News Bites – May 27, 2021
Total Cases: 26,566 (+202 from last week)
Total Cases in Berthoud: 1,205 (+9 from last week)
Deaths: 249 (+2 from last week)
14-Day Case Rate per 100k: 122.9
7-day case rate per 100k: 42.6
Hospital Utilization: 75%
ICU Utilization: 87%
7-Day test positivity rate: 2.2%
Risk Score: Medium
COVID patients in hospital: 20 (-9 from last week)
*Case data as of Wednesday morning.
7.32% of the population of Larimer County has been reported to have contracted the virus. Deaths attributed to the virus comprise 0.94% of reported cases. Of reported deaths, 26% were age 75 to 84 and 48% were 85 and older.
As of Monday, 343,923 doses of the vaccines have been administered in Larimer County. 62.5% of county residents over the age of 16 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Larimer County commissioners discussed new, stricter regulations being drafted for the oil and gas industry in the county during a study session Monday.
Principle planner Matt Lafferty and county consultant Matt Sura said the county anticipates it will publish a draft of the new regulations this week and set a hearing date by late July.
The state and new county rules require that oil and gas operations be set back 2,000 feet from homes and schools unless the developer receives a waiver from the residents living within the proposed radius or can demonstrate that their proposal offers protections that are “substantially equivalent” to a 2,000-foot setback.
Colorado’s absolute minimum setback from homes is 500 feet.
From the mid-1990s until April 20, 2020, oil and gas operations in Larimer County were a use by right in all zoning districts. Review of drilling and recovery operations in the county was conducted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). In October 2018, the Board of County Commissioners agreed that the county should develop regulations pertaining to oil and gas drilling operations. In 2019, the Board of County Commissioner formed a task force to guide staff in the development of oil and gas regulations. On April 20, 2020, the Board of County Commissioners adopted oil and gas regulations for the county.
Last month the Larimer County Board of County Commissioners voted to extend the moratoriums on oil and gas and 1041 Land Use Applications. The moratorium halting new oil and gas applications was extended through September 15 and the moratorium on 1041 land use permits was extended through December 15. A 1041 land use permit is a permit required for development involving areas and activities that have been designated to be of state interest.
According to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was flat in April at 6.4%. During the same period, the national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 6.1%.
- Colorado’s labor force grew by 8,900 in April to 3,197,300. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 7% in April, which matches the pre- pandemic Feb. 2020 labor force participation rate.
- The number of individuals employed in Colorado increased by 9,600 in April to 2,992,700, which represents 3% of the state’s 16+ population. While Colorado’s employment-to-population ratio continues to improve since April 2020, when it was 57.0%, it is still well below the pre-pandemic level of 66.8%.
- The Colorado counties with the highest unemployment rates in April were: San Miguel (10.0%), Huerfano (8.6%), Pueblo (8.6%), Gilpin (7.6%), Costilla (7.2%), and Fremont (7.2%). County-level unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and are directly comparable to Colorado’s April unadjusted rate of 3%.
Employers in Colorado added 17,000 nonfarm payroll jobs from March to April for a total of 2,690,900 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private-sector payroll jobs increased 15,200 and government added 1,800 jobs. Over the past 12 months, Colorado has gained back 247,700 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April of last year. That translates to a job recovery rate of 65.9%, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 63.3%.
The U.S. National Weather Service has confirmed the South Platte, where Larimer County is located is the only basin with above-normal snowpack remaining. From the State Drought Task Force Meeting: statewide snowpack peaked at 91% of normal this year, but varied widely from basin to basin. Most of Colorado has been observing earlier than normal snowmelt. The Continental Divide is serving as a “drought divide.” Eastern Colorado has had a cool, stormy spring, leading to major improvements in drought, while western Colorado has missed out on these storms and remains in extreme to exceptional drought in most locations.
The price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas has jumped to its highest mark since Oct. 2014, per new analysis from AAA Colorado – just as nearly 700,000 Coloradans join with the estimated 37 million Americans traveling for Memorial Day this year, most of them by car.
In Colorado, the price of a gallon of regular unleaded is currently three cents more than this time last week, 14 cents more than this time last month and $1.15 more than this time last year. Still, prices are well below Colorado’s highest-ever average, $4.09, recorded July 17, 2008.
The national average currently sits at $3.04 per gallon, up from $2.89 a month ago.
According to AAA the current average price of gas in the area is $3.05 compared to a week ago when the average was $2.99, a month ago $2.90 and a year ago $1.88.
Following collection of public input over three years and a recent exploratory electric motorized bike (e-bike) study on trails at Devil’s Backbone Open Space in 2020, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) will expand access for individuals with a mobility disability to use e-bikes as an “other powered mobility device.” Beginning July 1, the expansion allows individuals with a mobility disability to access all LCDNR’s paved and natural surface trails where bikes are allowed.
Additionally, LCDNR will continue to allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on all paved surface trails and will continue existing regulations to prohibit e-bikes and other motorized devices (except for those individuals with a mobility disability) on natural surface trails managed by LCDNR.
Factors taken into consideration for this decision included public comment and survey results, the public’s desire for greater accessibility for those with disabilities.
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