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News Bites – June 25, 2020

June 25, 2020 | Local News

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

****Larimer County as of June 23, has had 678 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 241 suspected cases. This represents an increase of 32 cases associated with the virus in the past week. 29 deaths are attributed to the virus. These numbers mean that one in 518 residents of Larimer County have tested positive or are suspected of having the COVID-19 virus. Larimer County continues to see the majority of cases in those between the ages of 25-44 although every age group from birth to 85 and over are represented.

****The State of Colorado reported 160 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. At the outbreak’s peak in April, there were 900 cases reported in one day. The Colorado Hospital Association has reported 141 people are currently hospitalized with the virus showing the continued downward trend in cases. Cases have fluctuated in the past two weeks but health officials say this is to be expected but is a reminder to remain consistent with social distancing, hygiene and proper hand-washing as well as wearing face coverings. As of Tuesday Colorado has had 30,893 reported COVID-19 cases and 1,455 deaths are attributed to the virus. The death rate has also fallen from 15% in March to around 10.5% in May.

****The World Health Organization reports that there have been 9,110,186 cases of COVID-19 globally including 473,061 deaths – roughly the entire population of Colorado Springs.

****Larimer County Public Health has released an online dashboard to help the community understand risk and COVID-19 data relevant to Larimer County. 

The dashboard highlights the early warning indicators that were included in the county suppression plan submitted to the state. These indicators, which include increases in cases, COVID-19 patients hospitalized and the percent of ICU and hospitalization are used by the Health Department to monitor the health of our hospital systems and COVID-19 case data. 

According to a press release from the LCPH residents have, “done a great job flattening, however, the curve does not go away.” The recommendation from state and local health officials remains to continue wearing face coverings, continue social distancing, handwashing, get tested if you feel under the weather all to help slow the spread of the virus in the community. LCPH warns that those precautions need to continue to allow the county to move forward without a surge in cases as restrictions are lifted. 

You can view the Larimer County COVID-19 Dashboard at http://larimer.org/covid-dashboard

**** Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has signed 110 executive orders since his first Disaster Emergency Declaration due to the presence of coronavirus March 11, 2020.

Five of the most recent orders were signed June 20. These include extending the order for, “certain workers” to wear non-medical face covering and providing discretion to “certain employers” to deny admittance to those who don’t wear a face covering and the disaster emergency declaration which will continue for another 30 days unless further amended. The order to extend the declaration increased the amount of funds previously made available to the Colorado Department of Public Safety by $6,700,000 for COVID-19 response activities. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment received an additional $12,600,000. The funds made available for response activities in this executive order were transferred to the Coronavirus Relief Fund sub-account of the Disaster Emergency Fund. $48,000,000 was transferred in FY 2019-20 and $157,000,000 at the beginning of FY 2020-21 from the CARES Act Fund to the Disaster Emergency Fund Coronavirus Relief Fund sub-account. For a complete list of the orders visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-in-colorado/public-health-executive-orders.

**** Gov. Polis signed a $30 billion budget Monday, June 22. The finalization of the budget happened later than it normally would have with significant cuts compares to last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The budget, which will take effect on July 1 contains 3% less spending than the previous fiscal year. Colorado lawmakers had a more than $3 billion deficit to overcome, much of which was accumulated during the spring months of this year. To try to compensate for those losses they chose to tap into one-time funds to make up some of the difference and began cutting spending including a $448 million cut fom K-12 education and $493 million from the state’s colleges and universities. House Bill 1420 was passed which eliminates corporate tax breaks and is hoped to free up around $180 million for next year. The cuts also suspend the senior homestead exemption, a property tax break for seniors and disabled veterans that amounts to $164 million next year; diverted $50 million earmarked for transportation projects and pulling a related bonding referendum from the 2020 ballot and eliminated a $225 million payment to shore up the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association, known as PERA

The situation was made less impactful this year as Colorado received federal stimulus money of around $2 billion through the CARES Act. Next year’s budget may prove to be even more difficult with continued economic impacts of the pandemic.

**** Major League Baseball is back. The MLB announced Tuesday that the 2020 season will begin July 23 or 24. Players will report by July 1 for training at their home fields due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Florida and Arizona where spring training generally occurs. Extra precautions will be taken to protect players and personnel from the virus. There will potentially be a 60-game regular-season schedule.

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