Coronavirus Coverage

KSUT Public Radio wants to keep you updated on the latest news about COVID-19.

Listen each day for reporting from NPR, KSUT, and other trustworthy news sources. You can find an ongoing feed of stories about the pandemic below.

Colorado Restaurants Face ‘Catastrophic’ Situation as New COVID-19 Restrictions Loom

Nov 27, 2020
Rocky Mountain Public Media

The restaurant opened in January, but a few months later the pandemic turned the world upside down. Now, Lake House Kitchen and Tavern is just trying to survive.

The effort to get Colorado kids back in school has to solve this problem: “We had so many positive cases coming into schools that we were running schools ... without entire groups of teachers. You can’t keep up.”

For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of mourning to grieve over ancestors lost to massacres, land grabs and European-borne illness.

Today, Native Americans are among the hardest hit by COVID-19. The Indian Health Service federal agency reported a 25% positivity rate among Native Americans in the Great Plains, which includes North and South Dakota.

The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers.

The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test.

New Mexico has seen coronavirus cases spike in recent weeks. To try to curb the outbreak, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered 2-week statewide restrictions, closing nonessential businesses and urging people to stay at home.

Dr. Denise Gonzales, a pulmonologist and medical director at Presbyterian Medical Group, talks to Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd about the coronavirus surge in New Mexico.

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Analysts across the country are finding that the impact of the coronavirus on food insecurities is greater than what the nation experienced during the Great Depression. With Thanksgiving being this Thursday, one group in Southwest Colorado is taking the lead on serving meals to those in need. KSUT’s Sarah Flower talks with Ann Morse, Executive Director of Manna Soup Kitchen about local food insecurities.

Patients hospitalized with COVID-19 can require long and intensive care, and with this most recent surge in new cases, hospitals and medical providers in parts of the country are strained.

In Utah, intensive care units are at 87% capacity, according to the state, which is well above what’s recommended by the Utah Department of Health. 

Thanksgiving week is upon us and public health officials across the country are urging people not to gather with friends or family outside of their immediate household. KSUT’s Sarah Flower talks with Liane Jollon, Executive Director of San Juan Basin Public Health about ways to share time with others safely this Thanksgiving.

As Pandemic Worsens, Mask Rules In Jails Vary From County To County

Nov 23, 2020
Colorado Public Radio

Colorado jails have varying policies on both supplying masks and requiring inmates to wear them throughout their jail stays.

New cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in La Plata and Archuleta Counties. In response, San Juan Basin Public Health issued this press release on November 17:

U.K.-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has developed a vaccine that initial results show to be "highly effective in preventing" COVID-19, the company announced Monday.

Registered nurse Pascaline Muhindura has spent the last eight months treating COVID-19 patients at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

But when she returns home to her small town of Spring Hill, Kansas, she's often stunned by what she sees, like on a recent stop for carryout.

It has become the battle cry of public health officials around the world: "Wear a mask to slow the spread." Friday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new evidence supporting this advice.

Researchers analyzed coronavirus infection rates in Kansas following a statewide mask mandate. They found that counties that chose to enforce the mandate saw their cases decrease. Counties that chose to opt out saw their cases continue to rise.

Coronavirus Resources

Nov 20, 2020

We've compiled a list of links to important COVID-related resources. See a variety of data dashboards, track outbreaks, and follow local public health departments. Also find the latest coronavirus coverage from KSUT, NPR, and other sources.

More than 1,000 hospitals across the United States are "critically" short on staff, according to numbers released this week by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Those hospitals, which span all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, represent about 18% of all hospitals that report their staffing status to HHS. And that number is expected to grow: 21% of all hospitals reporting say they anticipate having critical staffing shortages in the next week.

Journalist John Yang volunteered to take part in a Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial not for "great altruistic reasons," but because he wanted to get a vaccine sooner rather than later.

"It started off with self-interest — I wanted to get the vaccine sooner," Yang, special correspondent for the PBS NewsHour, tells NPR's All Things Considered. "Then when I found out that it was the Moderna trial, a new technology, one that has never been approved for a human vaccine before, I got sort of excited. It sort of piqued the science nerd in me."

Gov. Jared Polis is summoning lawmakers back to the Capitol for a rare special session to consider a coronavirus stimulus package worth more than $200 million.

"Extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions," Polis said Tuesday at the governor's mansion. "I'll be asking the general assembly to take up critical legislation that will help Colorado families and Colorado small businesses survive these challenging winter months ahead to bridge us to the vaccine."

By the Numbers: COVID Cases Spike Since Halloween

Nov 16, 2020

The latest figures from state health departments in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona show cases have reached levels not seen since April and May.

La Plata County has seen over 200 positive COVID-19 cases in the last 5 days. KSUT’s Sarah Flower spoke with Liane Jollon, Executive Director of San Juan Basin Public Health about this increase and how to help slow the spread of the virus.

Ann Schimke/Chalkbeat

As more Colorado school districts move some or all of their students to online learning, state public health officials issued a new report that stresses the benefits and safety of holding school in-person but offers scant new guidance or protocols to make that feasible.

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has instructed state residents to shelter in place for 14 days due to an alarming increase of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. KSUT’s Sarah Flower has this report:


Testing Alone Won’t Be Enough to Stem Colorado’s Surge of Coronavirus Cases

Nov 13, 2020
Mark Duggan

Health officials warn that the tried and true advice of tests -- plus “austere behavior” -- offers the best chance to control the virus.

courtesy of Mercy Regional Medical Center

As Southwest Colorado’s positive COVID-19 cases are surging, all eyes are on area hospitals. KSUT’s Sarah Flower spoke with Mike Murphy, interim CEO of Mercy Regional Medical Center for an exclusive interview.