Headlines April 20, 2020

Headlines April 20, 2020

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    Headlines April 20, 2020 KGNU News

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On Saturday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis hinted that the state remains on track to reopen some parts of its economy a week from today after his statewide stay-at-home order expires.

The Governor tweeted that by keeping distance from each other, and wearing masks as we reopen from April 27th throughout May, we can avoid mass deaths that exceed medical capacity and devastating closure.

While the state’s stay-at-home order expires in a week, the city of Denver’s order is scheduled to end at the end of April.

Denver 7 reports that Polis is expected today to lay out a plan to reopen the state’s economy.

Last week the governor laid out a general outline with three phases: the first being the urgent portion we are now in; the second being a period of stabilization with testing; and the third would be the lifting of all restrictions.

In Boulder County Chana Goussetis – the spokesperson for the Public Health Department, emphasized that a key part of reaching the next step toward reopening is more widespread availability of testing. However, that’s still an unmet need and they still don’t know when that ability will be sufficient.

Goussetis told the Daily Camera that they have been working for weeks and weeks to identify who has tests, how many they have, and who is being tested. But what they see is very little supply mostly related to lack of swabs and the viral medium for the tests.

The plan, Goussetis said, is to have hospitals and clinics have testing available so residents can go to a hospital or their primary caregiver to be tested if they are symptomatic.

As of yesterday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports that 422 people in the state have died from the coronavirus with more than 1,800 hospitalized over the last month.

On Sunday protesters against the stay-at home restrictions gathered at the state capitol. Despite statewide guidelines to engage in social distancing and wear masks many failed to abide.

The Colorado Independent reports there were about 300 at the rally which brought together a range of people who defy scientific consensus, from anti-vaxxers to supporters of QAnon – a conspiracy theory that posits Washington elites are working against President Trump.

A reporter for Westword tweeted a picture yesterday of healthcare workers from a Denver area hospital standing in the crosswalk near the capitol temporarily blocking cars involved in the protest.

Today, independent contractors, self-employed and gig workers will be able to apply for unemployment benefits. The relief will come from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, known as CARES.

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website has instructions on how to file for a gig worker, or self-employed person if they have reduced hours or job loss.

The program is intended to deliver an extra $600 dollars weekly for all unemployment recipients and will be open to those who don’t have traditional W-2 jobs.

It looks like it will be a two-man race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in Colorado when the primary election occurs on June 30th.  Two other candidates failed to reach the 30 percent threshold to qualify for the ballot.

Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the statehouse of Representatives will face former governor John Hickenlooper. Romanoff overwhelmingly won the support of party activists taking 86 percent of the vote at the State Democratic Assembly that was held online.

The Colorado Sun reports that Romanoff will have the top line designation on the primary ballot. Hickenlooper did not participate in the assembly; instead he has qualified for the ballot through the petition process.

Romanoff said that the vote of the Assembly means that despite all the wishes of the Democratic Party bosses and party brokers in Washington D.C., the people of Colorado have a different idea.

The winner of the June primary will face incumbent Republican Senator Cory Gardner, who faces a doubtful primary challenge from Margo Dupre, a Colorado Springs real estate agent.

Tomorrow Boulder City Council may give proponents of city initiatives the chance to certify their petitions for the ballot through signatures provided electronically.

The possible change to the initiative requirements would be because the outbreak of COVID-19 which has made standard signature collection unsafe and ineffective

The Daily Camera reports that there are currently three petitions that could be affected: one would force local government to provide counsel for tenants facing eviction; another would redirect funding away from the city’s project to municipalize its source of electricity; and a third would loosen the city’s occupancy limits.

A proposed ordinance to be discussed by the Council tomorrow could be passed on an emergency basis allowing it to go into effect immediately. If the Council agreed, it would allow the use of electronic voter signatures to count toward the requirements to make the ballot.

 

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Colorado’s state epidemiologist, Rachel Herlihy said today that the state is working to reduce transmission of COVID 19 while at the same time increase the capacity of the health care system.

There are 10,098 confirmed cases of Corona Virus in the state and 444 deaths. However public health officials estimate that as many as 75,000 Coloradoans have been infected by the novel Coronavirus. That’s between about 1.3% of Colorado’s population.

Jill Ryan, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health, says social distancing will have to be maintained because widespread testing is not available.

Small Businesses in Denver may get some relief as the stay at home order is causing many to make tough economic decisions. That was one of the items discussed by Denver mayor Michael Hancock earlier today as he gave updates on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Hancock also announced that around 1,760 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Denver and that nearly 100 people have died. He cautiously reported that the COVID-19 cases appear to be stabilizing, and that two-thirds of the ventilators in the city are still available.

Two orders now in place, Denver’s stay-at-home order is to expire on April 30th and the public health/social distancing order is set to expire May 11th. Mayor Hancock said today that he feels that both restrictions will remain in place even after the expiration dates.

Mayor Hancock will be releasing more information about these restrictions within the next 7 to 10 days, emphasizing that there will be a slow phase of reopening the city to make sure of the public’s safety.

Addressing the homeless situation, Mayor Hancock said the city has secured 550 hotel rooms for the homeless. And the Denver Coliseum will be opening this afternoon with a 24/7 shelter for 300 women and transgender people.

He also added that $2 million for the small business relief fund is going out today. Businesses that are being impacted the most by the pandemic, like small restaurants, are first in line to receive up to $7,500. The next round of funding will be in May.


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