This post will be updated periodically throughout the weekend.
Update- Sun. March 22, 2020. 4:40 p.m.
Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) shows nearly 600 known positive cases of the new coronavirus across the state. The data is only complete through Sat., March 21.
591 people are now known to have the virus, an increase of 116 from the day before, with 58 hospitalizations and six deaths.
In Southern Colorado, six counties are currently known to be affected:
- El Paso County – 51
- Douglas County – 33
- Chaffee County – 3
- Elbert County – 3
- Pueblo County – 3
- Crowley County – 1
Update- Sun. March 22, 2020. 3:05 p.m.
---El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy And Civilian Healthcare Worker At Fort Carson Test Positive---
An employee of the El Paso County Sheriff's office has tested positive for COVID-19. A news release from the office says the deputy has been isolated for nearly a week and is in home recovery, and those who may have had contact with the deputy have been notified and are taking precautions.
Additionally, a civilian worker at Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson has tested positive. The person, currently in isolation and not hospitalized, is a female healthcare worker in her 60s and has had limited contact with patients and staff. Those people have been notified and are being monitored by Fort Carson Public Health.
---AG Weiser Calls For Pause In Evictions---
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is calling to halt any eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
From a release:
"In this emergency, evicting any Coloradan from their home would exacerbate the public health and economic crisis we are fighting together. I applaud Governor Polis in leading state agencies and local governments in an effort to stop evictions during this crisis."
"I commend the many state courts that have already suspended or postponed eviction proceedings and are not accepting new eviction applications during this crisis. I also applaud the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court for granting local judges the authority to make that determination.
"So far, courts in Denver, Mesa County, Weld County, and Boulder County, among others, have taken this important step. I urge all Colorado courts to join in recognizing the urgent need to pause all eviction orders during this emergency. Nobody should be without their home as we all grapple with this crisis."
---Limited Services At Pueblo Dept. Of Public Health And Environment---
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment will continue with limited services starting Monday.
- Pueblo County Vital Records Office is closed to the public; requests for birth and death certificates are still being processed;
- WIC appointments are modified; benefits to continue
- Clinic services continue, including family planning
Residents can call 719-583-4300 or visit pueblohealth.org for more information.
Update- Sun. March 22, 2020. 12:50 p.m.
---Colorado's Senators Introduce Bill To Support Rural Hospitals---
Colorado's senators, Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner, along with three other senators, have introduced a bi-partisan bill aimed at supporting rural hospitals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
A press release from Bennet's office says that while many state and local governments have suspended elective surgeries to help ease the pressure on large facilities, which they say is medically necessary right now. But, at a time when many hospitals are already facing constraints and closures, many rely on these types of procedures to remain open.
"Now [rural hospitals] face an existential challenge," Bennet said in the release. "Our plan would provide immediate assistance to stabilize and strengthen our rural hospitals, so they can continue to play a critical role on the front lines of this public health crisis."
"Health care providers are on the front lines against COVID-19," said Gardner in the release. "We must ensure they have the necessary resources to successfully combat the pandemic."
---Bennet Among Democratic Senators Seeking Answers On Testing And Equipment Shortages—
Senate Democrats, including Colorado's Michael Bennet, penned a letter to President Trump and VIce President Pence asking for answers about supplies and equipment in the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) that they say are critical in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the letter, the senators ask for:
- confirmation of supply and equipment shortages;
- an outline of their plan to close such shortages;
- clarification on how they plan to use the Defense Production Act to increase production of supplies and equipment needed for the pandemic response.
"Given the scale of the threat that COVID-19 poses to public health, responding to the outbreak is placing substantial strain on state, local, territorial, and tribal public health agencies' already- limited resources," the senators write.
"Furthermore, states and health care facilities who are trying to do as the President says and 'get it yourself,' find that the supply simply is not available. We urge you to be proactive and utilize the powers that you invoked on March 18, 2020, under the Defense Production Act (DPA) to mobilize private industry to manufacture the supplies and equipment needed to address this crisis."
The letter seeks answers from the president and vice president by no later than Tues., March 24.
Update- Sat. March 21, 2020. 5:09 p.m.:
The state health department has released its daily numbers for Coloradans affected by COVID-19. The department says the data itself is only complete as of Friday March 20.
There are now 475 known positive cases of COVID-19, which is an increase of 112 from the day before. That includes 49 hospitalized.
Five people in Colorado have now died from the virus.
The fifth death was a male in his 60s with underlying health conditions. He was a resident of Eagle County, but county officials say he died at a Denver-area hospital.
Among Southern Colorado counties, El Paso County now has 37 known positive cases, Pueblo three, and Chaffee County has two. Crowley County remains at one.
The El Paso County Health Department is also reporting a third death of a resident in the county. Health officials have identified the patient as a man in his 70s. It is not yet reflected in the state data, which is updated daily.
A Colorado National Guard soldier currently housed at Fort Carson has tested positive and is in isolation. According to the base, the soldier is in good spirits and does not require hospitalization at this time.
---Don't Call 9-1-1 Unless It's a True Emergency---
Health officials are urging residents of Colorado to avoid calling 9-1-1, unless it's a true emergency. Officials say people are calling 911 for reasons other than medical emergencies, including general questions about COVID-19, and the service needs to be preserved for true medical emergencies.
To that end, those with symptoms of COVID-19—including, cough and shortness of breath—should seek out phone advice from their medical provider, or through telehealth or nurseline resources before seeking in-person care.
---Changes To El Paso County Human Services---
Many in-person services at El Paso County Human Services will be changed in order to comply with health guidelines in relation to COVID-19, but the agency is continuing to depend on the public to report concerns in cases of child abuse or neglect or adult abuse or neglect.
"Our work increases in times of crisis," said Julie Krow, executive director of the Department of Human Services. "In fact, our work increases in times of crisis."
Online resources are in place to help those who may need to apply for assistance programs, and in extreme circumstance, including lack of access to the internet, limited in-person services are available.
---State Suspends Home Visit Rule For Pet Adoption---
A rule requiring a home inspection prior to fostering a pet has been suspended for the next 120 days. According to the state, the outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in pets being dropped off at shelters, sanctuaries and rescues, as well as a shortage of staff to care for them.
The home suspension inspection allows the use of foster care homes without risking exposure or transmission of the new coronavirus.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is encouraging residents who find a lost pet to keep it in their home if it is safe and fill out a found report. The agency must be contacted prior to dropping off an animal for any reason.
---State Parks Remain Open; Most Public Facilities Closed---
Colorado State Parks continue to remain open, but all public-facing facilities are now closed. Offices will still remain staffed and able to assist people through phone or email and limited personal interactions when necessary. Restrooms and public areas will continue being cleaned and maintained.
---Justice Department Combats Fraud---
In a press release from the U.S. District Attorney, District of Colorado, the United States Justice Department has put together a federal effort to combat fraud during the epidemic.
"The Colorado U.S. Attorney's Office will be vigilant in investigating and prosecuting fraud related to the Coronavirus," said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn. "My office and I will be steadfast in protecting the citizens of Colorado at a time when they may be particularly vulnerable to financial scams."
Examples can include:
- Fake cures
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Fraudulent charities
If you suspect fraud, you're asked to call the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or email email@example.com.
-----Original Morning Post:
The total number of confirmed known cases of COVID-19 in Colorado as of Friday afternoon stood at 363, with 44 hospitalizations and four confirmed deaths as a result of the disease. That's according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which updates statics daily. Two of those deaths have occurred in El Paso County, and another in Crowley County.
---Changes to Colorado Springs City Operations---
The city of Colorado Springs has unveiled a number of changes aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus. Among them:
- Monday's City Council work session is cancelled and Tuesday's meeting will be conducted over a phone conference call. On March 18, City Council voted to suspend certain rules, like requiring councilmembers to be physically present. Additionally, City Hall is closed to the public.
- Citing a shortage of reporting bus drivers, Mountain Metropolitan Transit, the bus system in Colorado Springs, is modifying its weekend route schedule and will soon finalize a new schedule for weekday transportation.
- The City Administration Building will only be open to the public on the lobby level. All other business will go through a drop box system. City employees will be available by phone and email for assistance.
---Testing Site Opens In Salida--
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) continues to send testing resources to other parts of the state, including Salida at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. The site is scheduled to open Saturday, and residents who are symptomatic and have a doctor's referral can go to the test. Referrals should come through phone conversations and people should not show up at doctor's offices.
---Testing Site At Peterson Air Force Base--
Medical personnel at Peterson Air Force Base have set up a COVID-19 test location at the car wash. The goal is to consolidate those exhibiting symptoms to one area in an effort to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Testing is available for all members whose servicing medical treatment facility is Peterson or Schriever Air Force Bases. It will be open by appointment only in a drive-thru format for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are symptomatic, to include fever, shortness of breath and/or cough. Individuals first must get a referral by calling 719-524-2273.
---Air Force Academy Closes To Visitors--
The United States Air Force Academy has officially begun limiting access to the facility. Access will only be permitted to those who work or live on the installation, or those accessing medical services. According to a press release from the base, no one there has been officially been confirmed as having COVID-19.
---No Visitors Policy At UCHealth--
UCHealth is implementing a "no visitors" policy at all of its hospitals and clinics, effective now. Exceptions include maternity, NICU, pediatric and end-of-life care. For those in out-patient clinic treatment, one person can accompany them.
In a release, the hospital system acknowledges the change is "disappointing" for patients and their loved ones, but encourages the use of virtual systems and phone calls.
Other hospital systems in the state have implemented similar restrictions in an effort to limit the exposure of people to COVID-19.
---Cruise Ship Passengers Return To Colorado--
The state health department says 39 passengers on a Grand Princess cruise ship docked at the Port of Oakland since March 9 are Colorado residents and on their way back to the Centennial State. All are asymptomatic at this time. The typical incubation period for COVID-19 can take up to two weeks.
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