News Bites – July 22, 2021
The Chair of the Larimer County Board of Commissioners made a declaration of disaster emergency on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, due to the current and anticipated impacts from the dangerous post-fire, flash flooding, debris flows and mudflows in the Cameron Peak Burn Scar. The declaration will be considered for ratification by the full Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
On July 20, 2021, flooding in the Poudre Canyon above Rustic caused multiple mudslides and debris flows on Highway 14, the largest near Black Hollow Road. A significant amount of debris was sent into the canyon resulting in the death of an adult female. Three other adults remain missing.
The flooding impacted multiple structures in the area. Damage assessment crews have begun assessing the damage to those structures, as well as roads and bridges.
“By declaring a disaster, Larimer County can activate our local Emergency Operations Plan to respond proactively to this emerging event,” said Lori Hodges, Director of the Larimer County Office of Emergency Management. “It also allows us to access local disaster policies as well as state and federal resources as needed during this event.”
The public can access information about the fire in the following ways:
- Follow the Sheriff’s Office on Facebook or Twitter (#blackhollowflood)
- Visit larimer.org/poudre-canyon-flooding
- Sign up for emergency alerts at nocoalert.org
- SMS updates from nocoalert.org text LCEVAC to 888777 or FLOOD2021 to 888777
- Recovery resources for those impacted by the 2021 flooding in the burn scar and the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire: larimer.org/emergency/recovery/wildfire-resources
A report requested by Congressman Joe Neguse to investigate the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) point of contact system and answer questions surrounding an April 2019 incident in Colorado was released this week. Congressman Neguse sent a bipartisan letter to the DOJ Inspector General in July 2019, shortly after a Floridian woman traveled to Colorado and was able to purchase a gun she would not have been eligible to purchase in her home state. The report finds that the NICS background check system doesn’t automatically verify whether out-of-state gun buyers also meet the age eligibility in their home state. The report also states that the FBI will begin considering possible changes in the NICS system to catch age disparities.
“The April 2019 incident that led schools across the Front Range to be shut down was deeply frightening for our communities. We’ve been working to find answers as to how this incident was able to happen and to fix holes in the background check system to ensure nothing like this can happen again,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “I am incredibly grateful to the FBI for heeding our request and completing this audit into Colorado’s point of contact system. The report’s findings give us insight into how these failures can be addressed so we can implement regulatory and legislative changes to better protect our communities in the future.”
Colorado, like several other states, serves as a state POC and conducts background checks using state and federal records and databases. While use of state records in addition to federal records should, in theory, make a state POC check more thorough than a federal FBI check, studies have shown that a larger number of individuals failed a federal background check than state POC background checks. A 2018 Government Accountability Office report found there were approximately 112,000 denials on approximately 8.6 million FBI background checks in fiscal year 2017, but only approximately 69,000 denials on approximately 17 million POC background checks.
Tuesday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released new P-12 school guidelines as teachers, students, and staff prepare for the 2021-2022 school year. CDPHE will adopt and clarify school guidance released this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and is providing a practical guide for schools, parents, and students on how to operationalize the CDC guidance in the state’s education settings.
“We want to make sure that schools remain a safe place, and this plan outlines ways to reduce potential transmission of COVID-19 in the school setting, while facilitating in-person learning,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
Colorado has adopted a guidance model designed to empower local public health and local leaders to protect their communities using the mitigation strategies most appropriate to local conditions. The guidance does not constitute statewide requirements, but instead outlines evidence-based best practices for local governments and schools to manage the next stage of the pandemic.
In addition to vaccination, the state continues to recommend a layered approach of best practices to COVID-19 prevention. These best practices are described in detail in the Back to School Roadmap, and include ventilation, maximization of outdoor activities, mask wearing, testing, spacing, cohorting, symptom screening, cleaning and disinfecting, and handwashing.
“Our data demonstrate a clear association between Colorado’s increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates and decreasing case, hospitalization, and death rates,” said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. “Yet our unvaccinated Coloradans remain vulnerable to the new variants, especially the Delta variant, which appears to be more likely to make young people ill than previous variants. Because many students have yet to be vaccinated and students under 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine, we must continue to remain vigilant, take important mitigation steps that can reduce transmission of COVID-19, and address outbreaks in a safe and thoughtful manner.”
In a statement released from CDPHE it stated that “Colorado’s best defense against COVID-19 is increased vaccinations, as vaccination prevents disruptions to in-person learning.” The statement continued by saying fully vaccinated staff and students won’t have to miss school due to quarantine and fully vaccinated staff and students do not have to wear masks unless they choose to.
CDPHE says that vaccines have been highly successful at preventing transmission, infections, and deaths from COVID-19. The back-to-school guide includes ways that CDPHE can partner with schools and school districts to host vaccination clinics and increase our defense against this virus. Children’s risk of contracting COVID-19 is greatly reduced when they live in a household where all eligible individuals are fully vaccinated, even if the children are not yet eligible for vaccination
Larimer County Covid-19 Data:
Total Cases: 27,874
Total Cases in Berthoud: 1,247
7-day case rate per 100k: 50
Hospital Utilization: 77%
ICU Utilization: 73%
7-Day test positivity rate: 2.6%
Risk Score: Low
COVID patients in hospital: 20
*Case data as of Wednesday morning.
7.68% of the population of Larimer County has been reported to have contracted the virus. Deaths attributed to the virus comprise 0.91% of reported cases. Of reported deaths, 26% were age 75 to 84 and 47% were 85 and older.
As of Monday, 371,016 doses of the vaccines have been administered in Larimer County. 59.7% of county residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. County health officials have set a vaccination rate of 65% as their goal.
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