Post Premium: Top stories for Nov. 16-22, 2020 – The Denver Post

Eight months into the pandemic, COVID-19 is spreading uncontrolled across Colorado, sparking a third wave that first brought surging case numbers, then record leaps in hospitalizations and, now, the threat that the state’s intensive-care units will be flooded in the coming weeks.

As much of the Denver region moves to Level Red on the state’s dial of coronavirus restrictions, Denver Post health reporters Jessica Seaman and Meg Wingerter examined the state of Colorado’s hospitals, interviewing more than a dozen doctors, nurses and other health care workers about the toll this latest spike on COVID-19 is taking.

What Meg and Jessica found included hospitals running short on beds and, even more disconcertingly, staff, as the pandemic’s third wave hits harder than even the first surge last spring. Hospitals now are treating COVID-19 patients on top of everything else they normally see, since, unlike in the spring, people no longer are avoiding medical treatment out of fear of the virus. There’s also no backup for beleaguered health care workers, as a nationwide surge means hospitals are stressed everywhere, and everyone’s competing for finite resources.

On top of that, more medical professionals are contracting the virus themselves — and not necessarily from work. The coronavirus is spreading so widely in the community that, one doctor said, “I feel like it’s knocking on our windows and doors.”

We hope you’ll take time to read this important look at the state of the pandemic in Colorado.

— Matt Sebastian, The Denver Post 

Coronavirus pandemic’s third wave threatens to flood Colorado hospitals

Colorado moving Denver, 14 other counties to Level Red in latest bid to avoid COVID-19 lockdown

Level Red used to be the highest level on Colorado’s dial and would have triggered a stay-at-home order, but state officials have pushed back the threshold that counties need to qualify for a lockdown by adding an even higher status — Level Purple — that Polis said won’t be invoked unless hospitals are overflowing.

“We must act now to save lives,” the governor said. “We must act now to avoid a shutdown or lockdown.” Read More…

What restrictions come with each level of Colorado’s color-coded COVID-19 dial? Here’s an updated breakdown

Here is the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s latest breakdown of what restrictions come with each level of Colorado’s color-coded COVID dial, including Level Red — where 15 counties including Denver are headed Friday — and the brand-new Level Purple.

The following counties will move to Level Red on Friday, November 20, 2020: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, La Plata, Logan, Mesa, Morgan, Routt, Summit and Washington. Read More…

Wait time at In-N-Out grand opening in Aurora hits staggering 14 hours

People waiting in line Friday to gobble down In-N-Out Burger fare had better packed a lunch or dinner, the wait time at the newly opened location in Aurora was 14 hours, according to police.

An extremely long line of vehicles snaked into the new eatery throughout the day, where six moonlighting Aurora police officers were keeping a collective eye on the crowd and the traffic. Read More…

Workers laid off, food given away as restaurants prepare for new shutdown

In accordance with the latest Level Red restrictions, Denver restaurants are in the process of shutting down indoor dining and moving last call to 8 p.m. But some businesses have decided to close altogether for now, while others will rely solely on takeout. A relative few are able to accommodate heated, outdoor single-family seating.

The effects of these latest restrictions remain to be seen and felt, but as of Nov. 14, new unemployment applications in the state reached 22.6% higher than the previous week, with 9,171 regular claims filed compared to 7,483 for the week ending Nov. 7. During the last week of October, accommodation and food service workers filed the most initial unemployment claims of any industry in Colorado, accounting for 16.9% of regular claims filed. Read More…

Fear of economic ruin makes Colorado leaders hesitant to issue stay-at-home order as COVID-19 spreads uncontrolled

When Gov. Jared Polis issued a statewide stay-at-home order in March, he did so with the knowledge that federal coronavirus relief — including $1,200 checks, $600 weekly unemployment benefits and small business loans — would buoy a wide range of Coloradans facing economic ruin and all that can come with it: hunger, housing instability, mental health crises, joblessness.

Things are even worse today, virus-wise, than they were when he issued that order, which shut down the majority of retail business in the state for more than a month and preceded a temporary flattening of the COVID-19 curve in Colorado. But this time, there’s no federal financial safety net, since Congress has failed to agree on a new stimulus package. Read More…

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