Monday, March 30, 2020

COVID-19 roundup for March 30: Closing bars, restaurants and schools has slowed spread

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 6:25 PM

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At a Monday afternoon press conference, Gov. Jared Polis said closing bars, restaurants and schools has slowed the state’s COVID-19 doubling rate from two days to five. 

At 4 p.m. March 30, the state reported data as of March 29: Colorado has seen 51 deaths (11 in El Paso County), a sharp uptick from 31, and 2,627 cases (245 in El Paso County); 414 people have been hospitalized in 47 counties, and 15,364 people have been tested.

There have also been 14 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities.

In other developments:

  • Polis announced President Trump and the federal government have approved his request in declaring a major disaster for the state of Colorado. Polis submitted the urgent request March 15 to help the state deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was approved Saturday.
    “Colorado is now eligible to receive additional federal resources to help address the global epidemic impacting our state, the nation, and the world,” Polis said in a statement. “This declaration ensures that Colorado can be on a level playing field with other states that already have this status like New York and Washington when it comes to federal disaster funding and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. Now more than ever, it’s important that Coloradans stay home whenever possible.”

Colorado is one of the states with the highest presence of COVID-19 on a per-capita basis. The state continues to face a shortage of resources in addressing the pandemic.

  • A cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy has tested positive for COVID-19. The cadet is in isolation in accordance with the Academy’s COVID plan. According to USAFA’s public affairs office, the cadet was staying in a single-occupancy room in the cadet dorms and taking classes online as part of the Academy’s social distancing directive. The cadet does not have any known underlying health conditions and is not considered high risk for serious complications. Academy officials will continue to monitor the cadet’s health. Personnel and cadets who may have come in close contact with the infected person have been identified and are being monitored.
  • UCCS today announced it will hold a virtual ceremony for spring 2020 graduates. Those graduates will be invited to participate in the fall 2020 or spring 2021 ceremonies. The virtual ceremony will start at 1 p.m., May 15.

• The Colorado Department of Transportation has suspended its Bustang and Outrider bus service throughout the state, to reduce intercity travel. The suspension, effective March 29, will last through at least April 11. CDOT says it will reevaluate the service as guidance or gubernatorial orders change. The suspension of these intercity services is different to the local transit services that continue to provide essential trips in communities throughout Colorado.

  • Colorado Springs Utilities has suspended service disconnections through April 30 to help ease financial burdens of its customers during the pandemic. Customer assistance programs are available. For help paying a bill, customers should call 719-448-4800.  More information is available at csu.org.

• The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office is implementing a remote notarization process to assist Coloradans and businesses during the pandemic. Gov. Polis issued an Executive Order on Saturday ordering the temporary suspension of the personal appearance requirement before notarial officers to perform notarizations due to the COVID-19 crisis.

• The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released results Saturday from a survey assessing Coloradans’ perceptions and attitudes to the pandemic. Nearly 45,000 Coloradans completed the survey March 22-24.

Highlights include:

– 72 percent of respondents are “very concerned” about COVID-19 in Colorado.
– Among respondents aged 18-29, 59 percent are “very concerned” about COVID-19 in Colorado.
– Nearly 90 percent of respondents think it’s somewhat or very likely that they will get sick from the novel coronavirus.
– Half of the respondents have a combination of symptoms indicative of generalized anxiety over the last two weeks.
– A large majority of the respondents are taking extra precautions around COVID-19 to keep the community healthy:

    • 97 percent are washing their hands with soap and water more frequently.
    • 96 percent are avoiding large gatherings.
    • 70 percent are working from home.
    • 35 percent are stockpiling food and other household items.

– Three in four respondents would try to get tested if they were exposed or had symptoms. The most common reason respondents selected would be to help the public health system build a better picture of how the virus is spreading.

– Of those who would not get tested:

    • Three in four respondents said they would isolate themselves from others regardless.
    • More than 50 percent of respondents would not get tested because they are not sure if they meet the criteria for testing.
    • 3 percent think the virus isn’t that serious.

– 40 percent of part-time, full-time or self-employed respondents do not have access to paid leave if they are not able to work because of illness.
– 43 percent of respondents are now working from home in response to the COVID-19. (CDPHE noted the survey was conducted before the statewide stay-at-home order.)
– 11 percent of respondents have had their hours reduced, 9 percent have temporarily lost their jobs and 1 percent have permanently lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

The complete dashboard is available at covid19.colorado.gov/about-covid-19.

•  Restaurants and food stores are encouraged to donate/sell excess food to service organizations. El Paso County Public Health is working with the Community Health Partnership to coordinate the donation and sale of excess food and goods to help the community during this health crisis. Restaurants and retail food stores may donate or sell the following goods to local community service organizations:

▪ Household goods such as paper products and cleaning supplies
▪ Non-perishable foods in original packaging
▪ Unopened perishable foods such as milk, dairy, raw meats and eggs

To provide food services to the community and alternative financial and employment viability, new guidance was established through a state executive order temporarily allowing restaurants and retail food stores to sell and donate raw and bulk food items to the public. Retail food establishments can email ppchp.org or call 719-389-9800 to donate or sell goods.

• Children’s Hospital Colorado in Colorado Springs currently is only testing children who meet inpatient admission criteria and need to be hospitalized for COVID-19. Children’s is not a public testing center. A list of Colorado testing locations can be found at: colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/covid-19-testing

Caregivers can access the following resources for information about COVID-19.

·        Family FAQs: childrenscolorado.org/coronavirus
·        Video: How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus
·        Video: (Spanish) How to Talk to your Kids About Coronavirus
·        How to help: childrenscolorado.org/helpduringcovid
·        How to Calm Your Child’s Anxiety around COVID-19: childrenscolorado.org/conditions-and-advice/parenting/parenting-articles/coronavirus-anxiety/

• In response to questions about how the public can support hospital workers, UCHealth has created a web page where people can write thank you notes and upload photos or short videos for UCHealth employees. Visit uchealth.org/extraordinary/thankyouform/

• Pikes Peak United Way is helping to connect community volunteers with nonprofit organizations providing critical services, in compliance with the public health order and social distancing guidance. Volunteer at pikespeakuw.galaxydigital.com

• The El Paso County Department of Human Services is warning Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants about potential scammers using the COVID-19 crisis to steal personal information such as social security numbers, bank information, or a participant’s SNAP EBT card or PIN number. Anyone unsure if a request for information is legitimate should contact the El Paso County Food Assistance and Family Medical Ongoing Customer Service Line at 719-444-5124.

• The Pikes Peak Joint Information center is reminding residents that the COVID-19 Call Center is open seven days a week. El Paso and Teller County residents can find information and resources about COVID-19 by calling 719-575-8888 — 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m.-5 p.m on weekends.

Other reliable sources of information are:

El Paso County Health: elpasocountyhealth.org/covid19
City of Colorado Springs: coloradosprings.gov/covid19
State of Colorado: covid19.colorado.gov

• El Paso County small businesses and nonprofits hit by the COVID-19 pandemic can access up to $25,000 in immediate recovery relief through a local fund announced this afternoon. Survive & Thrive COS is an initiative of startup accelerator Exponential Impact in partnership with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation and other community partners, businesses and local investors. Small businesses employing two to 25 employees can visit exponentialimpact.com to learn about criteria and apply. For the full story, see: csindy.com/TheWire/archives/2020/03/30/exponential-impact-city-of-colorado-springs-announce-immediate-small-business-relief-measures.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story mentioned that Polis said Colorado had experienced its first death of someone under 40 due to COVID-19. A spokesperson later corrected this statement. As of March 29, no one younger than 40 had died due to COVID-19 in Colorado. Rather, two people between the ages of 40 and 49 have died.

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