Select Page

More than eight months into the coronavirus pandemic in Colorado, cases and hospitalizations are rising once again. State health officials have warned that if the trend doesn’t abate, Colorado’s hospital capacity could be overwhelmed in a matter of weeks.

To help you stay updated as the situation evolves, The Colorado Sun has launched this live blog with updates on closures, restrictions, and other COVID-19 developments.

With coronavirus cases rising, is Colorado’s ski season at risk?

10:19 AM | 11-10-2020 🔗

Gov. Jared Polis says he isn’t worried about Colorado’s ski season being at risk as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to surge in the state.

“Skiing itself and boarding is a lower-risk activity,” Polis said in an interview Friday with The Colorado Sun. “You’re outdoors, you’re on a slope, you’re not near anybody for very long, if at all. You’re frequently masked anyways, even regardless of the pandemic.”

To put it bluntly, Polis said: “The danger is not on the slope. The biggest danger on the slope remains slamming into a tree.”

Polis said the real risk of COVID-19 transmission in resort towns is at bars, but he feels confident those communities are taking coronavirus seriously and implementing restrictions aimed at ensuring the winter tourism season isn’t forced to end early.

“We’ve been pushing outdoors, as you know, all summer. That doesn’t change in winter. Outdoors is better,” Polis said. “It’s one of those things where, if you want to be safe, just go home or go to your hotel if you are done skiing or boarding for the day.”

Three Colorado ski areas are now open — Arapahoe Basin, Keystone Resort and Wolf Creek Ski Area — and others are expected to start operations in the coming days and weeks.

Listen to our full interview with Polis and Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s top epidemiologist, here.

Jesse Paul, staff writer

After staving off COVID-19 for months, Western Colorado University switches to online classes

10:17 AM | 11-10-2020 🔗

For most of the fall semester, Western Colorado University was one of the most successful campuses in the state when it came to controlling the coronavirus pandemic. But in the 10 days before Friday, the campus saw 30 cases among its faculty, staff and roughly 2,700 students. Before that, the campus had seen a total of 11 cases all semester.

After months of successful hybrid learning for the majority of their courses, Western switched to online-only classes on Monday. 

The university’s president, Greg Salsbury, announced the changes in an email to the campus community Sunday afternoon, citing high case numbers in tests over the weekend. 

The campus had already planned to shift classes online following Thanksgiving break, which is still two weeks away. 

Western is in Gunnison County, which was one of the first to impose restrictions on its residents as the pandemic hit in March. It was successful in maintaining low case numbers for most of the summer. The county even received the state’s protect-our-neighbors variance, which allows for larger gatherings and more normal business operations. 

Recently, Gunnison County, like much of the state, has also seen a rise in case counts, with about 80% attributed to the university. Though it still held protect-our-neighbors status Tuesday, the county is undergoing mitigation efforts to retain that variance. In an update Monday, county officials wrote: “The message is simple, we all need to step up at the individual level to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Lucy Haggard, staff writer

This content was originally published here.