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News Bites – March 24, 2022

By: Amber McIver-Traywick | The Surveyor | March 25, 2022 | Local News

Larimer County Commissioners last week voted 3-0 to pass a resolution imposing a temporary moratorium on the review and issuance of new licenses for marijuana establishments in unincorporated Larimer County to give staff time to review the policy.

The Board of Larimer County Commissioners is authorized to regulate and administer regulations for marijuana establishments within the county, and in 2013 the board adopted a resolution for licensure of retail marijuana establishments and to regulate and control the cultivation, testing, sale, use, and manufacturing of these establishments.

Current policy sets a limit of two licenses for four types of marijuana facilities — retail store, retail cultivation, products manufacturing, and testing. There are currently four active licenses in unincorporated Larimer County, two for retail sales and two for cultivation facilities.

According to the county, these establishments can have impacts on public health, safety, and the welfare of the community. A cultivation license may become available soon, the temporary moratorium will allow time for the county to examine the licensing process while also engaging with the public and stakeholders before issuing new licenses.

“It’s been a while, and I think it’s good practice to look at regulations after a certain amount of time to ensure they align with community values and this is what our community wants,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens.

The moratorium on issuing licenses became effective on March 15 and remains in effect until Jan. 15, 2023, or unless it is repealed earlier than that date. The moratorium does not apply to any current holders of licenses, ensuring current operators may renew their licenses.

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Last week the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment introduced a new School COVID-19 Vaccination Data dashboard displaying COVID-19 vaccination rates for kindergarten through 12th grades at the school district and school levels. As of March 22, 35.9% of students in the Thompson School District are indicated through the dashboard as having been fully vaccinated.

CDPHE and Colorado Department of Education entered into an interagency data sharing agreement in January 2022 that permitted CDE to share student directory information for students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12th grades at Colorado public schools during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. This data sharing agreement maintains individual confidentiality by ensuring any publicly shared data remains aggregate so as to protect student personally identifiable information.

CDPHE matched 2021-2022 CDE student directory information with patient immunization records within the Colorado Immunization Information System (CIIS) using first name, last name, and date of birth. Approximately 96% of the 855,621 student records were successfully matched with an existing patient record in CIIS.

COVID-19 is not a school-required vaccine in Colorado so schools are not required to collect COVID-19 vaccination information. COVID-19 vaccination coverage rates at the school district, school, and grade levels vary, and CDPHE created this dashboard to help parents/guardians/caregivers, educators, and school staff make informed decisions about other potential mitigation practices they may want to consider for their children and/or themselves, including continued indoor masking and physical distancing. This is especially important for parents of children with weakened immune systems and educators/school staff with immunocompromising conditions who have daily contact with students.

CDPHE will update this dashboard on a weekly basis as more kids get vaccinated and doses are reported to CIIS. Once a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for children younger than 5, CDPHE will also update the dashboard to include COVID-19 vaccination rates for pre-kindergarten-age kids.

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The COVID-19 BA.2 variant, also known as “stealth Omicron,” has been detected in Denver in both wastewater and human specimens. At this time, based on current data and projections from federal and state partners, health officials are not concerned about a surge in cases as seen with previous COVID-19 variants. Trends in data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate there likely won’t be a surge in cases as seen with the previous variant because of environmental factors, low overall transmission and community behavior. While there may be increases in the percentage of cases identified as the BA.2 variant, health officials anticipate low transmission as a result of both increased vaccination rates and natural immunity from recent infections from the Omicron variant.

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