Headlines April 27, 2020

Headlines April 27, 2020

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    Headlines April 27, 2020 KGNU News

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Outside the Denver metro area, residents of Colorado can begin to shift away from the stay-at-home order announced by Governor Jared Polis about a month ago.

Shops will be able to open for curbside pickup, real estate agents can show homes and surgeries may resume as long as they follow safety protocols. Governor Polis has relaxed the month-old restrictions, but the new order applies to only about half the state’s population.

Residents of Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield and Jefferson counties are still under stay-at-home orders until at least May 8th. Officials in these metro counties are waiting until better testing and tracing of those with COVID-19 is in place.

In announcing his new relaxed restrictions for some in the state, Polis said yesterday that Coloradoans should still stay home has much as possible and wear face masks in public.

Last night the governor issued a six-page order outlining the new “safer-at-home” phase of the corona-virus crisis. Under this order, residents will not be able to recreate beyond 10 miles from their homes and cannot gather in groups of 10 or more.

He also ordered that retail stores can reopen for in-person shopping on May 1, as well as barbershops, salons, personal trainers and tattoo parlors.

On May 4th offices can reopen with up to 50 percent of their workforce, as long as they follow strict social distancing measures.

Governor Polis appeared on CNN yesterday before announcing his new executive order. He expressed worry about a second spike in illnesses as about half of the state begins the more relaxed safer-at-home restrictions.

Under the governor’s order local governments can revise their rules if they prove to state officials that their COVID-19 infection rates have declined over 14 days.

In spite of the Governor’s order, Weld County Commissioners are letting businesses decide on their own if they want to open. The Denver Channel reports that officials released their own guidelines, saying that the governor’s order cannot be enforced. Polis threatened on Friday to pull emergency funds from Weld County saying he will take whatever steps are necessary to protect the health of county residents.

In Boulder County, officials are not rushing toward the next phase of dealing with the virus.  On Tuesday, administrative leaders of the coordination and management center will meet to consider the way forward. According to Mike Chard, Director of the Office of Emergency Management, they will be looking at what needs to be sustained.

The total number of coronavirus cases in the state rose to just more than 13,400 on Sunday with the number of deaths climbing to 680. More than 2,400 are hospitalized with the disease.

This week, state lawmakers and budget writers will start reviewing recommendations for potential spending cuts across all agencies.  The Colorado Sun reports that the Governor’s budget office is projecting lost revenue of $3 billion for the current fiscal year and the next.

The possible cuts could be as much as 20 percent forcing hard choices for legislators that will impact most Colorado families. The challenge facing lawmakers is that the impact of lower tax revenues is expected to continue for many years to come.

On Friday, leaders of the union representing 3,000 workers at the JBS meat processing plant in Greeley announced that they had received a cease and desist letter from the company demanding that the union stop its campaign about JBS’s response to the coronavirus.

The company wants the union to denounce its statement that reopening the meat packing plant was a death sentence for workers and that employees might refuse to work.

In response, the president of the Union issued a statement saying that their members and the company have one common goal: to ensure that the plant is a safe place to work; but the union does not agree that it is safe at this time because all workers have not been tested, as promised.

Meanwhile, in Fort Morgan, the Leprino Foods cheese plant was shut down yesterday after a high number of employees tested positive for the virus including some asymptomatic workers.

About 350 work at the facility which will be closed for at least 5 days so all employees can be tested and the facility cleaned.

Almost 140 inmates at the Colorado Department of Corrections facility in Sterling have tested positive for COVID-19 – that’s more than half of those where were tested. Colorado Politics reports that several protocols have been implemented to curb the spread of the disease including increased cleaning by staff, an all inmates and personnel are required to wear face coverings and some inmates are having their temperatures tested twice a day. No deaths at the prison have been reported.

A judge has granted more time to advocates of restricting abortion to collect more signatures in their effort to place a measure on the November ballot.

Colorado Politics reports that the organization called Due Date Too Late will now have until May 15th to gather the required number of signatures. Earlier this month the Secretary of State’s office said that the group was about 10,000 signatures short. But the judge ruled that the law allows a cure period of 15 days, and he granted an emergency stay giving more time for circulating the petitions.

The state Secretary of State’s office has asked the Colorado Supreme Court to overturn a court’s order to place a candidate on the primary ballot for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Last week a Denver judge ruled that Michelle Ferrigno Warren’s name should be on the ticket to face John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff even though she had not collected enough signatures.

The Secretary of State’s office claims that the order is inequitable and unjust.  It is not known when the high court will act in the matter.


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Governor Jared Polis announced today that Colorado is joining other Western states in a regional pact that seeks to coordinate approaches to lifting stay at home orders.

The other states who are part of the Western States Pact are California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. The governors of all these states are Democrats.

The Denver Post reports that the pact operates under three principles: that health concerns come first; that health outcomes and science, not politics, will guide decisions; and that the states are more effective when working together.

Similar pacts have been made in other regions like the Mid-West and North East.

Many public health and government officials say a regional approach is needed due to interstate travel and commerce.

Free COVID 19 drive-thru testing is being offered at the Auraria campus in Denver this week.

The tests will be self-administered in people’s cars and will be happening between 10am and 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Approximately 500 people will be tested.

The testing is a partnership between the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center and King Soopers pharmacy.

People must register in advance at krogerhealth.com/covidtesting, where a virtual screening tool based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines will be used to determine eligibility for testing.

Testing remains an issue in Colorado. Last week Denver mayor Michael Hancock said that he would like to see 1000 people tested a day in the city before he lifts the stay at home order, which is currently expected to expire on May 8th.

Healthier Colorado and The Colorado Health Foundation today released the preliminary results of the Colorado coronavirus survey.

The survey launched Wednesday, April 15th and was completed on Tuesday, April 21st.

It gathered information from 1000 adults across the state.

Some of the key findings include:

Forty-three percent of Coloradans feel the worst of the coronavirus is yet to come,
Forty-seven percent of respondents said they or someone in their household has lost their job, lost income or had reduced hours at work.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said they preferred government policies that are aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus until more widespread testing becomes available, even if that meant many businesses will have to stay closed.

The full survey results will be released this Thursday.

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