News Bites – October 15, 2020
****Colorado had the highest number of new recorded cases of COVID-19 reaching 1,048 Monday since the height of the pandemic back in April. The new wave of cases has state officials concerned as we head toward the holiday season that combined with other seasonal illnesses it may reduce hospital capacity.
For both the seven-day moving average of cases reported as well as the two-week cumulative incidence per 100,000 people have been trending upward. Hospitalizations have decreased slightly which officials attributed to younger patients making up the majority of new cases as well as new therapies being used to care for patients. Most patients who are testing positive for the virus do not need to be hospitalized. Those who do tend to not get sick enough to require hospitalization until around Day Seven to 10 of their illness which also puts a delay on the impact to hospitals.
At a press conference Tuesday Gov. Jared Polis said, “This is a critical juncture…we have to be able to get this under control…” and encouraged residents to once again reduce the number of people they are in close contact with, wear masks and wash their hands. “If we are successful in controlling this in the next few weeks, it will set the state up for further success,” he continued.
Tuesday the state reported 967 new cases. The overall state positivity rate has reached 6.37% which is another red flag for health officials as it exceeds the recommendation from the World Health Organization to keep that rate below 5% indicating that community spread is being kept in check. Polis confirmed that the majority of those cases are coming from Denver and Adams County.
****Larimer County Department of Health and Environment is working with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to update the classification of active outbreaks and individual cases at CSU into a single outbreak.
The number currently reported on CDPHE’s outbreak report represents a combination of all active outbreaks and positive cases affiliated with the University since Aug. 24 when students started classes. This includes the most recently reported outbreaks among athletics and Greek life. CSU and LCDHE are currently analyzing the number of COVID cases known to the University.
“CSU does not have a new single large outbreak of COVID-19. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has combined all single cases and outbreaks affiliated with the University to allow for more efficiency in case investigation and reporting,” says Tom Gonzales, Larimer County Public Health Director. “CSU, in collaboration with LCDHE, has been effective in suppressing and mitigating the spread of COVID-19 and will continue to work together to minimize illness in our community.”
It is important to recognize that this change in reporting does not indicate that CSU is the source of spread. This number could include individuals who are taking online classes and live in Larimer County, but who have not been on a campus. This could include professional development courses or other online instruction offered by the university.
**** Berthoud has 86 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up three from the past week. Larimer County as of Oct. 14, has had 3,079 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases which represent 0.86% of the population, this is an increase of 281 cases with an additional 479 suspected cases. 54 deaths are attributed to the virus, no increase from last week and representing 1.75% of reported cases. The risk score for Larimer County rose slightly but remains at a medium risk due to the number of days in the past two weeks that have had more than 15 news cases reported per day and the 14-day case rate per 100,000 residents which jumped to 154. ICU utilization is at 88%. There are currently 20 patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus in the county. Hospital utilization is 71%. Of those individuals who have been tested for the virus in the county, 3.3% have returned positive.
Weld County has had 5,215 confirmed cases which is an increase of 209 from last week. The county has seen 100 deaths associated with the virus an increase of 2 from last week. There are currently 61 individuals hospitalized in the county who have tested positive for the virus.
****Tuesday Xcell Energy Foundation announced that in conjunction with a state initiative to help restaurants continue doing business it would be investing an initial donation of $500,000 into improving the overall capacity for restaurants around the state by providing resources to utilize outdoor spaces during the winter months. A representative of the foundation announced the single largest gift the company has presented in their history at a press conference along with Gov. Jared Polis.
Polis encouraged the public to continue supporting restaurants in the local communities even if it was by picking up food to-go. “The health of our restaurant industry is essential to our state’s recovery into our way of life,” he said.
The Colorado Restaurant Association reports that 65% of restaurants will close within six months if the situation does not change The organization announced it’s working with groups made up of architects and engineers to design and build low-cost and quick options for outdoor dining suitable for the winter months.
The initiative will also be raising funds to distribute to eligible restaurants toward designing and building their outdoor winter dining spaces. Funds can be used toward design, construction, applicable fees and supplies like permit fees, tents, fire pits and heaters. Grants will be distributed through the Colorado Restaurant Foundation’s non-profit that serves as the philanthropic arm of the Colorado Restaurant Association.
For more information or to donate visit COOutdoorDining.org.
**** The Cameron Peak Fire is now considered 56% contained. Due to extreme fire weather however new voluntary and mandatory evacuations have been issued. The fire is now considered the third largest fire in Colorado history as it has now reached 134,960 acres or approximately 211 square miles. Evacuation areas include Masonville and Drake along Highway 34 northwest of Berthoud. On Wednesday officials said there were two areas of primary concern as winds are expected to continue. A spot fire has established on the northeast end of the fire, south of Bellaire Lake. Firefighters are using heavy equipment to contain the spot before it crosses Manhattan Road. On the southeast side of the fire near the Colorado State University Mountain Campus, the fire has pushed to the east 5-10 miles. It has crossed Pingree Park Road and is established in the Buckhorn drainage moving toward Stove Prairie. In this area fire personnel will be working on structure protection to the extent that it is safe to do so. Officials are warning that the situation will be rapidly changing as winds will continue to be an issue. For current evacuation information visit nocoalert.org.
****The red flag weather conditions Friday and Saturday, Oct. 9 and 10, created some significant fire behavior in the Comanche Peak area. The fire stood up early and threatened the Hourglass Reservoir neighborhood and the Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp. The fire activity prompted mandatory evacuations before 6 a.m. Friday for the Pingree Park and Monument Gulch areas. Mandatory evacuations were also ordered for the Buckhorn area by 8 a.m.
Multiple local firefighting agencies responded and used hose lines, back burning operations and dug
handline to protect homes and other structures. The following agencies worked together for two days in
extreme fire behavior.
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Services
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office Initial Attack Module
Larimer County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team hand crew
Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department
Wellington Fire Protection District
Berthoud Fire Protection District
Loveland Fire Rescue Authority
Poudre Fire Authority
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