Who is ready and excited for #Boulder city council night? Not me (ready but not excited), yet here I am.

Tonight we've got public hearings on all 3 citizen petitions that will be on the fall ballot
- Give Voters a Choice on CU South
- Fur-Free Boulder
- Bedrooms Are For People
More importantly (IMO, since all these petitions are going on so there's really nothing being decided): Our first COVID briefing in a while. And, boy, have things changed.
Exhibit A: This map.
Since we're starting with the COVID briefing, I'll just keep on this thread. The numbers are not good. We have high transmission (more than 100 cases per 100K ppl this past week) and 12 ppl have died since June.
There are two dozen children hospitalized with COVID across the state, a handful in the ICU. "Several" in Boulder County are hospitalized, according to local health officials.
You can read that and more scary stuff in this presentation: documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
This is largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated, including 53,000 Boulder County residents who are unable to get the vaccine — kids, immunocompromised, etc.
80.2% of cases are among unvaccinated in Boulder County
87% of hospitalizations
92% of deaths
"The Delta variant has changed the trajectory of the pandemic lately," says Lexi Nolen, with BoCo Public Health.
And this quote is in the presentation, which is not exactly comforting.

"If it's drizzling and [you] wear a raincoat, you're well-protected. But if you're going in and out of thunderstorms every single day, at some point you're going to get wet."
That is attributed to Dr. Leana Wen.

It is followed by these words: "We are in substantial/high transmission = thunderstorm"
"Unnecessary deaths and critical illness continue to be a concern," Nolen says. "We're all interested in this return to normal activities."
The deaths and illnesses are unnecessary, Nolen says, because we can prevent them with vaccines.

BoCo Public Health also "strongly recommending" masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
"We had hoped we'd be past this conversation at this point," Nolen says. But Delta is more transmissable than the original strain. "It's more transmissable than ebola, a cold, the common flu. It's chicken pox."
The original 80% community immunity rate (80% need to be vaccinated) no longer applies under Delta. It needs to be higher, Nolen says.
Nolen on the 12 deaths in Boulder County; "If these folks had been vaccinated, there's a good chance that all or nearly all of them would have survived."
Hospitalizations are increasing in Boulder County, and expected to peak in September "which is very concerning," Nolen says.
Still under the level that will trigger mandatory restrictions (biz closures, etc.) but, like Nolen said, not at their peak yet.
This many cases "really puts a strain" on our health system, Nolen says. "We are beginning to really feel the pressure."
Nolen: "We are seeing many more cases than at this time last year. And we're not seeing that drop off."
Correction to earlier tweet: There are not 2 dozen children hospitalized, unless you count the 18-22 population (which didn't read properly on first reference).

But still, the point remains the same: Youth hospitalizations are increasing under Delta.
Some rare bit of good news: The Latinx population finally is not being disproportionately impacted by COVID. Their share of cases is below their share of the population.

That's thanks to a huge push in BoCo, Nolen says.
One caveat to this, tho: "We know that as at-home testing has become available, we think there are more cases than are actually being reported ... in the state database," Nolen says.
I assume that goes for the whole population, not just Latinx.
Until we see community immunity, we will continue to see hospitalizations and deaths. Reminder: They lag behind rising cases, bc it takes a while to get that bad.
Another concern for the future: Even more variants. The more spread = the more chances for the virus to mutate.

As we've seen with Delta, it got much worse, very quickly.
That could happen again but with a new variant if transmission continues, Nolen says.
Boulder County is doing a bit better than our neighboring counties. That's thanks to the individual choices ppl made to mask, social distance, get vaccinated, Nolen says.
BoCo hospitals are between 60-87% capacity. We are taking patients from neighboring counties and even states.

Staff shortages are becoming more common in BoCo, and in some places they are "severe," Nolen says.
Some places in Boulder County, to clarify.
Nolen: If we have capacity, we will continue to take on patients from elsewhere. That is part of being a good neighbor.
Nolen with a reminder: "We want to keep our biz open, we want to keep our kids in school, go out to eat and all that fun stuff."
Shares that cases could be under-counted by 50-100% (!)

Community vaccine rate is 66% — that's everyone, not just eligible folks. "That is the most important vaccination rate (for) community immunity."
Another clarification: 40,000 kids 5-19 are ineligible OR unvaccinated. (I first read that number as all were ineligible)
~13,400 residents in Boulder County are immunocompromised or otherwise medically cannot receive the vaccine.
What do we need to do to keep things under control? That advice has never changed: Mask indoors, get vaccinated if you can
Another correction (this one was on the county, tho, who provided incorrect info) the % of cases, hospitalizations and deaths among unvaccinated were *Colorado* numbers, not Boulder County

(82% of cases, 87% of hospitalizations, 92% of deaths)
Nolen: Folks who are vaccinated could carry the virus and be asymptomatic. They could transmit it to unvaccinated folks (and vice versa). So we need the double protection of masks as well.
"The level of transmission we're seeing right now ... while we may have some protection from the vaccine ... (we need) another way to protect ourselves," Nolen says.
Nolen: Wearing a mask is much less burdensome than closing businesses, limiting gatherings, community lockdown.
"What we're really trying to get away from is the need to use those very painful kinds of strategies," Nolen says. "But we really need everybody's help to do that. We need them to get vaccinated, to wear masks indoors for a bit longer."
"If we stay working hard on that easy stuff," Nolen says, "it will keep us from going back to those strategies that no one wanted."
Lots of biz are requiring staff to be vaccinated, and quite a few are requiring proof of vaccine for entry as well.
Camille Rodriguez is the new exec director of BoCo Public Health. "Certainly this data is very telling for us," she says. "If you are eligible, please get vaccinated."
"The Delta variant has changed the goalposts for us," Rodriguez says.
omg Dr. Chris Urbina, the county's chief medical officer, is also here. He is my fave local health official (sorry to the rest of you, but it's really no competition).
Brockett: That was a "sobering" presentation. Are you considering a mask mandate, rather than a strong recommendation? "It seems like that might help tamp this down."
Rodriguez: "We have been discussing that particular issue. We are focusing on vaccinations at this point."
Long, ramble-y answer to say it might happen in the future, but not right now.
"If necessary," Rodriguez says.
Nolen: "We're really closely watching the numbers. If we don't see a course correction soon, we may need to use some additional mitigation strategies."
Young: What % of those 12 BoCo deaths since June were vaccinated vs. unvaccinated?
Nolen: It's my understanding that none of them were vaccinated, but I need to verify that for you.
Urbina: We've seen a gradual decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine due to Delta. Likely we'll all be getting a booster dose of the vaccine in the fall.
Sign me up. I'll get a shot a month if I have to.
But, Urbina says, the big push is getting those unvaccinated folks. "We want to protect those folks who are not vaccine eligible."
Friend: "There was a period of time where it felt like if we were vaccinated, we were pretty well protected." The CDC told us to "ditch our masks."

What's the data on breakthrough infections and long-haul symptoms?
Urbina: "We're still following that. Breakthrough cases are a new phenomenon for us."

"You are still protected," he tells friend, "from severe illness, hospitalizations and death." And breakthrough cases are "a small number. ... It's still a fairly rare situation."
Friend: I don't understand why we don't mandate masks, since ppl will be more likely to follow it. I'm not seeing a lot of masks indoors. And what about social distancing? Are we still doing that?
Rodriguez: I totally understand your position. But we know vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness and death. So we've leaned on that. "We don't want to take away the focus on the vaccination piece."
Friend: Is there a certain trigger or data point you're looking at for that?
Not exactly, I'm gathering from Rodriguez's long answer about all the factors involved.

"We want a magic number on vaccinations. And that's 100%"
"Mandates and orders seem like the logical step," Rodriguez says. "That mask is a secondary strategy. It's an easy thing to do to throw it on and model that behavior."
Good point. Someone photoshop a mask onto my Twitter avatar.
Friend: What's the vaccination rate for CU students? How concerned are we about their return and the arrival of many more ppl to the community?

Reminder: CU has a vaccine mandate for students, staff, faculty
"Anecdotally," Nolen says, they are seeing a "good response." But the deadline for proof documentation is mid-September. "We do not have that data yet."
CU also has an indoor mask mandate on their campus, Nolen says, "which is terrific. Super supportive."
Friend: It was difficult to sign up for shots the first time, how will boosters be handled?

Nolen: "Unfortunately, like many things in the last year, you were hearing about it on the news the same time we were. We are hard at work figuring out how that is going to happen."
Wallach: I understand the push for vaccines. How is that going? Is the rate accelerating or slowing down?
Nolen: We saw a big uptake in March-May, then a decline. That has largely maintained: about 350 vaccinations a day in BoCo right now.
One of the most important strategies lately is employers requiring them, Nolen says.
Nolen: One thing that "could be a bit of a game changer" is the Pfizer vaccine being fully licensed in September. "We think we'll see more interest" from individuals and more organizations requiring them
Urbina: We say a big uptick once the 12-15 y.o. were eligible. Our community ambassadors and BCH have "really narrowed that vaccination gap" for Latinas/Latinos.

Still struggling with the 20-29 y.o., tho.
Wallach: If we have a vaccine resistant portion of the population, why wouldn't we mandate masks?
Council going hard on this. Which I get... bc I'm also confused. But trying to listen to the experts on this.
Rodriguez: Why I haven't recommended that is bc we want to "lock arms with our regional partners and have a unified response to this."

So, basically waiting for other counties to mandate this all together. "It's a struggle that this is not a state mandate."
"I feel the sentiment here is much different perhaps than in many other communities," Rodriguez says.
Also, those glasses are 🔥
She looks like Edna Mode
Again restates that mask mandates might "dilute" the push for vaccines.
Wallach: Have we received any guidance from the state? Will we? (punctuated by 2 quick sighs)

Rodriguez: We are putting pressure on state health officials
Wallach: For the boosters, do you have to get the booster that matches the vaccine you got?

Urbina: Likely, yes. (Pfizer = pfizer, etc.) But all those questions have to be answered by the FDA
Joseph: What's our plan to reach the 20-29 y.o. population and get them vaccinated?

Urbina: We've made good progress with our BIPOC populations and our university. "We're making inroads."
(Slightly undercut by his next statement that young ppl don't listen, only older ppl do. But you're still my fave, Dr. Urbina)
Joseph suggests cash benefits, and visiting places where young people are.
NRV says the city of Boulder should now how many of its staff are vaccinated by Sept. 1. So we (the public) may get those numbers.
The city of Boulder (at the public library) is offering free vaccines through at least mid-September. Weekend and evening hours! No appointment required! Also Sundays noon-5!
Free testing through the end of the year at Stazio ballfields as well.
Quick update on what we're doing with outdoor dining and the West Pearl closures. documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
Also related to COVID, so I'm keeping the same thread.
Reminder: The state is allowing to-go alcohol service, and also some regulation changes so that restaurants could serve outside their original boundaries. That's got some legal and liability implications.
Yates: The West Pearl outdoor dining is expiring Oct. 31, right?
Yvette Bowden: Correct
Yates: When will we know if that will last longer?
Bowden: As soon as we here from the county. They're following health official guidance.
Bowden: Outdoor dining dates were originally matched to emergency orders, which are now over. But outdoor dining were extended to Oct. 31, so that extension wasn't tied to health orders. Yates making that point now.
Yates: Denver extended outdoor dining until 2022.
Bowden: Yes, but we're interested to see what happens with outdoor alcohol service (which needs state support)
Yates: I just don't understand what's going to change in the next 45 days? Why can't we give restaurants more of a heads up?
Bowden: That's a council question. If we no longer want to follow emergency orders, that's a policy question that you need to weigh in on.
Yates: What info do we need to make that decision?
Bowden: There's info I don't have that I'd like to discuss internally. If we can let you know sooner, we can.
Yates: I request of staff we bring this forward as quickly as possible. Not Oct. 1, but the very next meeting.
Brockett: I would love to continue this past Oct. 31 if at all possible
Friend: "COVID is not nearing an end. It still feels much safer to eat outside. I don't see that being dif on Oct. 31 or Dec. 31. Hopefully we keep this going, bc it has helped sustain biz. It feels like one of the few COVID bonuses."
Wallach Sigh-O-Meter: 4
More like huffs than sighs.
Wallach: We should just pick a date and figure it out.
NRV: That's what we were looking for. Thanks.

But the Oct. 31 date is bc of the state liquor laws that were changed due to COVID, she says.
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Weaver: I will only eat outdoors in a restaurant as long as we're having these struggles, but I've also noticed "creep" of chairs and tables onto sidewalks. I want to make sure pedestrians and bikes can still get through.
@threadreaderapp please unroll. Thank you!

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More from @shayshinecastle

15 Sep
We'll be getting to our city attorney search update after a couple of declarations. Here's the staff presentation. Looks like we'll have a city attorney by Oct. 12. documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
Well, we'll have one named by then. Start date is TBD.
Finalists will be named at the Sept. 28 meeting.
A reminder that council reopened this search after we only got 12 applicants the first time, and they weren't impressed with the two finalists. boulderbeat.news/2021/06/23/cit…
Read 7 tweets
14 Sep
Well, we've arrived #Boulder. Tonight is the public hearing for the CU South annexation.

Oh, and a quick update on the city attorney search. Stay tuned. Coming to you soon.
A reminder that the vote is not tonight. That's next week.
But we will get some info from staff and CU, as is usual for annexations.

You can catch yourself up here: boulderbeat.news/2021/04/17/cu-…
Read 62 tweets
10 Sep
Next up: Discussion of COVID biz recovery from the city regulation perspective, which mostly includes outdoor dining.

Staff presentation: documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
I only have a few notes on this, bc the packet item on this was as dense as a pound cake.
88 biz benefitted from looser city rules
6% of survey respondents (542 biz) used it
Read 32 tweets
10 Sep
Moving on to Boulder's lobbying agenda. That is, what the city will ask state and fed lawmakers to do. Or not to do.
This is like my fourth one I'm covering and the only notable difference is that so much stuff from the last one got done last year at the state level.
Read 64 tweets
10 Sep
Quick (or maybe not) call-up item for an older adult affordable housing community by BHP.

3485 Stanford Ct (Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church)
60 apartments for older adults
- 56 one-bedroom
- 4 two-bedroom

Staff presentation: documents.bouldercolorado.gov/WebLink/DocVie…
Slight height variance being requested, as well as a reduction in bike parking.

Planning Board OK’d 5-0
Read 25 tweets
10 Sep
Getting a quick update on the city's financial audit. I think for the first time I've been doing this, there are no deficiencies.

I mean, there are never many: 4, I think, was the high.
But still, our finances look good, a consultant says.
I think I said this last year, but lord give me the enthusiasm of the auditor describing his work analyzing the city's financial practices.
Read 14 tweets

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