set aside for financial aid for students.

Lawsuit Challenge Boulder’s Plans to Fund Trail Connections

A group of environmental advocates and health care workers have filed a lawsuit against Boulder over the connection to the Rocky Mountain Greenway. The City Council decided in April that it would move forward with its plan to participate in a grant to fund an underpass at Colo. 128.

The suit alleges that the city should have considered other alternatives and held a public hearing before it agreed to move forward with plans to fund trail connections into the Rocky Flats refuge, site of the former nuclear weapons production facility.

The complaint, filed by Physicians for Social Responsibility Colorado, the Environmental Information Network and biologist Harvey Nichols, names the city of Boulder and all Boulder City Councilmembers as defendants.

Attorney Randall Weiner said the goal of the suit would be to have Boulder develop a connection to the Rocky Mountain Greenway that altogether avoids Rocky Flats.