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The Sunriser

Sunriser: Gunnison “carding” seniors to stop coronavirus spread / New hospital restrictions / Mountain residents should pull back / And much, much more

Your guided tour through Colorado news, compiled by your friends at The Sun.

Skiers enjoy a warm day at Beaver Creek's Ritz Carlton at Bachelor Gulch on Saturday, March 14, a mere hour before Vail Resorts chief Rob Katz announced the closure of the company's 34 North American resorts. (Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun)

Compiled by Kevin Simpson, kevin@coloradosun.com
Writer, @KevinJourno

Good morning, readers. Is it really Monday? The rapid turn of events surrounding the coronavirus has had a disorienting effect. 

But we’re starting a new week, and in the midst of all the news about shutdowns, I want to focus for a minute on opportunity. In The Sun community, and in the wider community of Colorado, the slamming doors of can’t-dos also jiggle open the windows of oughta-dos. Many of our neighbors will face increasing hardships in the days ahead, but these interruptions to our daily lives also offer many chances to show our best selves.

Check on a shut-in neighbor, leave an extra-generous tip, teach your less-tech-literate friend how to Facetime, make a contribution to some of the many organizations that will struggle in these times to provide for the less fortunate. Instead of a hot take on Twitter, maybe try a kind take — like local sports scribe Nick Kosmider did here. Others soon doubled-down on his generosity.

And if you have generosity to spare, consider helping The Sun continue to bring in-depth information about coronavirus and other issues to the public.

If you can pitch in $5/month (or more!), your support will help the entire state stay informed and stay healthy. Click here to join our community right now.

Meanwhile, we forge ahead. We’ve got lots to tell you about today.

So, let’s be good to each other, shall we?

 

The Latest from The Sun

 

CORONAVIRUS

Gunnison County bans restaurants, bars from serving people 60 and older to slow coronavirus spread

A bartender pours shots at a distillery in Crested Butte. To help slow the spread of the new coronavirus, Gunnison County has banned anyone age 60 or older from entering a bar or restaurant. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

In another sign that these pandemic times have turned our world upside down, Gunnison County watering holes will be “carding” some patrons — but instead of checking to filter out underage drinkers they’ll be targeting folks who look 60 and older. Sun correspondent Nancy Lofholm explains how bars and restaurants want to discourage those most at risk from the coronavirus. But she also notes that the issue may soon be moot, as more federal directives on eating and drinking establishments are expected today. >> STORY

 


 

Colorado hospitals are postponing elective surgeries, reusing masks in preparation for a coronavirus surge

Health professionals at Craig Hospital in Denver screen a visitor for potential COVID-19 exposure on Wednesday. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Bracing for a surge of new cases, many Colorado hospitals are imposing a variety of new restrictions, from postponing elective surgeries to limiting visitors and reusing protective masks. Lots of health care facilities have been screening visitors to determine whether they may be carrying the coronavirus, even if they are showing no symptoms. UCHealth is considering taking each visitor’s temperature to make a determination. >> STORY

  • KEEPING PEOPLE ISOLATED: CenturyLink and Comcast are suspending their internet data cap during the coronavirus crisis, and Gov. Jared Polis hopes that will keep people who are supposed to be in isolation or quarantine from leaving their confines. “I get it. You may be bored out of your mind. You need to stay home,” the governor said.

 


 

Coronavirus is running so rampant in Colorado’s mountains residents, visitors should “minimize all contact with other people”

“If we do this now, our hope is that we can slow down the spread of this virus and lessen the potential stress on our health care systems and workers.”

— Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s epidemiologist

Events move quickly on the coronavirus front, and on Sunday the state health department recommended that anyone who lives in Eagle, Summit, Pitkin and Gunnison counties — or who had visited in the prior seven days — should limit interpersonal contact because of the rapidly rising number of cases there. At the time of the announcement there were roughly 50 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in those areas and 24 in Eagle County alone. Including four newly confirmed on Sunday. >> STORY

 


 

A Crested Butte woman came home from Hawaii with sniffles. Then she found out it was coronavirus.

Lisa Merck stands in the doorway of her home in Crested Butte on March 14, 2020, where she is quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. (Dean Krakel, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Friends describe Lisa Merck as a germaphobe. She avoids touching door handles and elevator buttons. So when she returned to Crested Butte from a Hawaiian vacation with a minor case of the sniffles and some aches, she didn’t think much of it. She talked to the Sun’s Jesse Paul about learning she had come down with COVID-19, a story that shows just how insidious the disease is. >> STORY

 


 

Colorado lawmakers upend the legislative session with decision to adjourn. Here’s what comes next.

A note on the door of the Colorado Senate on Wednesday, asking visitors to send emails to lawmakers instead of passing them business cards or notes. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

The Colorado legislature’s move to temporarily adjourn in the middle of its 2020 session is unprecedented, and what might happen for the remainder of the time it’s scheduled to convene remains uncertain. Lawmakers asked the state Supreme Court to advise them whether they could extend the session beyond its scheduled May 6 adjournment, but there’s no word yet on whether the court will take up the matter. Sun political writer John Frank explains what it all means to legislative priorities and other matters. >> STORY

 


 

Colorado governor orders all ski resorts to close for at least a week. It was an extraordinary move.

Gov. Jared Polis has avoided using his executive power to deal with the coronavirus unless absolutely necessary, so the move to order ski areas across the state to close was a big deal. It came only hours after several operators said they were ceasing operations — in some cases indefinitely. Jason Blevins and Jesse Paul explain how the order, at the peak of the ski season when many vacationers were planning to hit the slopes for spring break, could impact the Colorado economy. >> STORY

THE REST OF THE COLORADO REPORT

Rural Colorado, six RVs to help with opioid addiction are coming to a parking lot near you

An RV from Front Range Clinic parked in front of Melissa Memorial Hospital in Holyoke, in far northeast Colorado. The mobile clinic, staffed by nurse Christi Couron and counselor Nicky McLean and a peer-recovery specialist who is not pictured, brings opioid addiction treatment to the rural community. (Photo by The Holyoke Enterprise)

Here’s some good news about rural health care. For too long, there have been few places for rural residents to turn to deal with opioid addiction. But now six RVs specially outfitted to handle everything from urine tests to counseling sessions will be rolling into towns where statistics show the need is great and the options nonexistent. Jennifer Brown explains how three are already on the road, serving the northeast and southeast parts of the state as well as the San Luis Valley.  >> STORY

 

From the Opinion Page

 

 

The Colorado Report

THE BEST JOURNALISM FROM IN AND AROUND THE STATE

// WHEN SCHOOL IS WHERE YOU EAT: Lots of Colorado kids rely on free and reduced lunch and other school-connected programs for meals and snacks. Where can they go when schools shut down? Here’s a convenient map (in English and Spanish) to guide you toward nutrition during the closings.  // Chalkbeat

// THE NIGHT THE BALL STOPPED BOUNCING: Sports writer Nick Kosmider (yes, the guy from the intro) was in the press room in Dallas at halftime of the Denver Nuggets’ game against the Mavericks when news came down that the NBA had suspended its season. // The Athletic 🔑

// HOT SPRINGS NO “CURE” THIS TIME AROUND: Back during the flu pandemic of 1918, lots of businesses tried to capitalize on the illness — including the Glenwood Hot Springs, which plugged its therapeutic powers. Not today. The springs closed down Sunday night amid growing concerns about spread of the coronavirus.  // The Post Independent

// KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON: Xcel Energy announced that it will not disconnect any residential customers from electric or gas service until further notice, in light of the financial hardship that may befall customers during the coronavirus response. // Xcel Energy

// SO YOU’RE WORKING FROM HOME. NOW WHAT?: If your boss decided that having you work from home would be the responsible thing to do to slow the spread of the coronavirus, that’s a great start. But if you haven’t ever made the 15-second commute from bedroom to office before, how do you make this work? A former freelancer has some tips. // 5280 

// WHAT DOES A RUN ON A GROCERY STORE LOOK LIKE? Sure, we’ve all seen store shelves bereft of ramen noodles, hand sanitizer and toilet paper. This story, and the accompanying photos, show that it hasn’t ended there.  // Greeley Tribune

If you made it to the bottom of this newsletter, you are made of very strong stuff. But still, cover your cough and wash your hands frequently, and we’ll see you back here on Wednesday.

— Kevin