News Bites – October 22, 2020
****Larimer County’s COVID-19 risk score has reached a “High” risk level according to the county’s dashboard. The dashboard uses information including the number of cases over 14 days per 100,000 residents, the number of days with more than 15 new cases and hospital and ICU utilization to calculate the risk to the community. Wednesday the dashboard showed there had been 171 new cases over the last 14 days. Tuesday there were 41 new cases reported over the previous 24-hours.
Another concerning number for health officials is the fact that 91% of ICU beds were occupied. Only 6 patients in the hospitals within the county were reported as testing positive for the virus. Currently the positive by day or PCR % is at 4, July 6 was the last date the PCR % had reached that level.
****Berthoud has 100 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up 14 from the past week. Larimer County as of Oct. 21, has had 3,451 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases which represent 0.97% of the population, this is an increase of 372 cases with an additional 488 suspected cases. 54 deaths are attributed to the virus, no increase from last week and representing 1.56% of reported cases. Of those individuals who have been tested for the virus in the county, 3.4% have returned positive.
Weld County has had 5,517 confirmed cases which is an increase of 302 from last week. The county has seen 102 deaths associated with the virus an increase of 2 from last week. There are currently 92 individuals hospitalized in the county who have tested positive for the virus.
****If the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise across Colorado the state could see hospitalization numbers topping those seen at the beginning of the pandemic according to state health officials.
At a news conference Tuesday, the state’s head epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy presented data and models that projected where cases might be in the coming weeks and months if social distancing rates continue to decrease and community spread grows.
The state’s current infection rate isn’t expected to overwhelm hospitals but Herlihy stated that if individuals choose to gather in large mixed groups over the holidays that situation could rapidly change. Hurlihy also said that based on the current trajectory it is projected communities will exceed hospitalization capacity by mid-November. “We have very little wiggle room there,” Hurlihy stated.
“We need everyone to take an all-of-the-above approach,” Hurlihy said when referring to social distancing, mask-wearing and limiting the number of people you socialize with.
Executive director of the state health department, Jill Hunsaker Ryan said her agency is working with county health departments to manage the spread of the virus at the county level.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 26 counties were reporting high enough COVID-19 case numbers that they could be moved to more restrictive levels on the state’s dial system. Counties are given 14-days to bring case numbers down as well as present a mitigation plan to the state.
**** The Colorado Department of Agriculture is making up to $1 million in grant funding available for Colorado farmers, ranchers, food hubs and processors to support them in adjusting to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the food supply chain.
Colorado agricultural producers are eligible for grant awards up to $12,500. Farmers’ markets, food hubs, processors, and other intermediaries that support producers are eligible for up to $50,000. Grant dollars were made available through CARES Act funds.
During the announcement of the program Tuesday, Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg said, “COVID-19 has had serious impacts on agriculture and underscored how vital our food systems are.”
Previous grantees include Star View Farm in Berthoud. “The funding couldn’t have come at a better time and pivoting our business model turned out to be helpful for us,” said Bryce Barker, Co-owner of Star View Farm. “It actually caused us to focus even more on what we want to do with our farm.”
The respond and rebuild grants will be administered by the independent Colorado Farm & Food Systems Respond & Rebuild Fund. Applications are open now and will be accepted through Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. To apply visit cofoodsystems.org/covid-19-response-fund/. Community members can also donate at the same website to help in the cause.
****The Cameron Peak fire is estimated to be 206,009 acres or nearly 322 square miles. As of Wednesday, the fire is considered to be 52% contained. Active fire behavior and rapid spread rates are increasing as humidity and wind increase. The fire is well established and is threatening additional communities. Structure protection will continue to be the primary focus over the next operational period. Higher humidity and the possibility of some precipitation through the weekend and into the beginning of next week may help slow the fire growth temporarily according to fire officials.
****The Calwood Fire that began Saturday, Oct. 17, west of Longmont has grown to 9,923 acres. A small area of Larimer County, southwest of Carter Lake, remains in the voluntary evacuation area for this fire. A Red Flag Warning is in effect for this fire until 8 a.m. Thursday. Winds are expected to shift coming from the southwest and increase to 15-20 mph with gusts in areas up to 30 mph. The fire is expected to continue to have moderate activity.
****U-Haul is offering 30 days of free self-storage to northern Colorado residents being impacted by the Cameron Peak and Calwood Fires.
“Many residents are packing up to evacuate their homes, creating an immediate need for self-storage solutions,” said Falisha Linguist, U-Haul Company of Northern Colorado president. “As a member of these communities, we want to offer our disaster relief assistance at no cost for one month. We urge our neighbors to utilize our secure storage to protect their belongings.”
People seeking more information about the U-Haul disaster relief program or needing to arrange 30 days of free self-storage should contact the nearest participating location.
Longmont – 970-535-6262
Loveland – 970-663-2707
United Way of Larimer County is accepting donations to support individuals and agencies working to assist evacuees and others affected by the Cameron Peak Fire. Burning since Aug. 13, the Cameron Peak Fire has grown to be the largest wildfire in Colorado history, claiming residences and other structures in its wake.
Community members can provide support in the following ways:
- Donate online to the Cameron Peak Response Fund at https://impact.uwaylc.org/CameronPeakFire
- Text “LARIMERUNITED” to 41444 to make a gift
- Purchase essential needs items for displaced families through United Way’s Amazon Charity List, available at bit.ly/LarimerCharityList
The American Red Cross has expanded capacity for this fire and is providing temporary shelter for displaced families. Unfortunately, the effects of this tragedy will be long-lasting, and financial assistance is needed to support displaced families as they rebuild their lives in the coming months and years.
When it is safe for community members to provide volunteer support, opportunities will be posted on United Way of Larimer County’s online volunteer resource center at www.NoCoVolunteers.org. Individuals interested in volunteering are invited to make a free account on the site, where they can choose to be notified when these opportunities become available.
To learn more about United Way of Larimer County and how you can get involved with your community, visit www.uwaylc.org.
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