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 is expanding its current vaccine distribution plan to include anyone 70 and older, in addition to frontline workers and first responders already being vaccinated, state officials announced Wednesday.
Phase 1B of the state's distribution began Wednesday, though vaccine doses will still be limited based on available supplies. Still, the addition of the 70-and-up age group to the current vaccine distribution plan will be crucial in the widespread inoculation of the most at-risk population.
Many people over the age of 70 are anxious to get in line for a COVID-19 vaccine, after Governor Jared Polis’ recent announcement they are now included in the first phase of the roll out. But many are hitting a confusing roadblock.
According to the state’s COVID--19 vaccine website, Colorado is currently in phase 1A and 1B of vaccine distribution, and according to the state’s most recent classification, phase 1B covers Coloradans age 70+. So that might lead you to believe, if you’re 70+, you can go ahead and get your vaccine.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday night that he is asking the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to move counties currently in Level Red on the state's COVID-19 dial to Level Orange as the number of cases and ICU capacity have seen a "sustained" decline over the past 13 days.
Polis said he is asking for the change to take place this coming Monday, Jan. 4.
One of the biggest changes Level Orange brings is indoor dining, which was closed in late November due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Some relief options are on the way for restaurants hit hard by COVID-19 capacity restrictions. Next week there is a return to limited indoor seating because the COVID-19 color coded threat status lowers from red to orange. Red requires no indoor seating at restaurants. Orange allows 25% capacity.
An emergency session held by El Paso County Commissioners could offer even more seating options. Commissioners gathered to vote on filing with the state for the 5 Star variance program. Restaurants that apply and qualify can possibly operate with more indoor capacity.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday that some Americans will begin receiving $600 stimulus checks from the federal government by the end of the night.
This comes two days after President Donald Trump signed into law a $900 billion stimulus package, which included the direct payments.
Mnuchin said Tuesday that the stimulus checks will arrive in some bank accounts via direct deposit “as early as tonight and will continue into next week.” The department will also begin sending out paper checks on Wednesday.
Looking ahead this week, we will continue to focus on the transition fro local businesses as counties move to Level Orange on the COVID-19 dial.
We will also continue to track the distribution of the vaccine.
Later this week we will have an exclusive one on one between Rob Quirk and General James Dickinson. He is the commander of U.S. Space Command at Peterson Air Force Base. They will discuss the push to make Colorado Springs the permanent home of the Space Force.
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