Headlines — January 12, 2022

Headlines Jan. 12, 2022

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Workers Begin Strike at King Soopers 

Thousands of workers at King Soopers grocery stores are now on strike around the metro area. Picketers began walking lines at 5 a.m. The work stoppage will affect about 80 stores.

Yesterday the union representing store employees rejected what the company called its last and best offer.

In a statement, Kim Cordova, the union’s president said that the company’s proposal was worse in many ways than its previous offers. She added that they are striking because it is clear that it’s the only way to get what is fair, just and equitable for grocery workers who have risked their lives every day just by showing up to work during the pandemic.   

The stores say they will be open by using temporary workers. 

The union is planning for a three-week strike, but 9News reports that some workers think it will be longer.

CU Boulder and Other Universities Require Proof of Boosters 

Colorado University Boulder announced that it will require COVID-19 booster vaccinations for students and staff before starting in-person classes currently scheduled for later this month.

In addition Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Western State Colorado University in Gunnison have made the same decision in response to the surge of the omicron variant.  Boosters are also required at CU Denver and CU Anschutz medical school.

At CU Boulder an email to the campus community explained that students and staff must upload proof of their receipt of a booster or apply for an exemption.  Those who have already received an exemption for the vaccine are automatically exempt from the booster requirement.

On the CU Boulder campus, school officials decided to delay the start of in-person classes until Jan. 24 due to the virus and the Marshall Fire.

Two Hospital Systems Say Majority of Patients Who Have COVID Weren’t Hospitalized Because of the Disease 

At least two hospital systems in the metro area are saying that the majority of their patients who are positive for COVID-19 are not hospitalized because of the disease. Both Denver Health and UC Health report that nearly two thirds of patients were admitted for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, but they were found to be infected after routine testing.

The Colorado Sun reports that this is a change from previous surges of the coronavirus, when at times 95 percent of patients were admitted for the disease. A recent study from South Africa where the omicron variant was first detected also found similar proportions of incidental COVID patients during the surge of that variant.

The Omicron variant is highly transmissible and has led to record numbers of infections. As of yesterday, the positivity rate across the state was nearly 30 percent. However, the variant is not on the whole producing less severe illness especially among those who are vaccinated.

Nevertheless, as of Tuesday there were 1,488 people in state hospitals with confirmed cases of COVID – a single day increase of almost 90 –  and the hospitals are trying to cope with the surge as health workers themselves become infected.

A spokesperson for Denver Health said that some patients are still getting very sick – especially the unvaccinated – and need a significant amount of care.

Schools Consider Remote Learning

Some school districts are preparing for either full or at least temporary remote learning for students. Last night the Douglas County School Board was scheduled to discuss contingency plans of shifting to short periods of remote learning.

KDVR reports that as of yesterday 11 schools in Denver were under precautions with two of them completely remote. And 125 teachers were out sick with COVID as well as nearly 360 students.

Boulder Wildfire Fund Distributes $3.8 Million

Over 57,000 people have donated to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, and almost $4 million has been distributed to families directly affected by the Marshall Fire.

Tatiana Hernandez, CEO of the Community Foundation of Boulder County said yesterday that the fund has received about $19.5 million; however, at a virtual press conference with Governor Jared Polis she added that it is still quite short of what might be needed.

Polis said that rebuilding for most families will take at least one to two years, with many closer to two.

Firefighters Visited Twelve Tribes Property Days Before Marshall Fire

A property that has been the center of an investigation into the cause of the Marshall Fire was visited by firefighters six days before it destroyed over 1,000 homes in Boulder County.

The Daily Camera reports that a trash fire on December 24, 2021, at the Twelve Tribes land near Highway 93 and Marshall Road led to firefighters visiting the site, but after investigating, the Mountain View Fire Rescue Crew left without extinguishing the trash fire because it was not illegal. A resident of Eldorado Springs told the paper that she saw a large unattended fire on the property and informed authorities she was concerned because of dry windy conditions that day.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the Marshall Fire, and it is not certain that it began on the Twelve Tribes Property.

State High Court to Review Dismissal of Boulder County Oil and Gas Suit

The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to review a case brought by Boulder County to block Crestone Peak Resources efforts to drill new well pads in Erie. The lawsuit was dismissed by a district judge which was later upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals.

County Commissioner Claire Levy said in a statement that it’s an important case because the rule upheld by the lower courts allows an operator to keep a lease in effect and avoid the expense of shutting it down. They hope the state Supreme Court will see that is bad policy for Colorado.