Headlines – November 26, 2021

Headlines November 26, 2021

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COVID School Outbreaks Grow, Mask Mandates Expand 

The World Health Organization is meeting today to determine how to deal with a new coronavirus variant first found in South Africa. This comes as Colorado continues to struggle with its fifth wave. The number of outbreaks among K-12 schools has been rising.

State officials reported more than 300 active outbreaks in Colorado schools on Wednesday. Multiple Front Range counties reinstated indoor mask orders this week. Although outbreaks have risen, state officials report the case rate among school-aged children has improved in recent days.

State health department data shows 19% of five to eleven-year-olds have received inoculations thus far, as vaccines for the age group received approval earlier in the month.

State Health Department Opens New Booster Shot Sites

As young children receive their first doses of vaccines, more than 915,000 Coloradans or a third of those eligible to receive a booster shot have done so. The state’s chief medical officer, Eric France, says the health department will be expanding its booster delivery capacity by opening two new sites this weekend.

Xcel Energy Speeds Up Closure Of Coal-Fired Comanche 3 Power Plant

Xcel Energy has agreed to speed the closure of its coal-fired Comanche 3 power plant in Pueblo by five years, but there are stipulations. The facility is one of the largest remaining coal-fired power plants in the West, is to be closed by 2035. The Colorado Sun reports that the agreement with regulators is 5 years earlier than the original agreement but it will allow Xcel flexibility to add natural gas powered generation.

The plan is supported by state, local and union officials, but opposed by environmental groups who are pressing for a 2027 closing. Under state law, utilities like Xcel, must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% over 2005 levels, by 2030. The settlement agreement will cut Xcel emissions by 87% or more.

New Denver Ordinance Requires Electric Heating Source Switch

The Denver City Council unanimously approved an ordinance on Monday requiring owners of commercial and multifamily buildings to convert to electric heating systems when the current natural gas heating systems reach the end of their service life.

According to Denverite, the ordinance also requires buildings over 25,000 square feet to reduce overall energy usage 30% by 2030. Under the ordinance, large-building owners will need to replace natural gas furnaces or individual water heaters with electric heat pumps after 2025 and for systems that are more difficult to electrify, such as boilers and heaters, the city will require the switch after 2027.

Non-Fatal Shootings On The Rise In Aurora

The City of Aurora is experiencing an increase in non-fatal shootings this year. Data from the city’s police department shows non-fatal shootings have risen 136% since last year. The number of gun related homicides appears it will remain flat for 2021. So far this year, 135 people have survived shooting injuries in Aurora and 29 have died.

Colorado State Parks Offer Free Entry Today

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering free admission to all 42 state parks today. The agency is encouraging Colorado residents to spend time outdoors to escape the stress of shopping as the busy holiday season begins. This is the seventh year of the free entry event, which is dubbed “Fresh Air Friday.”