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OK, 7 p.m. is the COVID briefing from Jeff Zayack, BoCo Public Health, and Robert Vissers from BCH. Here's the presentation (not that you'll glean much on those fronts)…
But there's a good bit of info in there from Kurt Firnhaber RE: progress on the response for unhoused residents.
Gonna grab a snack and maybe feed the dogs, who are bugging me bc my good-for-nothing roommate isn't home to feed them.

Isolation is tough, ya'll.
That was quick. Getting started.
Daily Camera published earlier but BoCo had its second COVID death, announced today.
115 positives in BoCo
Avg age: 47
Hospitalized: 20
Hospitalized under age 60: 6
Recovered: 43
"Most ppl that get this virus are going to recover fine," Zayack says. "Majority are going to have mild symptoms."
29 pending investigations
2 deaths
Current hospitalized in BoCo: 36 (doesn't know which hospitals)
52 under investigation at hospitals
235 non-surgical bed availability "at this point" in Boulder County
27 ICU beds

No shortages right now, Zayach says
497 acute beds
42 ICU-capable beds

3 of 6 hospitals will have enough masks over next 2 weeks
Same for surgical masks. (first report was for N95 masks)
"Significant statewide and national shortage" of N95 masks, Zayach says.

Apologies I misspelled his name in an earlier tweet. Moving fast.
Zayach: "In the next 2 wks, we do expect to see an increase in cases."
"There's typically a delay when orders are put in place, exposure and onset of symptoms, and another delay in onset of symptoms" and admission to ICU, Zayach says
"We don't want ppl to give up hope and think the orders we're putting in place are not being effective."
Zayach: One person who is positive can infect 3 ppl. Those 3 ppl in turn infect 9, who then infect 27.

"The reason these orders are so critically important is we want to prevent the spread" throughout the population.
"We appreciate anything anybody can do" to follow the orders and stay at home, Zayach says.
"We're doing the best we can in the State of Colorado" with projections.
3 key capabilities that will be necessary for orders to be lifted, Zayach says:
We can reduce steepness of that curve, "if we don't have control on the back end" (monitoring, community-based testing and capacity/containment) "we could see surges back in our community again."
Once orders are lifted, that is.
Zayach: "As you hold down that curve with orders, you have less ppl eventually entering hospital system, you're getting it under control, you then move into better testing and containment."
State-level plans for all this will be in place by April 15, Zayach says.
Yates q: This afternoon, City Manager Jane Brautigam sent out a link to modeling. Stats shown in that for Colorado "were pretty stark and alarming."

We could start running out of beds in mid-April as this peaks. Any comment? Is that credible?
Zayach: I have looked at that. I compared to governor's estimates. There is a difference in those numbers.
"This speaks to the challenge of all the factors that go into all those models." Depend on so much: Mitigation, how well ppl follow orders.
Doesn't answer; defers to Dr. Vissers.
"I think you're asking the q we're all trying to answer," Vissers says. "In the absence of more widespread testing, it's really made projections more difficult."
"It's probably too early .... the data we're seeing that we share with other hospitals. The hospital association is seeing ... there does seem to be a flattening of new c
"Of new cases"

Apologies; technical difficulties.
"It's a small sample size," Vissers says, so maybe too early to tell, but we hope this is the beginning of the flattening of the curve.
We're still predicting that we'll need 4-5X critical care beds as we have now, he says.
For the upcoming surge.
"The short answer is it's concerning and somewhat alarming. If we can continue to bend this curve and use these next 2 weeks wisely, I hope we can build out capacity to a place we can manage that peak and surge."
Joseph asks about breaking cases down to city-level.
Zayach: I didn't, I'm sorry but we should be able to do that.
Young: What would a per-city breakdown provide to us?
Zayach: It allows you to look "at where we're getting positives."

"Right now, our testing capacity is pretty limited, so I would not want it to lead us to believe that's where the cases are or are not."
Young: There's a lot of travel between communities in the county and also outside the county. How does quantifying cases within a certain boundary, what does that tell or not tell us?
Zayach: It doesn't tell us a lot.
Earlier, it did. We could see that travel was a big influencer. But now, "it's not going to tell us much," Zayach says.
Zayach: it's important to hold down cases so we can do more testing and then keep it contained. "But that will take all of those things I talked about before: Much more monitoring, much more testing..." Those are "being worked on right now."
Weaver: Do ppl in/near Boulder go to a Boulder hospital, and in/near Longmont to a Longmont hospital, etc.? Can we trade between hospitals if there are different capacities?
Vissers: We care for a large % of those in the city of Boulder, but at least 1/3 or 1/2 of patients come from the rest of BoCo.
"Right now, everybody is managing cases that come to then." Transports put ppl at risk, Vissers says.
But all the hospitals are communicating. "Everybody has made a clear commitment to share capacity, resources and, if need be, the care of patients from other areas."
"Not anywhere close" to needing to do that yet, Vissers says.
"Every community and every hospital is going to be overwhelmed."
Moving into city update now: homeless response, financial update and info on businesses/community vitality.
There have been 10 individuals that came to the COVID recovery center for unhoused residents; 4 have been discharged "because they've taken time to heal," Kurt Firnhaber says.
That center has been open for 11 days. I thought the incubation period was longer for COVID... ?

Will follow up.
About 100 hrs a day of volunteer time is going into the CRC. Almost 1,000 hours total, Firnhaber says, which is "very encouraging to see how our community has stepped up."

85% of shifts are filled through April 3, BUT....
More volunteers are needed for midnight to 8 a.m. shift.
From this weekend, but severe weather sheltering is open every night through the end of April bc of COVID:…

It was supposed to go back to weather-triggers tonight.
Here's a slide on shelter capacity. Interpret it for yourselves:
I'll offer these helpful tidbits
BSH = Boulder Shelter for the Homeless
SWS = Severe weather shelter
SWS has 72 beds. They have not gone over capacity, Firnhaber says, any time this week.
OK now saying 2 ppl were turned away last night
"Typically those are individuals coming well after the center has closed."
Councilwoman Friend has asked about safe parking and allowing camping.

Firnhaber's slide says this is bad bc it discourages use of service and doesn't get ppl into housing.
And it increases crime and demand on police and fire services, Firnhaber says, at least in other communities.
"These approaches are mostly used in warmer climates."
Lastly, it attracts other homeless ppl from other communities "who are looking for that type of solution," Firnhaber says.
Now moving onto rental assistance and eviction. No warrants and/or cases will be handled through May 31, per the courts.…
Firnhaber: BHP expecting $200,000 shortfall in rents this month, but may be covered by federal stimulus package
Firnhaber: "I would urge everyone in the supply chain of housing to do what they can. If they are a renter, I would encourage them to pay rent and do everything possible to pay rent."
"If they are a property owner, I would encourage them to reduce the rent and do everything they can to work with their tenants."
Q from Yates: Have we increased funding for Keep Families Housed, an EFAA program?
Yes, Firnhaber says: We've advanced them $$$ they were getting later in the year. Looking at additional funds. More info coming soon (in this presentation)
Disclosure: I work(ed?) for EFAA as a consultant. Not sure that contract will continue given the financial situation. But it's still relevant since I'm being paid (I hope) for work in March.
And since I've taken $$ from them, I'll have to disclose that forever, every time I report on/mention them. Just to be ethical and all that.
Firnahber: We'll have info later next week on flow of funds from state/feds, we think.
Weaver Q about the federal stimulus, CARES Act. When do you think those $$ might be available to apply for and/or distributed?
Firnhaber: Agencies are collaborating on joint applications "to be more effective and leverage more funds." About $2M that BHP is anticipating.

We'll know more "in the next few days."
"Later this week or certainly middle of next week, we'll have much more info on that," Firnhaber says.
So glad I'm muted on this call as I repeatedly yell at my dog to stop getting tangled in my power cords.
Joseph: "I don't want to sound like a broken record but ...." I don't see links to mediation resources for renters that I requested.
Firnhaber: On city COVID website, mediation services are up there.
Joseph: I saw the county's info but must have missed the city's. "If you say it's up there, it's up there."
Joseph: I am a proponent of safe parking but I'm so worried right now bc of COVID. Do you know how many residents are living in their cars? Can we provide better sanitation to them? Do we have the ability?
Firnhaber: I'm not aware of sanitary services we've have to support parking. I think when council looked at this 3 yrs ago, it was more centered on camping.

"There were a few pieces of land that maybe, potentially could have worked but there's certainly no ideal sites."
"Any sites we look at 3 yrs ago would need infrastructure installed," Firnhaber says.
Wallach q: Any special consideration or "particular supports" we might give to folks in mobile home communities?
Yes, Firnhaber says: We have a staff member on this as well as cultural brokers.
Yvette Bowden, head of community vitality, up now: "It's been a very hectic week."

Her dept trying to figure out what's in the CARES Act.
"We want to make this as simple as we can for business owners," Bowden says.
The city also owns buildings with commercial tenants in them. City has offered to delay rental payments and/or work on plans for spread out payments.

"It's been well received," Bowden says. I bet!
Can't think of what/where all those might be, but Ruthies on the Pearl Street Mall comes to mind immediately. (Lil' hut, used to be Salvaggio's Deli)
It was Salvaggio's, right? I feel like that was not that long ago but I can't remember.
It was! I wrote this:…
Bowden is going over some very specific loans/grants for businesses. Many details; you might want to tune in and/or watch the recap tomorrow if this is pertinent to you.
Yes, I know, I'm here to tweet things. But this is something I'm not that versed on so I'm listening rather than typing. Too important to F it up.
Actually, here's a slide:
City/partners working on a step-by-step video to help guide businesses through the process.
Bowden: City is about to send out communication to all of our registered biz owners, with info and some qs to gather info on impact.
Reminder: Council has an April 28 study session planned to look at the budget. It was supposed to be a long-term financial look, but will now probably focus heavily on COVID impacts. Should have sales tax receipts for March by then.
Bowden touching on the resolution that commercial landlords did to not evict any tenants due to non-payment, and to work with businesses. 1,200+ properties covered by that, which several of Boulder's biggest landlords signed.
97 additional properties added to that list since last week, Bowden says. Many in the Flatirons Business Park.
Flatiron Biz Park? Or Flatirons?
I used to work there but I've forgotten.
Flatiron, apparently.

I wrote this, too:…
Bowden responding to Young q on biz loans... I did not follow that well. Apologies.
Kady Doelling, chief budget officer, taking over now.

"Although Boulder was largely spared by the Great Recession," we anticipate that will not be the case with COVID.
Doelling: We've lost 30,000 students, 50,000-60,000 in-commuters. So many of our businesses are small. We have a ton of restaurants and other places that are shut down.
69% of the 2020 budget may be impacted by COVID.
The 2021 budget may "certainly" be impacted by COVID further bc of property taxes
Doelling says*
This is some murky guesswork here, but look at the scenarios the financial team laid out:
Murky guesswork is my interpretation of Doelling making sure to say these are *assumptions* and therefore should be taken as such.
Doelling on Scenario 3: "This may not be the worst scenario. We could run 100 of them but we picked this as a starting point."
Again, we'll know more later this month.
And I don't want to throw shade at Doelling and her team's skill level. I'm sure these are great projections, based on good data and all that.

But they are projections. That's the point I was trying to make. So much is still unknown.
"Even in the best scenario, retail sales tax is" pretty significantly hit, Doelling says.
Here's another slide:
And another:
"When it hits hotel industry, it takes a very long time to recover from that," Doelling says. Data based on what was seen in China RE: occupancy rates.
Doelling going over why there are so many impacts. In transportation: They depend on sales tax AND gas tax.
For city revenue generally: No more parking meter $$. No more revenue from certain types of tickets, bc courts are shut down.
Cheryl Patelli, CFO, at bat now. Going over what $$ Boulder will use to shore itself up during this crisis.
First up: Reserves. Here's a look at reserves for various funds. No surprise, open space is the best funded.
Transportation is the least. 5% reserves! Best practice is 16%, Patelli says.
"We are still prone to natural disasters (fire, flood) and we don't know how long this will last," Patelli says.

In using reserves, "we feel to go much lower than 15% would be a pretty dangerous thing to do."
Scenario 3 (worst-case) "is pretty likely, given all we've heard," Patelli says.
Patelli: Grocery stores, for the first few weeks after the pandemic, were up. But now big chains (Walmart, Costco, etc.) are down over last year, I just read.
In the worst-case scenario laid out by staff, even using all available funds Patelli has mentioned, general fund will still have a $5M shortfall this year.
To reduce expenditures, Boulder in a hiring freeze.

I think they did this the last time in 2017-2018...? When they faced their last gap.
That's for nonessential employees, Patelli says.
"This time of year, we hire hundreds of seasonal employees" Patelli says. Some are necessary, some not: landscape/maintenance will still be needed, but others "are tied to programs that may not be happening."
So city will be reviewing those hires to see where it can save $$
Also looking at capital expenditures and projects that can be delayed
Another reminder for the April 28 study session upcoming. Should be an exciting meeting.
This one is; didn't anticipate this level of detail from staff.
Brockett: Right now, you're presenting rough scenarios? There's no plan to start shifting funds around, correct?
Yes, staff says.
Brockett: When might we start making those decisions? After April 28?
Yes, Doelling says.
"At this time, without really knowing much about Jan, Feb, March sales tax, it's kind of a shoot in the dark with some fairly reasonable estimates."
Doelling (again): "We will need to be taking actions, and the sooner we do it, the better."
Brockett: When that time comes, the tradeoff will be what services do we want to lose and what help do we want to provide to community members. "It will very much not be an abstract discussion."
Weaver: When will we know what/who is covered by CARES? Mountain communities are starting to support their businesses; I'm not sure we are in a position to do that yet, when that info isn't known.
Brautigam: Colorado Municipal League is working very closely with governor/state to figure out how to divide the $$. Four large counties are guaranteed to get dollars, but no other city/county is guaranteed to get anything.

State will decide.
"State has been silent on this." They're figuring out how to make decisions on this. "It's not going to happen in the near future," so she counsels council (hehe) against making any plans right now.
Brautigam: We don't know if grants or rental payments, assistance like that, will be covered as COVID expenses, which city is tracking now. That might be for things like setting up recovery center, doing communications, etc.
Weaver: Denver, Araphahoe, Jefferson, El Paso counties can apply for up to $1B directly to the feds
State can apply for $2.2B, minus what those four counties get. They don't have to share it with cities and counties.
This is under CARES, btw.
Young has a q on the scenarios laid out by Doelling. This chart, specifically, which I'm sharing again:
Are those - % for the whole operating budget of the city? Young asks
Yes, Doelling says. Not *all* revenues, but our major revenue sources.
Yates: Presumably, as April progresses, you're going to learn more and "news will get better or worse."

"I wouldn't wait until April 28 to share new information, especially if it gets worse."
Giving Brautigam wide leeway to make adjustments on operations if we need to save $$. "Speaking for myself, I want to make sure Jane feels empowered" in making whatever decisions she needs to.
Wallach: Have we looked at Scenario 4 where we're in "full-out recession" for the rest of the year and 15% unemployment? "Have you taken a look at an even more difficult scenario?"
"We haven't," Doelling says. "We wanted to put out some ranges and work toward it. Boulder tends to fair somewhat better on unemployment."
"We know this may not be the worst case (scenario). This may eventually be ideal."
Weaver ends this discussion. We're moving to workplan stuff now. Gonna do another thread so this one doesn't get too unwieldy.

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