Monday, May 4, 2020

COVID-19 roundup for May 4: New cases continue decline

Posted By on Mon, May 4, 2020 at 6:41 PM

click to enlarge The Pueblo Riverwalk issued social distancing guidelines. - REGAN FOSTER
  • Regan Foster
  • The Pueblo Riverwalk issued social distancing guidelines.
Many Colorado businesses that closed during Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home executive order began to reopen May 4 as the state continued its transition to phase 2, the safer-at-home period.

Business offices were able to reopen at 50 percent capacity May 4, but all businesses are being encouraged to allow employees to telecommute. Child care facilities were also allowed to reopen as long as they follow safer-at-home requirements, such as social distancing, wearing face coverings and minimizing time spent away from home.

Polis provided an update to the state’s response at a press briefing today and said the growth of COVID-19 cases in Colorado is continuing to decline, with the daily growth rate having dropped to 1.4 percent on Sunday and the hospitalization rate having dropped to a daily growth of .1 percent.

“We’re glad things are moving in the right direction,” Polis said. “But that also means there are still coronavirus cases in Colorado being rushed to the hospital every day. Some will walk out on their own two feet, and tragically, some will not. And this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future in Colorado, the United States and across the world.

“We need to exercise caution in our everyday lives to do the best we can to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe in a sustainable way that will last many months.”

Polis also unveiled a new interactive map of community-based testing sites that local public health departments have set up across the state.

The state, according to a statement by the governor's office, has been providing guidance and supplies to help local public health agencies stand up these testing sites, “which are especially important in rural areas of the state where private providers are limited in number and capacity.”

There are currently 20 sites listed on the map and the tool will be updated as more are brought online.

As of the evening of May 4, Colorado had recorded 16,907 cases of COVID-19, resulting in 2,838 hospitalizations and 851 deaths.

A total of 1,005 of those cases and 76 deaths were in El Paso County.

Polis has cautioned that the state’s actual number of cases is likely significantly higher.

In other developments:
-The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center is hosting Friday Lunch Series to help regional small businesses “improve recovery and resilience” as part of its Small Business Response efforts.  The no-cost online webinars run 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next webinar, Navigating Online Sales, is scheduled for May 8. Other scheduled topics in the series include:
  • May 15- Top 5 Ways to Stay Resilient
  • May 22 - Recruiting and Retaining Employees
 For more information and to register, visit the SBDC Facebook page and website. Other workshops and resources are listed. All workshops are free for the month of May.

-The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management is collecting data to help inform needed recovery initiatives for businesses, nonprofits, religious organizations, local government and special districts throughout El Paso County, the agency said Monday.

The data will “help determine the projected challenges that organizations will likely face in the coming months that will be used to guide recovery efforts.” To take the survey visit: surveymonkey.com/r/Y75XLWR.   

-The Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management continues to accept donations for cloth face masks. Click here for guidance and a mask pattern.

The agency said Monday there is still a need for unused personal protective equipment for distribution among local hospitals, long-term care facilities, first responder, and hospice.

Needed items include:
·Eye protection & goggles
·Face shields
·Surgical masks
·Sterile & non-sterile gloves
·Disposable gowns
·N95 masks
·Sanitation wipes
·Personal wipes

- Peak Vista Community Health Centers announced it is now offering drive-thru testing at its Health Center in Divide for symptomatic individuals 12 years of age and older.

The agency said no appointment or doctor's referral is required to receive testing. Peak Vista is collaborating with the Teller County Combined Agency Team, which will be onsite beginning Tuesday, May 5 from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. to provide screeners, traffic control and security.

Peak Vista's Enrollment Services personnel will ask visitors to fill out a demographic form prior to testing, which collects basic information such as income and family size to determine if the patient qualifies for assistance.

Peak Vista said those who are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be tested for the virus and asked to present a form of ID and insurance card, if applicable.

Peak Vista will also be screening patients for a sliding fee scale discount. No copayments or deductibles will be collected at the time of testing.

The testing site will be located at Peak Vista's Health Center at Divide located at 34 Hybrook Rd. S, Divide, CO 80814 beginning tomorrow. Based on test availability, routine hours will be Monday through Friday from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Peak Vista is currently accepting new patients. For more information or to enroll as a new patient visit peakvista.org or call 719-687-4460.

-Polis on Saturday issued an executive order to allow food trucks to operate at Colorado rest areas to support truckers and the movement of commercial vehicle activities. The goal is help truck drivers access affordable meals on the road.

-The Pueblo Riverwalk has issued guidelines its use during the safer-at-home order:
1. Parking areas and outdoor facilities will be open to the public.
2. The Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo Authority Office will be open by appointment only.
3. All benches and picnic tables will be limited to accommodate for the 6-foot social distancing requirement.
4. Exercise equipment is closed.
5. Welcome center restrooms are open and will be sanitized daily.
6. No organized programs will be scheduled.
7. All visitors shall wear masks.8. All visitors will maintain the social distancing requirement of 6-feet at all times.

-El Paso County Human Services continues to provide essential services, but announced that it is implementing some changes to in-person services to comply with orders and recommendations related to COVID-19.

In-person services are available in a temporary emergency lobby on the first floor of the Citizens Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road. Services include over-the-shoulder help with applying online for assistance programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), paperwork drop-off and EBT card issuance.

Those experiencing symptoms should apply online. The public is encouraged to utilize online resources to apply for and manage assistance programs. Colorado.gov/PEAK is a secure system and people can apply using a computer or cell phone. The Colorado Program Eligibility and Application Kit (PEAK) at Colorado.gov/PEAK has everything needed to:
-Learn about public assistance programs
-Complete an application
-Manage benefits

Anyone can connect to PEAK online 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The free MyCoBenefits app is available through the Apple and Android app stores. PEAKHealth is a free app for current Medicaid and CHP+ members who have a Colorado.gov/PEAK account.  First-time users need a valid email address to save an application and finish it later, track an application's status and to use other online tools.

The agency is also encouraging people to report concerns of abuse and neglect during the pandemic.
  • Child Abuse or Neglect Hotline is staffed 24 hours per day, seven days per week: 1-844-CO-4-KIDS or 1-844-264‑5437
  • Adult Abuse or Neglect Intake Line is monitored between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, closed holidays: 719-444-5755

If it is an emergency, or an urgent situation, contact law enforcement at 9-1-1.

If seeking additional resources or assistance beyond human services programs, call 2-1-1 to be directed to community resources and nonprofits.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected. When it was published, there were  16,907 cases of COVID-19 in Colorado, not 16,097.
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