COLORADO SPRINGS — With so much information being announced daily about the COVID-19 pandemic, here is a review and preview of what is going on in Southern Colorado as it pertains to the virus:
We saw more encouraging news this last week on the COVID-19 front, most notably more and more people are getting vaccinated although patience remains the keyword for those 70 and older.
As this process remains a circumstance of supply and demand, the priority remains for high-risk and moderate-risk healthcare workers and first responders. But, a process is underway for those over 70 to at least connect to the vaccine distribution system with county health departments.
In Pueblo, the county health department announced Friday it will host the first vaccine clinic for those 70 and older on Monday, Jan. 11, at the Pueblo Mall. The Pueblo Health Department also launched a vaccine notification system for Puebloans 70 and older to alert them of vaccination clinics.
We also had our first week for most southeastern Colorado counties moving from Red on the state COVID dial back to Orange, allowing restaurants to being indoor dining again with limited capacity. And some counties are pursuing the 5-Star variance program that could improve capacity limits for some, but there remain questions about its cost and practicality.
An agreement this week between the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the ACLU, addressing the issues related to a major outbreak of COVID at the county jail and a 90-day effort to improve the treatment of inmates with mandatory mask distribution, temperature checks and medical attention.
Two local school districts are now a part of a month-long program, utilizing 15-minute rapid COVID tests. Those two districts being D70 in Pueblo and District 2 in Colorado Springs. The districts hope, if effective, it could result in students and teachers returning to class sooner.
The program is intended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools by allowing symptomatic and exposed individuals to get tested quickly and easily. It's also designed to facilitate more regular testing, especially for teachers and staff who are frequently in close contact with others as part of their jobs.
Gov. Jared Polis extended the statewide mask order for an additional 30 days on Wednesday. The order will expire 30 days from Jan. 6, unless extended further.
In the order, Polis stated, "While we have seen indications that our efforts to “flatten the curve” are working, transmission of the virus continues to threaten Coloradans’ way of life and livelihoods and current data shows a recent increase in COVID infections."
Looking ahead this week, state lawmakers will be sworn in for a new session, but due to COVID they will not meet at the Capitol officially until mid-February.
The spring semester for local school districts kicks off this week with School District 38 students returning to learning via remote, hybrid and in-person learning. We'll be tracking all the districts as they get back to school after winter break and tackle the latest COVID restrictions.
News5's Patrick Nelson will be talking about COVID vaccine scams since a lot of people are wanting to get the vaccine and there's some confusion on when and how and scammers are taking advantage.
On Tuesday, we're going on "Alan's Adventures" on News5 at 4 p.m.. He's taking us to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, showing us all the fun to be had out there and our weekly ski report from Alex O'Brien if you are headed to the high country.
With The Rebound Colorado, News5's team will be here to answer your questions, bringing you expert advice to balance the books, pay the bills, and rebuild savings accounts. E-mail us any time at firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions, feedback, frustrations, ideas, suggestions, and anything else you need.