News Bites – July 30, 2020

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

****Berthoud has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 an increase of 9 reported cases in the past week. Larimer County as of July 29, has had 1293 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases, an increase of 185 cases with an additional 356 suspected cases. 33 deaths are attributed to the virus, two additional deaths from last week. These numbers mean that one in 271 residents of the 350,362 total residents of Larimer County have now tested positive or are suspected of having the COVID-19 virus. The risk score, which takes into account data elements in real-time, including hospital capacity and new cases, puts Larimer County at medium risk, unchanged from last week. The main reason for the ranking this week is due to the number of new cases the county has recorded in 24 hours. Eleven of the past 15 days have seen more than 15 cases reported in a day. There are currently 17 patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus in the county. Hospital utilization is at 58% and ICU units are at a 61% capacity.  Of those individuals who have been tested for the virus in the county, 3.6% have returned positive.  

Weld County is still being considered at a high incidence rate by state officials as the county has reported greater than 100 new cases of the virus over the past two weeks. Weld County has had 3,462 confirmed cases and 92 deaths.

The State of Colorado is reporting that there have now been 45,314 reported cases of COVID-19 resulting in 1,807 deaths as of July 28.

**** During a press conference Tuesday Governor Jared Polis discussed Colorado’s response to COVID-19. Polis also commented on his dissatisfaction with officials in Weld County who are choosing not to obey the statewide mask mandate and other aspects of his public health orders but did not comment on if the state will take any actions against the county.

On par with most of the comments about mask-wearing that the governor has made, his comments Tuesday have been praised and criticized when he said, “No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid — but I’m calling on Coloradans not to be stupid.”

It was confirmed that 15 other counties, including Larimer that have received variances from the Safer at Home public-health order are in danger of losing those leniencies, like allowing larger numbers of people in restaurants and bars, because they’ve exceeded the benchmarks set by state officials.

***Thompson School District Nutrition Services has extended its food distribution service through Aug. 28, 2020, in response to school starting later than originally planned due to COVID-19. All children, ages 18 months to 18 years old, can eat free of charge. Each child will receive one hot entree, two breakfasts and an additional cold lunch. The location in Berthoud is located at Berthoud High School and food will be available Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to noon.

**** Senate and House Republicans have penned a letter to Governor Jared Polis, requesting a special session to tackle the issue of children returning back to in-person learning in the state.

The letter, delivered to the Governor was spearheaded by Senator Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs). It is signed by the entire Senate Republican Caucus and the majority of the House Republican Caucus.

 “The legislature needs to meet now to ensure that single-parent families and our most economically challenged parents have the economic resources to provide for their children’s education. We have solutions. We ask the Governor to call a special session now so that we can provide parents with the resources they need.”

Senator Paul Lundeen (R-Monument), echoed those sentiments. “The instinctive drive of parents to find the best learning opportunities for their school-age children transcends politics. We need to give them safe learning choices during our battle against COVID-19,” he said. Senator Lundeen is a member of the Senate Education Committee and is the former Chairman of the State Board of Education.

As of the press conference held by the governor Tuesday, there were no plans to meet the request by state Republicans.

**** The Colorado Democratic Party announced a virtual event completely focused on down ballot seats to serve as a voter education event. Calling it “Down Ballot Day,” the CDP stated that four panels would convene over Zoom to explain to voters the importance of the CU Board of Regents, the State Board of Education, District Attorneys and the Colorado Legislature. People will have a chance to learn more about what these offices do and how they impact their daily lives. They will also have a chance to get to know some of the candidates running for these positions in 2020.

“While we would absolutely prefer to have this be an in-person event, we’re making lemonade out of lemons and hosting a voter education event that voters from all across Colorado can attend from the comfort of their own homes. This is a chance for people to learn more about who is running and what these important offices do. If a voter skips these races on the ballot, they’re missing out on the chance to have a say in who represents them in their most local and approachable of government offices,” said Morgan Carroll, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.

#DownBallotDay will be hosted Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, and the first of the four panels will begin at 10 a.m. and continue into the afternoon.

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