health

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An El Paso County woman who tested positive for the new coronavirus has died. State health officials say the woman was in her 80s with underlying health conditions.

Hart Van Denburg / CPR News

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis declared a state of emergency Tuesday morning as the number of identified coronavirus cases grows throughout the state. 

El Paso County Health officials say a man in his 40s with a recent travel history to California is the first presumptive case of coronavirus in the county.

Wild mushroom foragers in the Mountain West may soon have a new and easy way to tell if their pickings are poisonous. 

For years during the Cold War, large swaths of land in Nevada were used for atomic weapons testing. Nuclear bombs were dropped just miles from small towns and the people living in them.

Over time, men, women and children started getting sick, and three decades ago, a federal law offered a formal apology and eventually created a program to both reach out to affected communities and pay partial restitution when appropriate. That program is ending soon, but the nuclear tests’ health effects are not.

CDC

The Colorado legislature is considering a new bill that would require private health insurance companies in the state to cover in vitro fertilization – or IVF – for patients struggling with infertility. It would become the most comprehensive coverage for infertility in the Mountain West. 

Thousands of cases of the coronavirus have been reported worldwide, with most occurring in China. However, the outbreak is sure to have big economic impacts in the U.S.

Updated at 6:00 p.m.

A bipartisan group of legislators say they plan to introduce a bill aimed at increasing childhood vaccination rates in the state. 

They say the bill would require parents seeking a vaccine exemption for non-medical reasons to use a specific form. Parents would also need to get the signature of a doctor or other immunization provider, or do an online vaccination education class. 

As Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic lawmakers wage a war with hospitals over the rising cost of health care in Colorado, many residents like Jamie Harrison are still stuck paying high premiums on the West Slope.

"I think paying $1,700 a month for an insurance policy I don't use is not sustainable," Harrison said last week after finishing a day of skiing in Beaver Creek. "Something has got to give."

One rural community in Colorado was so frustrated with high health insurance costs and government inaction that a few years ago, residents took matters into their own hands.

And their plan worked.

Locals in Summit County found a way around traditional insurance processes to lower local health care costs and save consumers an average of 20 percent on their monthly premiums.

Tim Reckmann / Flickr

Electric scooters can be a cheaper, more convenient alternative to getting around in cities. You don’t have to pay for parking or sit behind cars in traffic. And in some places you can rent them anywhere you go using your smartphone.  

A new study casts doubt on the safety of state abortion laws in the Mountain West.

Back in mid-December, three children were hospitalized with measles after passing through the Denver airport and the emergency department of Children’s Hospital Colorado. The concern was that others might have picked up the disease at those locations. 

Three children are being treated at a Denver-area hospital for measles, adding to the more than 1,200 cases of the disease reported this year nationwide. Some Mountain West states have already seen measles cases this year, including Colorado, Idaho, and Nevada.

Measles is very contagious, so when a case is identified, it kicks local health officials into high gear, rapidly searching for anyone the patients may have come into contact with. 

nwxiang / Creative Commons 2.0

Moody’s Analytics just looked at the economic consequences of a report by Blue Cross Blue Shield on millennial health. And it’s not good.   

Researchers writing in the journal Science found that when kids get measles, it can cause “amnesia” in the immune system. 

In much of the Mountain West, measles vaccination rates are below the recommended 95% level.

Governors of Western states have signed letters supporting a pair of bills that would compensate more people who were exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons testing.

Colorado’s oil and gas regulators say they will start putting some drilling applications through a more rigorous review process after a study found people face short term health risks, such as headaches and dizziness, if they are within 2,000 feet of the wells.

The study released Thursday specifically found the health risks occur when a well is being constructed, with the highest risk coming at a time when a process called “flowback” occurs.

It's known as the Night of the Grizzlies. Over fifty years ago, two women were killed by two different grizzly bears on the same night. The repercussions of the incident can still be seen in the way bears are managed today. But it also gave birth to a powerful myth—it's dangerous for women to spend time in the woods while menstruating.

Mountain West states have some of the lowest rates of youth obesity in the country, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Utah's rate of 8.7% was found to be the lowest in the country, while Colorado and Montana, with rates of 10.7% and 10.8%, respectively, were also among the six states with obesity rates statistically significantly lower than the national average of 15.3%.

Vijay S. Limaye, et al.

We know the climate crisis affects public health. But what do those health impacts cost us?

Karla Selene Pérez Zavala / Creative Commons 4.0

Last month, the Trump administration said it would start deporting gravely ill immigrants here temporarily for medical care. This week, it backtracked a little. But 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to the administration saying they’re not satisfied. 

Annie Haigler steps out of her home in Louisville, Ky., pulling a handkerchief out of her pocket to dab sweat off her forehead. She enjoys sitting on her porch, especially to watch the sunrise. She has always been a morning person.

But as the day progresses, the heat can be unbearable for her. On summer days like this, when highs reach into the 90s, the lack of trees in her neighborhood is hard for Haigler to ignore.

"That's what I'm accustomed to trees doing: They bring comfort. You don't notice it, you don't think about it. But they bring comfort to you," she says.

Courtesy photo / Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Communities in the lower Arkansas River Valley have had issues with drinking water for years, including discoloration and poor taste. Recent data shows that two dozen water systems in the valley contain radioactive contaminants and are in violation of the Clean Water Act. There’s a possible solution though — the Arkansas Valley Conduit. It’s a pipeline that would deliver cleaner water from Pueblo Reservoir to the rest of the region. It’s been in the works for decades but has yet to be completely funded.

At a time when more than 30 states and the District of Columbia have legalized the use of marijuana for either medical or recreational use, the U.S. surgeon general says no amount of the drug is safe for teens, young adults and pregnant women.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the state of Idaho must provide sex reassignment surgery to inmate Adree Edmo.


Updated August 19, 6:28 p.m.

When Dylan Nelson was admitted to the ICU in July with difficulty breathing, his mother, Kim Barnes. figured it was his asthma acting up. But when she got to the hospital in Burlington, Wis., he couldn't speak. He was intubated. His blood oxygen level was only 10%. He was put into a medically induced coma.

Barnes told the nurse she worried she wouldn't see her 26-year-old son again. The nurse reassured her.

Mothers living near more intense oil and gas development may have a higher risk of having children with congenital heart defects. That's according to a new study from researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health.

Any day now, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will rule on the case of Adree Edmo, a transgender women currently in prison in Idaho. She sued the state for sex reassignment surgery and won. The state appealed and now the 9th Circuit’s decision on her case could have implications not only for her but for transgender inmates across the West and potentially the nation.  

Income inequality in the U.S. has grown over the past several decades. And as the gap between rich and poor yawns, so does the gap in their health, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open Friday.

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