Coronavirus In Colorado--Weekend: State Sees Fifth Death, City Of COS Operational Changes, And More

Mar 21, 2020

This post will be updated periodically throughout the weekend.

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 disaster@leo.gov.

-----
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--

Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado medical professionals established a COVID-19 testing location at the car wash, March 20, 2020 to help limit the possible spread of the virus.
Credit Airman 1st Class Alexis Christian / 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.

Additional Information:

Pueblo County Confirms Third Known COVID-19 Case, Opens New Testing Site
Why Isn't Colorado Sheltering In Place Like Other States?
Do You Get Immunity After Recovering From A Case Of Coronavirus?
Map: Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus In The U.S.