One Colorado Business Owner Partners with a Houston University to Help Harris County Seniors Endure Long Lines at the Polls.

(Denver, Colorado) – With only a day until the 2020 U.S. presidential election, voters in Harris County, Texas are clamoring to the polls, many waiting hours in line to cast their vote. After watching what was happening on the news, Colorado business owner Jim Burness wanted to help.  

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“We weren’t sure how we could make a difference, but we knew we had to try,” Burness shared and after a few hours of brainstorming, he had an idea. “We knew lots of companies would be sending water and offering food, but I wanted to find another way to keep people in line. I was most concerned about seniors and those with health issues, so we packed up a bunch of camp chairs and shipped them to Texas.”  

In fact, it was more than “a bunch”. Mr. Burness and his wife cleaned out their local Walmart and shipped a huge pallet of camp chairs to Texas. Unable to travel and distribute the chairs himself, he decided to reach out to the Rice University Young Democrats for help.

In fact, it was more than “a bunch”. Mr. Burness and his wife cleaned out their local Walmart and shipped a huge pallet of camp chairs to Texas. Unable to travel and distribute the chairs himself, he decided to reach out to the Rice University Young Democrats for help.

“We were blown away by the gesture and definitely wanted to find a way to make this happen,” Alissa Kono shared, a junior studying social policy analysis at Rice and President of the university’s Young Democrats. The group, who’s actively engaged in getting the vote out on campus, has also been phone banking and actively reaching out to the community to ensure everyone gets to the polls and is up to date on the issues. “This election is too important not to vote, but even beyond that voting is a huge responsibility and privilege, and everyone needs to get out there and exercise their voice.”  

“We’re fortunate in Colorado, because everyone receives a ballot in the mail. But in Texas that’s not the case,” Burness shared. “When I was contemplating how I could best support the election, I kept thinking of my dad. There is no way he could have ever stood in line for an hour let alone five. My hope is that this small gift will allow others like him to have their voice heard, no matter if they are voting red or blue.”

Nearly 1.4 million Houston area residents have already cast their ballots in early voting, exceeding the number that turned out for the 2016 election. This surge, without question, is a response to the presidential race, but also related to the challenges Harris County voters found in 2016. Even though they continue to see long lines, Harris County officials have done everything in their power to make voting more accessible by expanding voting hours and tripling the number of voting locations, the lines continue to be long. While local officials actively want to ensure their constituents are able to vote, the newly blue county leadership, also recognized the nation’s third largest county with record breaking turnout could play a pivotal role in the election – potentially, tipping Texas for Biden. 

While Mr. Burness is an active Colorado Democrat, he’s equally a strong believer in exercising your right to vote – so much so, he is closing his offices on November 3rd. “I made the decision to make Election Day a staff holiday, not only because I wanted to give everyone the opportunity to vote, but also because so many wanted to get involved as poll watchers, dropping off ballots for the elderly or making phone calls,” he shared. “Do I want to see Biden victory? Absolutely, but regardless of party, no

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Rapid At-Home Tests Could Curb Virus Spread, Harvard and University of Colorado Researchers Find | News

Frequent administration of rapid-turnaround tests could substantially reduce COVID-19 infectiousness and curb the virus’s spread, researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Colorado at Boulder found in a new study.

While the gold-standard tests, which detect the virus using polymerase chain reaction, accurately identify infected patients, they are not highly effective for population-wide testing due to lengthy return times, according to James A. Hay, a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Public Health and one of the study’s authors.

“One of the problems with testing has been that we’ve been kind of restricting ourselves to these very sensitive PCR tests that are really not designed for mass deployment,” Hay said.

Those administering the tests should prioritize accessibility, frequency, and turnaround time over “test sensitivity” — meaning the proportion of infected individuals who test positive — according to the study, which was published November 20 in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances.

Though the rapid COVID-19 tests have less sensitivity than the gold-standard PCR tests, they bring other benefits: Some return results in 15 minutes, while PCR tests can take several days.

“That loss of sensitivity is offset by the fact that they’re very cheap to produce, they’re very easy to use, and they’re the sort of thing you can give to people to use in their homes,” Hay said.

“The key is that by testing people very frequently, you’re much more likely to catch people when they’re infectious,” Hay added.

The lower sensitivity of the rapid, at-home tests compared to standard PCR tests means patients must have higher viral loads for the test to detect the virus. But in most cases, patients do not become contagious until after the brief early period of infection, when people tend to have lower viral loads that are undetectable by the at-home tests, according to Hay.

Hay said the tests should be viewed as a transmission-limiting tool aiding public health response, rather than purely as a medical diagnostic like the standard PCR tests. In a School of Public Health press release, epidemiology professor Michael J. Mina, a senior co-author and Hay’s postdoctoral advisor, called the tests “contagiousness tests.”

“These rapid tests are contagiousness tests,” Mina said in the release. “They are extremely effective in detecting COVID-19 when people are contagious.”

Even with frequent testing via rapid COVID-19 tests, social distancing measures will remain critical, Hay said.

“Rapid testing is more a way to say, well, we can detect more positive people and earlier in their infection, and it’s for those people who test positive that they must take extra precautions to not infect other people,” Hay said. “Those are the people that we would encourage to self isolate, but it doesn’t mean that if you get a negative result that’s a free passport to do whatever you want.”

“At the population level, if we are targeting who has to self isolate much more intelligently, then we don’t need to resort to the kind of population-wide lockdowns, because we know that the

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Colorado Other – District 1 Election Results

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Election Date: Nov. 3, 2020 | Updated 6:01 AM EST Nov. 2, 2020

State Board of Education – District 1

0% Reporting

Choices Total Votes % Votes
Lisa
Escarcega (D)
Sydnnia
Wulff (R)
Alan
Hayman
Zachary
Laddison

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