News Bites – May 20, 2021
Total Cases: 26,566 (+826 from last week)
Total Cases in Berthoud: 1,196 (+38 from last week)
Deaths: 247 (+10 from last week)
14-Day Case Rate per 100k: 194
7-day case rate per 100k: 96 (-19% from last week)
Hospital Utilization: 73%
ICU Utilization: 80%
7-Day test positivity rate: 3.5%
Risk Score: Medium
COVID patients in hospital: 29 (-14 from last week)
*Case data as of Wednesday morning.
7.44% of the population of Larimer County has been reported to have contracted the virus. Deaths attributed to the virus comprise 0.929% of reported cases. Of reported deaths, 26% were age 75 to 84 and 48% were 85 and older.
As of Monday, 331,475 doses of the vaccines have been administered in Larimer County. 61.1% of county residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine and the county’s goal remains to reach 65% by May 25. 83% of county residents over the age of 70 have received at least their first dose of the vaccine and 79.3% of residents over 70 are fully vaccinated.
Larimer County and the Town of Berthoud announced on May 18 that they will suspend all local public health orders related to COVID-19 and will henceforth follow statewide guidance. According to press releases provided by both the Larimer County Economic and Workforce Development and Town of Berthoud Business Development Director, Walt Elish, “there are currently no local public health orders related to COVID-19. Businesses may implement their own policies so long as they are meeting the minimum requirements set forth by the state of Colorado.” A little more than a month ago, Colorado shifted to allowing individual counties and municipalities to set their own restrictions. This most recent shift, for Larimer County, returns to following state guidelines.
To align with these requirements, businesses may operate at 100% capacity and can set establishment-specific rules for mask wearing and distancing requirements. Colorado guidelines state that six-foot distancing is only required for gatherings of more than 100 people in public indoor spaces and does not apply to places of worship, retail establishments and restaurants with sit-down dining. Several large retailers, including King Soopers, Safeway and Walgreens, stated they will continue to require shoppers to wear masks, even though the statewide mask mandate policy was terminated and replaced with a “mask suggested” policy, especially for those who are not fully vaccinated. Mask requirements remain in place for specific settings, however, including schools, childcare centers, long-term care facilities and certain government buildings for staff and visitors are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated.
The commission tasked with redrawing Colorado’s congressional districts will use preliminary census information to begin their redistricting maps. This is unusual and could be struck down by the Colorado Supreme Court or result in legal battles.
The Colorado Independent Congressional and Legislative Redistricting Commissions both approved the preliminary data according to a statement from the commissions to give them the “best chance of completing their work and receiving valuable feedback without delaying the 2022 election calendar.”
Redistricting commissions staff and the Colorado State Demography Office have worked together to create the data set using the recently released state resident population from the US Census Bureau of 5,773,714.
Colorado will gain a seat in Congress starting in 2023 due to the rapid population increase over the last decade requiring the creation of an 8th Congressional District.
Once it is complete, the commissions’ data set will be publicly available, and interested persons will be able to draw their own maps using the commissions’ redistricting GIS portal.
The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission anticipates receiving a preliminary congressional map from staff by June 23. The Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission will receive preliminary State House and State Senate maps by June 28. Both commissions will review these preliminary maps and seek public comment on them through a series of public hearings held throughout the state in July and August.
The commission has until December to create a congressional map, which will be used in federal elections for the next decade, and have it approved by the Colorado Supreme Court.
The commissions continue to seek public input for the redistricting. For more information visit redistricting.colorado.gov/content/opportunities-for-public-engagement.
Rocky Mountain National Park staff are seeking the public’s engagement and input on the park’s long-range Day Use Visitor Access Strategy. This could include how visitors accessed the park last year by making reservations. “We are eager to continue engaging with our stakeholders and connect with park visitors from near and far, to help identify shared values, clarify key issues, and begin to develop potential management strategies to help the park prepare for our long-term day use strategy,” said Park Superintendent, Darla Sidles. “We hope to hear from current park visitors as well as those who have told us they no longer visit Rocky Mountain National Park because of crowding and congestion.” Public comments are invited for sixty days beginning May 21 through July 19, 2021.
Rocky Mountain National Park has experienced a 44 percent increase in visitation since 2012. Rapid growth in day-use visitation and changing use patterns in the park have degraded natural and cultural resources, diminished quality of the visitor experience, increased visitor and staff safety concerns, and created a heavy strain on the park’s facilities and ability to perform daily operations. The purpose of the Rocky Mountain National Park Day Use Visitor Access Strategy is to provide visitor access in a way that enhances the protection of the fundamental resources and values for which the park was created. The goal of the process is to identify strategies that will help protect park resources, offer varied opportunities for high-quality visitor experiences, enhance visitor and staff safety, and coincide with the park’s operational capacity.
The park is hosting two virtual public meetings regarding this strategy on Thursday, May 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, May 25, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The content is the same for both meetings, so participants only need to attend one.
Tuesday the state added a new visualization to its COVID-19 data dashboard to provide additional information regarding variant spread throughout the state. This update displays the proportion of positive test results that are confirmed to be variant strains of SARS-CoV-2 based on whole genetic sequencing of a random sample of positive specimens statewide. This provides an estimate of the proportion of variants of concern circulating in Colorado.
The Colorado SARS-CoV-2 Variant Sentinel Surveillance program seeks to detect community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their potential burden of disease. The program includes hospital and commercial labs from across the state. Each lab submits a weekly number of randomly selected PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 specimens to the CDPHE State Public Health Laboratory for whole genome sequencing. Specimens are collected from patients in outpatient, emergency department, and inpatient settings.
The CDC describes a variant of concern as one that spreads more easily, causes more severe disease, reduces the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or is harder to detect using current tests.
As of May 19 there have been 7,063 variants of concern confirmed and reported by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment with 469 currently being investigated.
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