Wednesday, April 1, 2020

COVID-19 update for April 1: Suthers announces isolation shelter

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 at 6:26 PM

click to enlarge The City Auditorium is being considered as an isolation shelter. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The City Auditorium is being considered as an isolation shelter.

At a news conference April 1, the city of Colorado Springs announced plans for an isolation shelter at the City Auditorium, where people experiencing homelessness who have COVID-19 symptoms will be separated from others in an effort to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"This shelter is absolutely vital," Mayor John Suthers said.

Notably, at a City Council meeting on March 27, Council members were told that the Colorado Springs Fire Department had said the City Auditorium wasn't appropriate for an isolation shelter. It's not clear what changed, as Suthers said April 1 that the city had the support of the fire department in creating the shelter there.

The original time the shelter had been scheduled to open, 4 p.m. on April 1, has been delayed, according to a joint statement from the city and Community Health Partnership, the lead agency of the Pikes Peak Continuum of Care, which is partnering with the city on this project along with Springs Rescue Mission.

The state Department of Public Health and Environment was reporting 3,342 cases of COVID-19, with 620 people hospitalized and 80 deaths from the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. That data is current through March 31.

"The better the compliance with the stay-at-home order, the sooner we can squash the threat," Gov. Jared Polis said at an April 1 news conference, where he also announced that schools would be required to remain closed through at least April 30 — past the original date of April 17.

Polis also signed an executive order expanding the use of telehealth services in the state.

Drawing anger from environmental advocates, and without providing an end date, the Environmental Protection Agency said it does not expect compliance on routine monitoring of pollution for the time being.

"The EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request," a March 26 letter reads.

Small businesses that want to apply for relief in the form of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan or the Paycheck Protection Program — as provided to the state under the federal $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — should apply now, as "the funds are expected to go quickly," according to a statement from the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC.

During the temporary closure of county clerk and recorder offices, El Paso County residents can request marriage licenses remotely per an executive order from Polis.

"Couples will be required to sign an affidavit and submit this to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office in addition to the online marriage application, license fee and any other required supporting documentation," according to a statement from the county clerk and recorder's office. "The license is valid immediately and may be used anywhere in the State of Colorado. Couples have until May 31, 2020 in which to use this license before it expires, which is thirty-five (35) days following the expiration of Executive Order D 2020 014, unless further amended by the Governor. For information contact Recording 719-520-6200 or recweb@elpasoco.com."

When emotions are high and needs are great, everyone's vulnerable to scams — even the state government. At a news conference April 1, Gov. Jared Polis said the state has been carefully vetting suppliers of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves for health care employees. Some offers, he said, have turned out to be scams.

To help prevent small businesses and community members from falling for scammers, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is hosting a virtual roundtable April 17, titled "Financial and Legal Scams: COVID-19 Cybersecurity Scams & The Impact on Small Business."

In partnership with the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado, SBDC Techsource: Cyber CYA (Cybersecurity to Cover Your Assets), will educate businesses on the latest scams and cyberthreats to watch out for. The free webinar will take place online from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 17. Register online.

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