Coronavirus news and updates from Colorado Springs, the Pikes Peak region, and elsewhere in Colorado and the U.S.

- Air Force will be without preseason All-American offensive guard Nolan Laufenberg on Saturday as the result of COVID-19 contact tracing, The Gazette has learned. Laufenberg has not tested positive for the coronavirus, but his exposure through an academy class to a cadet who tested positive led to the protocols that will keep him from traveling to San Jose State. Read more here.

- Step up, Colorado. With cases of COVID-19 surging in nearly half the state, Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday announced a media campaign pleading with Coloradans to take seriously the precautions needed to prevent more cases of the coronavirus. Read more here.

- Colorado Springs School District 11 added to the number of schools pivoting to remote learning amid the increase in coronavirus cases in El Paso County, according to news releases from the district. Mitchell High School and Rogers Elementary School switched to online classes Wednesday because of “COVID-related illnesses,” district spokeswoman Devra Ashby said. Read more here.

- More than 20 superintendents from Pikes Peak region school districts are calling for state officials to suspend standardized testing for this school year. The group cites “the difficulty the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present school staff, student and families” as the main reason to halt the tests. Read more here.

- Columbia Elementary School of School District 11 announced Monday it will move to online classes because of a "probable COVID-19 case," district officials said in a news release. Read more here.

- New coronavirus cases in El Paso County have been trending sharply upward since early October, public health leaders said Monday as they work to stem the spread of the disease and avoid the possibility of new restrictionsRead more here.

- Colorado and Denver health officials are emphasizing vaccinations and preparedness ahead of a flu season that could exacerbate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the stressed health care system fighting it. Read more here.

- Coronavirus exacerbates the military's problem of finding qualified recruitsRead more here.

- Cody Lyster contracted COVID-19 in late March. Within several days Cody was running a fever of 105 degrees. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and put on a ventilator within hours. In the following days, fluid began to fill his lungs. Cody had bilateral pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and had to start dialysis for his kidneys. On April 8, Cody died. He was 21. At the time of his death, Cody had no preexisting conditions. Full story here.

- Colorado’s jail populations have fallen by as much as 46% statewide since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic brought on an urgent need to reduce jail populations to slow the spread of the disease. In a new report, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado said it wants measures taken by counties to keep jail numbers down during the pandemic to become permanent practices. Read more here.

- Colorado has hit yet another new high in daily COVID-19 diagnoses: 1,312, Gov. Jared Polis said at a press conference, where he announced that the state was submitting its vaccination distribution plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Read more here.

-El Paso County Public Health added a local community college, a school district and a Palmer Lake school to its list of COVID-19 outbreaks, the same day the Colorado Springs area's largest district said it would transition one of its high schools to online learning Monday because of the pandemic. Read more here.

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