Can you believe it’s December already? 😲⌛ As we reckon with the ever-quickening passage of time, we’re bringing you another edition of BRL Today — with lots of holiday-themed fun to help you get a jump on the most wonderful time of the year.

But first, the news: John Herrick reports on a worrying rise in breast cancer cases at Boulder hospitals, where medical practitioners say delayed screenings and treatment due to the pandemic response early last year may be to blame.

Then Benjy Sachs crunches the numbers on influenza in Boulder, as county officials warn about potential added strain on local hospitals due to rising flu cases. And as always, you’ll find curated community information, stuff to do in Boulder, the latest Covid updates and more.

How’s our journalism? Let us know what you want to see from BRL by replying to this email, or drop me a line directly at jezy@boulderreportinglab.org.

On that note: Giving Tuesday (or #GivingNewsDay for journos) was yesterday, but the local #NewsCoNeeds initiative lasts all month long. For those who already support our work, we offer our deepest gratitude. We hope the rest of you will consider making BRL part of your year-end giving.

Your support will help our mission to create a new home and community for quality Boulder-local reporting. Our nonprofit newsroom is currently three people with a mile-long spreadsheet of stories that need to be told. We can’t do this without you.

– Jezy, managing editor

Credit: Anthony Albidrez for Boulder Reporting Lab

Top Stories

Boulder County hospitals see rise in breast cancer patients

Early last month, when Covid patients were once again filling Boulder’s hospitals, the chief nursing officer at Boulder Community Health saw another disease on the rise. “We’re going to see the highest number of breast cancer patients that we’ve seen at BCH over the years,” Jackie Attlesey-Pries told reporter John Herrick. The worrying rise is a ripple effect of the pandemic — and a wake-up call to no longer postpone routine exams and screenings. Read full story

Flu cases in Boulder are slightly up after an unusually quiet season last year

As the U.S. underwent its most intense wave of Covid-19 illnesses and deaths in winter of 2021, there was one virological silver lining: Influenza all but disappeared. Now local officials are worried about an uptick in cases. The data bears out their concern. Read full story

Quickly

⏱️ Expect temperatures in the low 70s today. Daily record high possible in Denver.
⏱️ Stage 1 fire restrictions are in place for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.
⏱️ Boulder ends Meteorological Fall with only 0.78″ total precipitation — the second-driest since 1893.
⏱️ A 72-year-old Boulder man died yesterday morning in a ski collision with a snowboarder at the Eldora Ski Area.
⏱️ Boulder Parks and Recreation Department swimming pools will operate at reduced hours, due to a lifeguard shortage.
⏱️ The effort to recall BVSD board members over the district’s mask mandate is officially over, says Boulder County Clerk, with no petitions submitted by the Nov. 29 deadline.
⏱️ Boulder County hosts a virtual public meeting on its Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Feasibility Study, focusing on the U.S. Highway 287 corridor between between Longmont and Broomfield, tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.
⏱️ First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week supports local businesses with 12 Days of Giveaways, starting today at 8 a.m. on their Instagram page.

Covid-19 in Boulder County: Dec. 1, 2021*

  • 91 daily new cases (7-day avg.) 🔻Down 32% over last week.
  • 81 patients hospitalized with Covid (7-day avg.) 🔺Up from avg. of 37.
  • 50% of ICU is occupied by Covid patients 🔺Up from avg. of 22%.
  • 68% percent of ICU is occupied in total 🔻Down from avg. of 72%.
  • *Data. Here’s how and where we’re tracking all of the above.

Latest Covid news

  • Vaxxed vs. un-vaxxed. We’ve heard your calls for more detailed data on vaccinations in our Covid-19 updates. We are working on a system to better track local vaccination data in Boulder County using publicly available data sources. According to Boulder County Public Health, 72% of Boulder County residents have received the full course of the vaccine. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment says  82% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated. You can find that data here.
  • Kids’ cases declining. That’s what Boulder County Public Health said in a Facebook post on Monday, which featured a graph showing a drop in new cases for the 0-11 age group.
  • Testing for new variant in Colorado. It’s still unclear whether Omicron is more contagious or lethal, but genetic sequencing tests are being administered by the state and private labs to detect new Covid variants in positive cases. Public health officials say the best way to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated, if you’re not already — and get that booster as soon as you’re able.
  • From the governor’s desk. Gov. Polis has amended and extended two executive orders in response to the Covid-19 pandemic — one pertaining to disaster recovery, and another related to hospital transfers. Read more.

BRL Picks

🧶Holiday craft fair. Not quite crafty enough to whip up a meaningful handmade gift this season? The Holiday Craft Fair at the Museum of Boulder has got you covered. Stop in between 9 a.m.–5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 5 for one-of-a-kind finds from local makers and a free hot beverage from OZO Coffee Company. Price is included with museum admission. $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, college students and youth ages 5–17. Museum members and kids under five get in free.
🕎 Menorah lighting on Pearl Street. The Boulder Jewish Community Center and Boulder County Center for Judaism welcome the entire community to an outdoor Hanukkah celebration downtown from 5:30–7 p.m tomorrow. Warm up with hot chocolate and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) as you enjoy the Menorah lighting, music and more at this annual tradition that’s fun for the whole family.
🎅 St. Nick on the Bricks. Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year in the most wonderful downtown district of the Mountain West. Kids can enjoy some quality face time with the big man himself, when Santa drops by the 1300 block of Pearl Street Mall from 11 a.m.–2 p.m on the first three Saturdays of December. Non-perishable food items and donations will be accepted to support Community Food Share. Plus free rides on the 100% Electric Tebo Train (better known as the Snowflake Express).

What We’re Reading

  • Book people. From its capacity to elicit childhood wonder to its potential to help enact social change, the written word has always loomed large for Boulder Book Store owner David Bolduc. Opening in 1973, his book-forward business has brought Boulderites together through literature for nearly half a century. “Along with the intimacy provided by Boulder, there is an intimacy to reading a book. You learn things about yourself and the world around you.” [Downtown Boulder]
  • Read-to-know basis. Speaking of books: Boulder teen Anjana Radha has some recommendations for a young reader in your life. From dystopian tales of survival to coming-of-age stories about love and loss, the vice chair of the library’s Boulder Teen Advisory Board (BTAB) shares a round-up of her favorite young adult page turners. “Reading is just another way to escape into a fantastical world that you can learn all about.” [Boulder Public Library]
  • Omicron in Colorado. It’s only a matter of time before the new Covid-19 variant shows up here. Colorado Public Radio breaks down how the state is testing for Omicron and what you can do to help mitigate the spread. State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy is concerned the new strain could follow the path of the Delta variant, which now accounts for all Covid cases in Colorado. “Delta has been very efficient at finding unvaccinated people, including children who were not yet eligible for the vaccine. And we are certainly concerned Omicron could potentially do the same thing, meaning that unvaccinated individuals will be at greater risk now and in the future than they’ve ever been.” [Colorado Public Radio]

ICYMI from BRL

🏠 Boulder’s departing urban planner recommends a citywide housing study. Planning and Development Services Director Jacob Lindsey spoke with John Herrick spoke about his thoughts on how Boulder should address its housing challenges.
🏥 Covid-19 patients are straining Boulder County hospitals again, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Fewer ICU beds are available for people who need them. Not all patients have Covid-19.

About Us

Hi. We’re Boulder’s new nonprofit newsroom. Our mission is to help you get more informed about the issues you care about and more connected to the city you love. To do this, we provide high-quality, original journalism on the most pressing issues plus curated community information — all paywall-free. Learn more about us here.

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– The BRL Team

Jezy J. Gray

I’m the managing editor of the Boulder Reporting Lab. In addition to years of writing on the culture, politics and history of my home state of Oklahoma, I was the final editor-in-chief of the Tulsa Voice, a local bi-weekly newspaper where I led a small but mighty team of journalists to regional and national honors in feature writing, diversity reporting, LGBTQ+ coverage and more. I look forward to listening to and learning from the Boulder community as we work together on telling the stories that matter here.