COVID-19: Mayor Suthers declares local emergency
March 16, 2020
By: Faith Miller
Originally appeared in the Colorado Springs Independent
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was counting 160 positive cases of COVID-19 as of 3 p.m. March 16, including at least four cases in El Paso County.
The state’s first death tied to the novel coronavirus occurred March 13, when an El Paso County woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions passed away.
According to El Paso County Public Health, the woman attended bridge games at the Colorado Springs Bridge Center between Feb. 27 and March 3. The county health department is asking people who attended games at the bridge center during that time to call a health provider if they’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Health officials ask that people having symptoms call a provider, clinic or hospital before visiting a facility in person.
The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has added protocols to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus at the Criminal Justice Center. Although the sheriff’s office did not explicitly say whether it was implementing measures to reduce the number of admissions to the county jail (as some advocates have recommended), spokesperson Jacqueline Kirby said transports of inmates outside of the facility will be minimized.
In addition, “courtesy holds” (people being held on behalf of another jurisdiction) and transports to and from other jails will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, Kirby said in an email.
Criminal Justice Center employees who are experiencing symptoms, or have a household member who is experiencing symptoms, will be directed to stay at home (or go home), Kirby wrote. The same goes for employees who are members of high-risk groups, such as older people and those with underlying medical conditions.
The jail has also stepped up the frequency of cleaning its facility, as well as items handled by inmates and staff, Sgt. Deborah Mynatt said in an email.
Even if someone isn’t yet showing symptoms, but they meet other criteria based on the screening, they could be placed in the jail’s medical unit for monitoring, Mynatt wrote.
Stay busy and engaged in the necessary activities of life. Make a conscious effort to be present to your immediate tasks and surroundings.
Avoid consuming toxic amounts of information about things over which you have no control.
Be physically active, preferably outside, where the sounds and sights of the natural world, and the sunshine, can help put the drama of our human world in a healthier perspective.
Help someone who may feel alone. As immunocompromised and high-risk patients are being advised to stay home as much as possible, some of us may experience feelings of loneliness and isolation. Offer to run an errand for someone who is at higher risk of getting sick.
Take this time to call a longtime friend, chat outside with your neighbors, or send a care package.
As always, to speak confidentially with a trained counselor, you can call the Colorado Crisis Services line at 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
- Avoid directly touching frequently contacted surfaces, such as elevator buttons or door handles, in public spaces. (Use a tissue to cover your hand or finger if you have to touch something.)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.
- Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.
For the latest COVID-19 information from CDPHE, visit colorado.gov/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus.
For updated case totals, visit CDPHE’s Fast Facts page.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, call the CO-HELP call line at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email COHELP@RMPDC.org for answers in English.