News Bites – September 16, 2021
*Total Cases: 34,175 (+973 from last week)
Total Cases in Berthoud: 1,556 (+108)
Deaths: 279 (+8)
7-day case rate per 100k: 229 (+47)
Hospital Utilization: 76%
ICU Utilization: 106%
7-Day test positivity rate: 6.4%
Risk Score: High
COVID patients in hospital: 80 (-4)
9.25% of the population of Larimer County has been reported to have contracted the virus. Deaths attributed to the virus comprise 0.82% of reported cases. Of reported deaths, 25% were age 75 to 84 and 48% were 85 and older. 9 people in the county between the ages of 25-54 have died.
As of Monday, Sept. 13, there have been 429,808 doses of the vaccines administered in Larimer County. 72.3% of county residents over the age of 12 have received at least one dose of the vaccine. This exceeds the county’s goal of reaching a 70% vaccination rate.
*Case data as of Wednesday morning.
Of the 10 most recently reported outbreaks in Larimer County 6 were at K-12 schools, 2 were at skilled nursing care facilities and 1 was a business.
Reps. Ken Buck (CO-04) and Jason Crow (D-CO-06) sent a joint letter to the Acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel last week, urging the agency to allow a texting option for the 988 suicide prevention hotline.
The proposal was made with the hope that by supporting a text message option, more young people experiencing emotional distress would reach out for assistance and support.
“… we appreciate the Commission’s work implementing the new 988 suicide hotline number. This three-digit crisis line number—which will be operational starting next year—will help millions of Americans access mental health and counseling services from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in their time of greatest need,” Buck and Crow wrote.
“As the Commission considers next steps, we urge you to adopt a text-to-988 option, which will expand the reach of the hotline and make these critical resources more accessible to individuals in crisis,” both Congressmen continued.
A law had already been unanimously passed during the last Congress to enact a 988 hotline option, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering the added stresses and mental strains of lockdowns over a potentially harmful virus, the need to expand access to counseling and outreach has become even greater.
“The COVID-19 pandemic compounded these trends and took a particularly devastating toll on the mental health of young people,” the letter reads. “During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, suicidal thinking and attempts among youth were up 25% over a similar period in 2019.”
In addition to Buck and Crow, all U.S. House members from Colorado signed the letter in support of the effort.
With the implementation of the Driver’s License Electronic Renewal By Seniors Act (HB21-1139), Colorado seniors now have the permanent ability to renew their driver license or identification card online.
Coloradans ages 66 and older can renew their driver’s license or ID online at myDMV.Colorado.gov or via the myColorado app.
The new law also adjusts the process for renewing driver licenses online. Now Coloradans who are older than 21, but younger than 80, must attest that they have had an eye examination within one year before renewing their driver license online. Previously, Coloradans had to attest to having had an eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist within the last three years.
Additionally, Coloradans who are older than 80 and renewing their driver license electronically will need to obtain a signed statement (DR 2402) from an optometrist or ophthalmologist attesting that the person renewing their license has had an eye examination within six months and the results of the examination. This statement will need to be uploaded as part of the online renewal application process.
Prior to the public office closures and under emergency guidance from Gov. Jared Polis, the DMV opened up online renewals to Coloradans 65 and older on March 10, 2020. From March 2020 to August 2021, about 136,000 Colorado seniors renewed their license or ID online.
By continuing online renewals to seniors, the DMV was able to serve thousands of Coloradans without the need to visit a State driver license office.
Coloradans who are concerned about an elder family member’s ability to drive should email [email protected] for information about a re-examination request due to physical or mental constraints.
The new law also allows more people to sign a permit holders’ drive time logs. Now the permit holder’s drive logs can be signed by a parent or guardian, or by a responsible adult, even if they were not the person who signed the soon-to-be drivers affidavit of liability. Requirements for drive time logs vary depending on the age of the permit holder.
The new law eliminates the previous requirement that the person who signed a permit holder’s affidavit of liability must be the person who signs that permit holder’s driving logs.
Last Friday the State of Colorado updated and clarified its guide for schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In the updated guidance, CDPHE recommends local public health agencies and school districts implement mask requirements for all individuals entering K-12 schools in Colorado including students, staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status or level of community transmission.
In a statement released by health officials, it stated, “This is especially important in settings where vaccination rates are low and where many students are not yet eligible for vaccination. Even when not required by local public health or a school district, staff and students may choose to wear masks. Schools and school districts should ensure that every classroom is a welcome environment for students and staff who choose to protect themselves in this manner.”
The update also provided additional guidance on improving ventilation. COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses are spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when individuals breathe, talk, sneeze, or cough. Improving ventilation by increasing air exchanges and filtration assists with the dilution of contaminants that might be present, including respiratory droplets.
There are a number of ways in which schools can improve their ventilation such as ensuring existing HVAC systems are maintained in good working order and run for at least 30 minutes before and after the building is occupied, adding HEPA filters to existing systems, or using portable HEPA filters. Schools without adequate HVAC systems may open windows to increase ventilation during the day. Outdoor activities are strongly encouraged, especially for higher-risk activities and mealtimes.
The guidance continues to recommend that vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure. Unvaccinated students can also avoid quarantine following a typical classroom exposure if both the infected individual and the exposed student were correctly wearing masks or participating in weekly screening testing.
In response to stakeholder feedback, the new guidance removes one of the community level metrics that previously recommended that quarantine for exposed students could be avoided if county vaccination rates were higher than 70%. Another metric, relating to school-level vaccination rates remains but was increased from 70% to 80%. If at least 80% of individuals age 12 and older within a school community have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, no one, including unvaccinated individuals, needs to quarantine following a typical classroom exposure to a case. In areas with low vaccination rates and high case rates, schools must work with their local public health agency to determine quarantine requirements when cases of COVID-19 are identified.
The state is offering a free and voluntary statewide serial testing program for schools and districts.
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