Coronavirus In Colorado–March 24 Updates: Pueblo Considers Stay-At-Home, And More

March 24, 2020
Virus Outbreak US TestingVirus Outbreak US Testing ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP
This undated file photo provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows CDC's laboratory test kit for the new coronavirus.

This post will be updated throughout the day.

Updated 7:58 p.m.:

---Fort Carson Personnel Deploy To Washington State---

More than 300 medical personnel from the 627th Hospital Center based at Fort Carson are preparing to head to Washington to help that state as it deals with COVID-19. 

The personnel will provide assistance in routine and emergency medicine aimed at allowing community medical staff the ability to focus more on detecting and treating patients who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

---Community Leaders In Pueblo Consider Stay-At-Home Order---

Leaders in Pueblo met Tuesday to talk about the possibility of a stay-at-home order, similar to ones passed in Denver and other areas of the state. 

Delays in test processing at the state level mean many results are still pending for the county, according to the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. As a result, it's difficult to measure the spread of COVID-19.

Based on state modeling though, Randy Evetts, public health director at the agency, said community spread is "likely a reality."

Health officials in Pueblo say they are waiting on results from 200 tests sent to state labs, including 90 taken at the State Fairgrounds last week. Current known results show three positive tests.

Despite the lack of results, "this virus remains a serious threat to our community," said Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar in a statement.  "It is critical that we maintain our social distance by staying at home."

Stay-at-home orders are not in place at this time in Pueblo, but if enacted, could close all non-essential businesses and mandating people stay home unless they are buying groceries, going to the doctor or providing other critical services for family members.

---Colorado College Donates Items To COVID-19 Efforts---

Gloves, masks and biohazard bags are among the 3670 items donated to Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs by Colorado College. The items come from the athletics department, campus safety and the Fine Arts at Colorado College, and Maggie Santos, director of campus safety, says more items will be donated as they are gathered.

* Note: Colorado College is KRCC's licensee.

Updated 4:27 p.m. 

---Colorado Department Of Public Health And Environment Releases New Stats---

Known positive cases of COVID-19 in Colorado have reached 912, which is an increase of 192. The data is complete through Mon. March 23, and includes both those who have tested positive and those who are exhibiting symptoms and are a close contact to someone who has tested positive for the disease.

84 people have been hospitalized and 11 people have died.

Health officials say the death identified last night as the fourth in El Paso County as a result of COVID-19 was not a resident of El Paso County.

It is unclear where that resident resided, but there are still 11 deaths across the state as a result of the new coronavirus.

Southern Colorado counties with positive test results:

  • El Paso County – 106 
  • Douglas County – 53 
  • Teller County – 3 
  • Pueblo County – 3 
  • Chaffee County – 3 
  • Elbert County – 3 
  • Crowley County – 1
  • Fremont County – 1
  • Huerfano County – 1 

Additionally, Teller County health officials say one person there has died as a result of COVID-19. It is unclear if that number is reflected in the state data.

Updated 3:30 p.m.

Teller County Reports First Known Death Due To COVID-19

Teller County Public Health and Environment reported the first known death due to COVID-19 in the community in a press release this afternoon. The county has reported three known, confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Updated 12 p.m.

Pubelo County Receives Healthcare Supplies To Aid COVID-19 Response

Pueblo County received supplies from the National Strategic Stockpile to help health care agencies respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a statement by Sarah Joseph, spokesperson for the Pueblo Department of Public Health. The shipment arrived Monday afternoon and included surgical masks, surgical gowns, gloves and face shields. 

Pueblo County distributed the supplies to Huerfano, Las Animas, Custer and Fremont counties. These counties will then pass along supplies to hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities. According to the Pueblo Department of Public Health, the county aims to distribute their supplies to long-term care facilities.

There are currently three known positive cases of COVID-19 in Pueblo County, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. There are currently no reported known cases in Huerfano, Custer, Las Animas or Fremont counties.

Morning Information

There are now 720 known positive cases of COVID-19 in Colorado. The data is complete through Sun., March 22, and includes both those who have tested positive and those who are exhibiting symptoms and are a close contact to someone who has tested positive for the disease.

Additionally, 72 people are hospitalized, and eight people have died. After the state data was published, El Paso County Public Health reported its fourth death as a result of COVID-19 as a man in his 80s, bringing the total in the state to eight. 

Among Southern Colorado counties, El Paso County tops the list with 69 followed by Douglas with 48. Teller, Chaffee, Elbert and Pueblo Counties each have three cases, and Crowley County has one.

Fremont County is reporting its first known positive case of the new coronavirus, an adult female. It is not yet reflected in state data.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock Monday announced a "stay-at-home" order for the city. Boulder soon did the same.

In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel issued a public health emergency effective at 8 a.m. It's a "stay-at-home" order aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

As of data released Sunday, New Mexico has 83 positive tests for the disease, including three in Taos County.

---Colorado Starts Distributing Supplies From Strategic National Stockpile---

The state began shipping supplies across Colorado Monday that have been procured from the Strategic National Stockpile. That includes 49,200 N95 masks, 115,000 surgical masks, and 21,420 surgical gowns.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) estimates the supplies can support one full day of operations around the state.

The supplies will go to county health departments and tribes where it's deemed their needed most. Criteria for that decision includes population; portion of the population older than 65 proportional to the state population; the number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospitals; if the county or tribe has received supplies previously.

"We are relieved that we have finally received materials from the Strategic National Stockpile, but it's not nearly enough," said Scott Bookman, COVID Incident Commander, CDPHE in a statement. "We're going to need more supplies and are grateful to all our partners across the state who are donating supplies and stepping up to help Colorado meet the demand."

---Colorado Springs Police Department Changes Traffic Stop Protocols---

The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) is changing the way it conducts traffic stops in an effort to protect both officers and the public as the outbreak of the new coronavirus continues.

In a typical traffic stop, the officer comes to the driver's side of the vehicle and asks for license and registration. That’s a driver's cue to hand those documents to the officer. But not anymore. Instead, drivers will be asked to hold up their documents so the officer can take photos.