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Colorado Edition: The Medical Front Line

National Guard
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Members of the Florida National Guard gather with local hospital staff to practice donning and doffing personal protective equipment (PPE) on March 17, 2020.

Today on Colorado Edition: We bring you the latest coronavirus news in our state, including a look at unemployment numbers and what work is like on the medical front line against COVID-19. We also hear from grocery store workers in our region, and we learn about the circus performer behind the Colorado Artist Talent and Skills Database.

What It's Like To Work In A Coronavirus Ward

While Denver residents are ordered to stay home, essential personnel such as doctors are still expected to go into work, and to quickly ramp up operations. Last week on the show, we heard from a rural ER doctor about her experiences. Today, we spoke with Jennifer Brown, a writer at the Colorado Sun, about a recent profile she wrote about a doctor working at the COVID-19 ward at Denver Health.

Who Watches The Grocery Store Workers?

It's a scary time for some as social distancing and isolation becoming the norm. But grocery store workers are still at work, putting their health at risk to keep the shelves stocked. At a press conference on Sunday, Gov. Jared Polis urged Coloradans to only go to the grocery store once a week. But for employees at the stores, that’s not an option. 

For KUNC, Noah Glick brought us the story on how workers are dealing with COVID-19. You can go deeper with Noah’s story here.

The Helpers: Colorado Artist And Skills Database

A popular meme going around social media right now includes a quote from Mr. Rogers reminding people that in times of trouble, to look for the helpers, those who are working to make things better. In a recurring segment we’re calling “The Helpers,” we talk with those people to find out more about what they’re doing and why. Today’s segment is on a Denver circus performer who’s created the Colorado Artist Talent and Skills Database, which helps creatives who are now out of gigs find work using their other abilities.

Streamlining The Unemployment Claim Process

Even though the state will not require residents to stay at home, Gov. Polis has ordered the closure of all dine-in restaurants, hair and nail salons, massage parlors, theaters and gyms. As a result, the number of people filing unemployment claims continues to rise here in Colorado.

Between Monday and Thursday of last week, over 20,000 people filed for unemployment, which is a more than 1,400% increase from the week before, according to the Colorado Department of Labor. In fact, so many people visited the state’s unemployment website that it started experiencing trouble. Tamara Chuang from the Colorado Sun joined us now to explain what happened and what the state is doing to streamline operations. You can read Tamara’s story here.

Estes Park Feels The Economic Pain Of COVID-19

Rocky Mountain National Park is now closed until further notice after a request from the mayor of Estes Park, a small town that is extremely dependent on the national park’s tourists. KUNC’s Adam Rayes brought us more on how the town is grappling with the economic impact of the outbreak. You can go deeper with Adam’s story here.

Colorado Edition is made possible with support from our KUNC members. Thank you!

Our theme music was composed by Colorado musicians Briana Harris and Johnny Burroughs. Other music in the show by Blue Dot Sessions:

  • “On Three Legs" by Textile Caramb
  • "Coulis Coulis" by Confectionairy

Colorado Edition is hosted by Erin O'Toole (@ErinOtoole1) and Henry Zimmerman (@HWZimmerman), and produced by Lily Tyson. The web was edited by digital editor Jackie Hai. Managing editor Brian Larson contributed to this episode.

KUNC's Colorado Edition is a news magazine taking an in-depth look at the issues and culture of Northern Colorado. It's available on our website, as well as on iTunesGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can hear the show on KUNC's air, Monday through Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Stories written by KUNC newsroom staff.