Two Boulder City Council members have tested positive for COVID-19, but it’s not clear how those results will impact plans to host hybrid meetings later this month.
Mayor Aaron Brockett and City Council member Matt Benjamin both announced that they have tested positive for the coronavirus on social media.
“Well, 2+ years into the pandemic, Covid has finally paid me a personal visit,” Brockett wrote on his Twitter page. “I’m feeling kinda awful but it doesn’t seem to be too serious.”
The announcement comes days after the City Council joined for an in-person meeting at the Penfield Tate II Municipal Building, but ahead of the May 17 meeting in which the public will be allowed to return to City Council chambers.
The mayor did not attend the weekly Council Agenda Committee meeting on Monday, but those who were there discussed whether the results affected the city’s plan for May 17.
“I don’t know if what happened changes any of our protocols,” Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Friend said on Monday.
“I think we need to revisit it given that there (were) just a handful of us and it spread,” Benjamin added in the meeting, which was conducted virtually. .
So far, no other City Council members have publicly shared any positive test results. Eight City Council members attended the meeting as well as some staff. Councilmember Mark Wallach was not there.
Boulder County remained in the low COVID-19 community level as of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest update on Thursday.
However, Boulder County Public Health data, which updates more frequently, indicates the county has since creeped into the CDC’s medium community level with an incidence rate of slightly more than 200 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. Once the number exceeds 200, a county moves out of the low level.
While the CDC does not mandate vaccinations or prohibit gatherings at the medium community level, it does begin to recommend implementing some enhanced protection measures such as better ventilation and the implementation of testing strategies, particularly for people who have been exposed.
City Manager Nuria Rivera-Vandermyde said in Monday’s CAC meeting that the city will reconsider the situation ahead of the May 17 meeting before making a final decision about whether to allow the public back into council chambers.
While the city could opt to continue conducting meetings virtually, Rivera-Vandermyde noted that there are a number of other tools the city could consider as it prepares for the community’s return such as masking, increasing educational efforts or spacing out seats.
If the city ended up changing its plans for an in-person meeting on May 17 with the public in attendance, it would mark the second time this happened. Boulder also planned to return to council chambers in summer 2021 but never did — originally due to technological challenges and ultimately because of a COVID surge.
Boulder Daily Camera
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