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:
Colorado lawmakers passed 10 bills in the three-day 2020 special session that adjourned Wednesday which allocate around $300 million in relief spending toward small business, housing, child care and other sectors deeply affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The measures that passed include the priorities from Democratic leadership announced before the session started, as Democrats control both the House and Senate, but the Republican priorities, which included sending tax credits to families and limiting the governor’s authority during an emergency, failed.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top expert on infectious diseases, joined Gov. Jared Polis Tuesday afternoon to discuss the state of COVID-19 in Colorado and the anticipated surge in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday.
Fauci said Colorado is not alone in seeing a spike in cases and described the situation the country is seeing as a "public health crisis." He described this increase as worse than the ones we experienced in the past.
First, both Polis and Fauci said high priority individuals, such as healthcare workers, those in nursing homes, and veteran facilities will gain access to the vaccine in December. Then, in January, February, and March, essential workers, such as teachers, will be able to get the shot. By April, Fauci expects it will be available to the general public.
The city of Pueblo is one step closer to applying for a program that could allow indoor dining, while still being in Level Red under the state's COVID dial.
It is referred to as the '5 Star Variance" program. On Tuesday night, Pueblo's City Council, The Board of County Commissioners, and Mayor Gradisar met to discuss the program.
The program would allow restaurants and businesses to open back up, under Level Orange restrictions. However, the businesses and restaurants would need to meet certain health and safety guidelines.
Fremont County health officials announced the county would be moving into Level Orange: High Risk on the state's COVID-19 dial Friday.
The move took effect at 12 a.m. Friday, impacting capacity limits.
For a county to operate within the Level Orange: High Risk level on the COVID-19 dial, the county would have to have a 15% positivity rate or less, 175-350 cases per 100,000 people, and greater than two new COVID-19 hospital admissions per day. Under this dial level, restaurants will operate at 25% capacity indoors with 6 feet between parties outdoors per guidance and bars will be closed.
For a break down of capacity on Level Orange, click here.
Here's a look at what you'll see on News 5 this week.
Parkview Hospital's new visitor policy goes into effect and only a limited number of visitors will be allowed.
The City of Pueblo is also holding a special session Monday to discuss several items, one of which is funding for a new testing site.
Also this week, News 5's Ashley Portillo is talking with a foster care agency that's setting up a virtual wish list to help foster kids this holiday season.
On Thursday, Meteorologist Alex O'Brien will have your ski report and more on what you can expect if you're hitting the slopes next weekend.
We'll also continue to stay on top of how folks and small businesses are adapting to this unique holiday season.
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.