Headlines April 8, 2020

Headlines April 8, 2020

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    Headlines April 8, 2020 KGNU News

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Colorado governor Jared Polis held a town hall on television and radio across the state on Tuesday night about the Corona Virus situation.

Polis was hopeful, but cautious about returning to normalcy, saying that when the spread of COVID-19 is no longer raging, the return will likely occur in phases.  Officials would need to remain wary of large gatherings for a while.

He said that stadiums full of people, and congregations of thousands going to mass – those types of gatherings will depend upon a cure or a vaccine.  And the process of returning to normalcy does not mean that restaurants and bars will open right away – with some being allowed to start at half capacity.

Also answering questions during the town hall, Betsy Markey a former Congress member, and now head of Colorado Office of Economic Development said that it’s important that residents practice social distancing, wear masks and stay at home.

She added that the worst thing would be to reopen too quickly and see a re-occurrence.

The Denver Post reports that state officials have said this week that the spread of the virus is slowing in Colorado.  However, the number of new cases increased to 261 on Tuesday –  40 more than Sunday.  And the number of deaths jumped to a daily count of 29, from 10 the day before.

The governor said that he did not believe Colorado would run out of ventilators as long as people continued to engage in social distancing.
He added that even if the situation improves in the state, full recovery especially in the travel industry will be heavily impacted by how other parts of the world are doing in combating the virus.

Both the Boulder Valley School District and the St. Vrain Valley district report that most students have shown up online to connect with teachers during the first week of remote learning –  with students confirming that they could access assignments.

The Daily Camera reports that officials said in the coming weeks they would look more closely at whether students are completing assignments and meeting district standards.

Other school districts in the metro area aren’t tracking how many students have failed to check in with teachers, or log in to remote learning programs. The Denver Post reports that officials in Jefferson County and Douglas County School Districts were unable to say how many students have not been reached by teachers.

Yesterday was the first day for remote learning in the Denver Public schools.  The superintendent said last week that they will work to take attendance daily.

Colorado criminal defense lawyers are vowing to continue their fight to advocate for inmates during the pandemic. Late last week the Colorado Supreme Court denied a petition by the State Public Defenders Office, the Criminal Defense Bar and Alternate Defense Counsel that sought the release of more inmates from jails.

They alleged that the response of the jails and courts in the state’s 22 districts had been spotty.

But without explanation, the court denied the request.

The Colorado Independent reports that the defense lawyers will continue to file individual motions in cases around the state.

State health officials say they will continue to regulate air and water pollution during the COVID-19 crisis, even as the federal Environmental Protection Agency backs off enforcement of many of environmental laws.

John Putnam, of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a statement that it would be unacceptable for them to allow companies to emit more pollutants into the air and water at a time when everyone is rallying to fight the spread of a respiratory illness.

The Colorado Independent reports that officials sent a letter to companies last Friday saying they will continue to enforce the laws aimed at preventing emission of greenhouse and toxic gases, and water pollution.

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Figures released today by the state health department show that more than 1,100 people are hospitalized for COVID-19 and 190 people have died in the state from the virus. Speaking earlier today, Governor Jared Polis said that despite the effect that the stay at home order has had, state officials expect significant loss of life due to COVID-19 in the days and weeks ahead.

With Passover beginning today and Easter this weekend, Governor Polis reminded Coloradoans of the need to stay home and not gather in community.

“For many of us, our faith and spiritual communities are absolutely critical for emotional wellbeing, especially in a time of crisis. Unfortunately, this year those plans are going to look a bit different than they have in previous years,” said Gov. Polis.

Reverend Amanda Henderson, Executive Director of the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado said faith groups are planning meaningful celebrations without endangering themselves with physical proximity.

“Even the Red Rocks service that’s normally held at Easter each year will be online this year. Shabbat services have been happening every week live on Facebook and many of my friends are sharing Passover meals online with family and friends. The Muslim community in Colorado has been hard at work making plans to be able to practice Iftar virtually and to celebrate their prayers during the month of Ramadan while being apart.”

At last night’s Boulder City Council meeting, concern was raised about the number of people visiting open space and mountain parks. City staff monitoring the trails reported that only 25 to 30 percent of users were wearing recommended masks.

The city’s Open Space Department is considering several options to reduce the number of visitors. They include limiting parking capacity at trailheads; weekend closures of targeted locations when the weather is nice and requiring one-way directional travel on several popular trails. Boulder City Council did not take action on those recommendations during the meeting.

You can find all our coverage of COVID-19 as well as resources and information online at news.kgnu.org.

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