COLORADO SPRINGS — Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Friday, April 16.
If you'd like to read the full story, be sure to click on the story headline.
Southern Colorado had snow, rain, and even thundersnow Thursday afternoon and evening! Snow will continue to push south and east across the plains through the morning, but some of the heaviest reported snow accumulation came through Teller and El Paso counties.
Snow will clear the region through the morning with more light snow showers and flurries over the higher mountains and valley west of I-25. We could see brief snow showers and flurries in the I-25 corridor, mainly in El Paso county and down near Walsenburg and Colorado City.
Temperatures tonight will get very cold as the winds die down with lows hitting the mid-20s by Saturday morning.
Be prepared for delays due to the slick roads and multiple crashes on major roads.
The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment ends the statewide COVID-19 dial and is handing over decisions about COVID restrictions to local agencies.
The color-coded dial framework has been used since September to create a uniform set of rules regarding capacity limits businesses and employers across the state.
CPDHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France said several factors led to the decision to give more authority to local governments including:
- Adequate hospital capacity
- Increasing vaccination rates
- Low rates of growth of COVID-19 infection
- Strong desire from communities to be open
- Variation of case rates across counties
On Thursday, officials stressed that while the state moves to local control, Coloradans should not disregard the day-to-day actions that help slow the spread of COVID-19.
"I think at this point it is county-level decision making," said Dr. France, "I would imagine if cases and hospitals became full, because of cases, and there was a risk of overwhelming hospitals again then certainly the state will be looking at that and intervening to protect our hospital systems."
As the state gives control of COVID-19 rules back to the counties, Colorado will see different rules and regulations across the state. Click here to see the status of local counties.
As we work to Rebound from the effects of the pandemic, we know a lot of you have questions about vaccines and I took some of your questions straight to our state’s leader.
Governor Jared Polis touted the mass vaccination site at the State Fairgrounds in Pueblo as the first walk-up site in the state. FEMA is operating it and about a dozen others across the country. It helps bring more vaccine supply to Colorado because, with it, the federal government is supplying 22,000 vaccines each week. Fort Carson soldiers are helping administer vaccines at the FEMA site.
“We’re able to do thousands a day at these large sites,” Polis said, “It’s so easy. I hear from everybody 'I went there and was home in 15-20 minutes.'"
I asked him about Doctor Moma’s clinic in Colorado Springs. 4,000 people have to get revaccinated because the state health department said the vaccines weren’t being stored properly.
“They, like others (other clinics), self-certified they were doing the techniques,” Polis said, “saying ‘we are doing proper storage’ and everything else. It turned out they weren’t and thankfully we caught that.”
He said on top of the large vaccine clinics and pharmacies they’ve partnered with 1,400 sites, including 180 equity clinics, across the state to help provide more convenience. Polis said state health inspectors work full-time but they can’t be everywhere at once.
“2 million Coloradans have gotten their vaccine already, which is amazing. With an operation that large there’s bound to be issues. I’m glad the inspectors with CDPHE caught the issue,” Polis said.
As for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine that has been put on pause by the CDC and FDA to investigate rare side effects, he said if it were up to him, he’d keep J & J available.
Federal health officials have released information to News5 showing nationwide 5,800 people who were vaccinated still got COVID-19.
These are known as breakthrough infections and health officials say they were expected since none of the vaccines are 100% effective. Overall, the number of vaccinated people testing positive for COVID-19 is very small.
The CDC numbers sent to News5 show that within more than 76 million people who are fully vaccinated, the CDC knows of 5,800 cases of breakthrough infections. It reports 29% percent of those people were asymptomatic, 65% percent were female, and 40% of infections were people over the age of 60.
Of those 5,800 breakthrough infection cases where people were vaccinated and still got COVID-19, the CDC reports 74 people died and 396 were hospitalized.
Our News 5 Investigates team is looking into why a patient was given two different versions of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As we discovered, this goes against guidance from the Pueblo Health Department and the CDC.
Mixing vaccines is only in clinical phases right now. The practice has not been approved from general distribution in the United States.
Cassidy Garcia received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Pueblo Mall on March 11---just before the vaccine site moved to a new location on the state fairgrounds.
"When I went to get my next vaccine, they had said that I was supposed to get the Moderna vaccine," Garcia said. "I told them that my card said Pfizer and I'm sure I got Pfizer and they said it says I got Moderna in their system and that's what they're going to give me."
Cassidy reluctantly got the vaccine and produced her card showing News 5 that she in fact received one dose of Pfizer and one dose of Moderna.