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:
A new administration was ushered into the White House and President Joe Biden went to work signing multiple executive orders tied to dealing with the pandemic. Among them, a mask mandate for employees inside federal buildings, initiating the Defense Production Act to allow the private sector to play a bigger role in testing and vaccination efforts around the country.
The administration also set a target of 100 million doses of the vaccine distributed in the first 100 days of his presidency while Dr. Anthony Fauci, front and center again with the Biden White House, said that if we can get an 85% vaccination rate by summer, we should see some kind of return to "normalcy" by the fall. Again, it's a tall order with plenty of obstacles to overcome.
As congress wrangles with a new and nearly $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package, the president signed executive orders to increase food aid to struggling Americans, making it easier to claim government benefits, protect unemployed workers and raise the minimum wage for federal workers to $15 an hour.
Gov. Jared Polis requested more help from the feds on the Colorado vaccine supply and requested that the process become more streamlined on informing the state about how much we will receive sooner. And he said our goal is to give vaccines to 70% of the 70-and-older population by the end of February. The state also released a new campaign to inform women and minorities, in particular about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and healthcare providers across the region have set up hotline numbers
We also saw the three-day positive rate drop below 5% statewide for the first time since October. Daily case numbers and hospitalizations continue to trend in the right direction, but sadly people are still dying from COVID-related symptoms in Colorado.
Jury selection for the Donthe Lucas murder trial begins Monday in Pueblo. The case has already been delayed several times since Lucas was arrested in 2017. On Thursday while in court, it seemed like there was a chance the trial would once again be postponed. The defense team spoke about introducing a new suspect to the case, and the judge decided to schedule another hearing on Friday to further discuss this evidence.
On Tuesday, News5's Elizabeth Watts is showing us how virtual tutors are doing their part to help kids with special needs rebound. Patrick nelson answers the question of whether or not employers can mandate that employees get a vaccine. This is also school choice week and Elizabeth Watts will have more on how the pandemic has changed things this year. She'll be live from local schools urging parents to enroll.
And this week marks the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of 11-year-old Gannon Stauch. He was reported missing by Letecia Stauch when she told authorities he left to go visit a friend, according to prior information from the sheriff's office. Weeks later, a body found in Florida was identified as the boy. She was arrested on March 2 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, as a result of thousands of hours spent in the investigation and searching for Gannon.
His stepmother is now charged with murder and has recently deemed competent to stand trial, moving the case forward. Now that it has been confirmed she is competent to stand trial, her next court appearances are scheduled for March 11 and 12 for preliminary hearings
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