Elena Rivera

KRCC News Reporter

Elena Rivera is a reporter for 91.5 KRCC. Previously, she worked for Blue Ridge Public Radio in Asheville, N.C., Georgia Public Broadcasting in Atlanta, Ga., and KBIA in Columbia, Mo.

She has won awards from the Missouri Broadcast Association, Kansas City Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists (Region 7) for her work as a morning newscast host, an arts reporter and a podcast producer.

She is originally from Rochester, N.Y., and graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

A dirt trail surrounded by trees.
Courtesy of Susan Davies / Trails and Open Space Coalition

As the state eases restrictions and summer comes into full view, we're wanting to get outside more and more--but we also need to avoid overcrowding popular spaces and maintain a safe distance from others.

That's why we're introducing a new weekly series called Nature's Neighborhood. Every week, Susan Davies of the Trails and Open Space Coalition will highlight some lesser known parks, trails and walking areas in the Pikes Peak region.

Courtesy of Bent County Public Health

UPDATE--Friday, May 22:

In an update on Friday, May 22, Bent County Public Health Executive Director Omer Tamir said the agency has concluded its investigation.

The individual at the care center tested positive on May 15, and upon a second test on May 18, tested negative.

ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP

This post will be updated throughout the week.

Updated: Sun., May 24, 4:30 p.m.

---Latest Data Shows More Than 24,170 Cases Of COVID-19 In Colorado---

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there are more than 21,170 known positive cases of coronavirus in Colorado. This includes both people who have tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with those who tested positive and exhibited symptoms.

Courtesy of Joy Armstrong / Inside Out Youth Services/United Court of the Pikes Peak Empire

Due to the new coronavirus, schools across southern Colorado have cancelled end-of-year events like prom and moved graduation services online. One organization in Colorado Springs has shifted their annual prom for LGBTQ youth into the digital space on Saturday, May 16.

Courtesy of Peterson Air Force Base

The leader of the 21st Space Wing at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs has passed away.

Col. Thomas G. Falzarano took over command of the Wing during June 2019. During his tenure, he worked with around 4,300 professionals across the globe on missile defense and space control for combat forces, among other responsibilities.

ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP

This post will be updated throughout the day.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

---Latest Statewide Data Shows More Than 20,470 Cases Of COVID-19 In Colorado---

There are 20,475 known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This includes both people who have tested positive for the virus and people who have exhibited symptoms, as well as having close contact with someone who tested positive.

A picture of a garden with white trellises with masks.
Courtesy of Cathleen Meadows

During this time of social distancing, finding ways to stay connected to the people in our lives is essential. Our project, "Shortening the Distance," focuses on how the people in our community are reaching out to their neighbors, friends and loved ones.

A picture of Cynthia Bullock, executive director of the organization, wearing a white face mask and blue gloves, assembling packages of cat food over a black card table.
Courtesy of Cynthia Bullock / Harley's Hope Foundation

Colorado Pet Pantry has 60 monthly pet food sites across the state to help pet owners access food and supplies. Executive Director Eileen Lambert said the organization's mission is even more essential as people's economic situations shift due to the new coronavirus pandemic. 

ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP

This page will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Updated 4:15 p.m.

---More Than 16,900 Known Confirmed Cases Of COVID-19 In Colorado, According To The Department Of Public Health And Environment---

There are more than 16,900 known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, according to the state Department of Public Health and Environment. This includes both people who tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and is exhibiting symptoms of the virus.

A photo of Ki Glynn, in a mask and a black t-shirt, surrounded by orange cheese blocks, making food during the pandemic.
Hart Van Denburg / CPR News

This post will be updated throughout the day.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

Known Positive COVID-19 Cases Rise To 16,635 In Colorado

There are 16,635 known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This includes both people who tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and exhibit symptoms. That's an increase of 410 cases since yesterday.

A long sidewalk surrounded on both sides by grass, ending in a playground with a large tree on the left.
Courtesy of Susan Davies / Trails and Open Spaces Coalition

This post will be updated throughout the day.

Updated 4:30 p.m.

More Than 16,000 Known Positive Cases of Coronavirus In Colorado

There are more than 16,000 known confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This includes both people who tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and exhibit symptoms.

A picture of the Blair Bridge Open Space, a long paved sidewalk in the foreground with mountains in the distance and a blue sky with smatterings of clouds.
Courtesy of Susan Davies / Trails and Open Spaces Coalition

As Colorado Springs and El Paso County move into a safer-at-home model in line with state guidelines that eases some novel coronavirus-related restrictions, community officials are urging people to practice social distancing when using shared greenspaces. 

A photo the isolation shelter: a large auditorium with folks standing in a circle, wearing masks, with beds and tables along the walls.
Courtesy of Amber Ptak / Community Health Partnerships

The isolation shelter at the Colorado Springs City Auditorium for people experiencing homelessness and COVID-19 symptoms has seen around 30 people since opening April 5.

At this time, it's unknown if they were positive for the new coronavirus. Jennifer Mariano, director of homeless programs with Community Health Partnership, said the location recently received COVID-19 testing supplies, and will begin testing people this week.

An exterior photo of the Rawlings Library located in Pueblo.
Courtesy of Jon Walker / Pueblo City-County Library

The Pueblo City-County Library District recently launched a digital branch, called "The Library @ Home." Users can access resources and digital programs through a centralized hub while the library is closed due to COVID-19 precautions.

Jeremy Facknitz sits in front of a desk with a guitar, playing songs for folks digitally.
Courtesy Jeremy Facknitz

The state's stay-at-home order is set to lift this Sunday in favor of less restrictive "safer at home" regulations, but local artists continue to contend with financial challenges due to the new coronavirus. For some, the future of their business and livelihood is uncertain.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday that the statewide stay-at-home order will be allowed to expire on April 26, while still encouraging people to stay home as much as possible. The first phase of opening up the state will ease some restrictions on businesses and retail outlets.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said he sees the end of the stay-at-home order as the first step in a long process to return to normal.

Pikes Peak Workforce Center

An unprecedented number of Colorodans are facing job loss and uncertainty due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center aids people in El Paso and Teller counties in connecting with employment resources, including filing for unemployment and finding open positions in the region.

A picture of staff members from Inside/Out Youth Services behind a colorful rainbow background. Jessie Pocock, the director, is far left wearing a dark shirt, while the other three staff members are wearing white shirts.
Jessie Pocock / Inside/Out Youth Services

Almost overnight, the novel coronavirus has changed the way people provide community support. KRCC's Elena Rivera spoke with three people in Southern Colorado about how their jobs have changed and about their concerns for the vulnerable populations they serve.


Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.

---Coronavirus Cases In Colorado Now Total 8,675---

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports a total of 8,675 known positive COVID-19 cases in the state. Those numbers include people who tested positive and people who were in contact with someone who tested positive who also have virus symptoms.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Update-4:10 p.m.

---Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority Offers Grants---

Grants ranging from $2500 to $25,000 are now available to small storefront businesses within the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority.

David Zalubowski / AP

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day.

---Number of COVID-19 Cases In Colorado Rises To Nearly 8,000---

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows nearly 8,000 known positive cases of COVID-19 in the state. These numbers include both positive tests and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and are showing signs of the virus.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

This post will be updated throughout the day.
 

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Reports Over 7,300 Cases of COVID-19 in the State

There are over 7,300 confirmed known cases of COVID-19 in the state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. This includes both people who tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and is exhibiting symptoms.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

This post will be updated throughout the day.

New Numbers on COVID-19 in Colorado Show Close to 7,000 Cases

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows close to 7,000 cases of COVID-19 in the state. This includes both people who tested positive for the virus and people who have been in contact with someone who tested positive and is exhibiting symptoms.

A picture of Melody Alvarez, the early literacy senior librarian with the Pikes Peak Library District, holding a book she read during digital storytime.
Melody Alvarez

People working during COVID-19 have rapidly adapted to provide needed services to the community. KRCC's Elena Rivera spoke with three people working in Southern Colorado on how their jobs have changed since the virus showed up in the state.


Travis Harvey / Colorado Department of Agriculture

According to a 2019 report by the United States Department of Agriculture, there are more than 69,000 agricultural producers in Colorado. The state's stay-at-home order deemed agriculture an essential business, but many farmers are contending with a radically shifting market.

The Trails and Open Space Coalition

Colorado State Parks remain open during the COVID-19 outbreak, as park rangers and community members adapt to social distancing practices.

Jason Hagan, the senior ranger at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, said he's seen an  increase in weekday visitors in the past few weeks. While he said he doesn't have specific numbers, more guests visited the park than is normal for March.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

This post will continue to be updated throughout the day as new information is available.

Updated 4:25 p.m.

---Latest Numbers On Known COVID-19 Cases In Colorado---

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 3,342 known cases of COVID-19 in the state. This data is through March 31. This represents an increase of 376 cases over the previous report. The number of cases include people who tested positive for COVID-19 and people who public health officials determined were highly likely to have the virus due to their contact with someone who tested positive and exhibits symptoms.

A photo of three kitchen workers wearing yellow safety vests near a metal cart, getting ready to hand out a meal to a family in a white car.
Julie Stephen / Lewis-Palmer School District 38

Around 500 sites across Colorado are offering free and reduced price meals to help feed students while schools shift to distance learning due to COIVD-19. The Colorado Department of Education reports a little over 40 percent of students across the state qualify for the meals. When schools close, these students lose access to consistent and nutritious meals.

ANDEW HARNICK / CDC/AP

This post will be updated throughout the day.

Update: 5:40 p.m.
 

---Local, Low Interest Loans Available For Small Businesses---

Small businesses in Colorado Springs and El Paso County affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for up to $25,000 in funds aimed at providing emergency financial relief. 

A headshot of Tatiana Bailey, director of the UCCS Economic Forum.
Tatiana Bailey

Over 3.28 million people filed for unemployment claims last week due to COVID-19, according to a new report by the Department of Labor. It's the biggest increase the department has ever seen. 

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