DENVER — Denver Mayor Michael Hancock provided an update Thursday on the city's response to COVID-19 and planning in regards to vaccine distribution as more doses arrived in the state this week.
Colorado's first shipment of 45,500 Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations are being set for distribution to local providers, state health officials said Thursday. Hancock called the approval of a third vaccine a "game changer" in the city's effort to get more people vaccinated.
"We're going to do our part, here in Denver, to get our shots into people's arms as quickly as possible," Hancock said.
The city is partnering with the Auraria Campus, COVID Check Colorado and Denver Health to set up a vaccination event this Sunday, March 7. The event is for faculty and residents in the surrounding area. COVID Check Colorado and Denver Health will be doing targeted outreach in those communities to get people registered.
Hancock said the Denver Sheriff Department recently received approval from the state to work with Denver Health to begin vaccinating eligible inmates incarcerated at the Denver jail.
The city also announced new details on plans to open six fixed community vaccination sites throughout the city, a couple of which are already open.
"We're doing everything we can to ensure equitable access to the still limited amount of vaccines, particularly in our African American and Latino communities," Hancock said. "That's the goal of our city-based sites."
All of the vaccine sites are by appointment only. They include:
- Montbello Recreation Center (open now)
- Swansea Project Angel Heart (open now)
- Barnum Recreation Center (opening March 10)
- MLK Recreation Center (opening March 9)
- Bear Valley Library (opening March 7)
- Montbello High School (no date announced yet)
A phone number has been set up for the sites at Barnum Recreation Center, Bear Valley Library and the MLK Recreation Center. The number, 720-865-3005, is only for those three community sites.
In addition to fixed sites, the city also looking at ways to bring vaccines to people who may be homebound.
Five-star certified businesses in Denver and several other counties that are currently in Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial can now operate at Level Blue capacity limits. Hancock said this should provide a little relief from the economic toll the pandemic has cost local businesses.
The easing of capacity restrictions is because Colorado has met a goal of vaccinating 70% of all residents older than 70 statewide. Educators, child-care workers and people 65 and older are also currently eligible to receive the vaccine. Essential workers are next in line.
Under the five-star program, businesses that have earned certification are eligible for less-restrictive capacity caps in counties currently in Level Yellow. To earn certification, a business needs to meet certain requirements, such as mask enforcement, social distancing and sanitation.
During the briefing, Hancock also touched on the nine Denver library branches that are set to open next week for the first time in nearly a year, and said plans to reopen city recreation centers are currently underway.
Hancock announced that the tower on the City and County building will be lit up on Monday nights in the coming weeks to pay tribute to lives lost, essential workers and to spread hope for the end of the pandemic.
- March 8: White tower lights in remembrance of those we've lost
- March 15: Red and white lights honoring all essential workers
- March 22: Yellow lights to signify hope we share for the end of the pandemic and our journey from rescue to recovery.
The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Colorado was on March 5, 2020. Since that time, Hancock said more 60,000 Denver residents contracted COVID-19, nearly 4,000 people have been hospitalized due the virus and 517 lives were lost.
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