County up to 7 deaths from COVID-19; bases impacted
Last updated 3/27/2020 at 9:53am
UPDATE: March 26 El Paso County now has seven deaths related to COVID-19
El Paso County Public Health has reported three more deaths related to COVID-19 in the county in the last week, bringing the total to four.
The second fatality was a male in his 60s and was identified as a contact of the woman who had passed away from the illness.
The third case was a male in his 70s, and the fourth case was a male in his 80s. No additional details were given.
“We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends, and we are very saddened by this news,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health Director. “Our team, including members of the public health system, are working around the clock to take proactive steps to help limit and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and we ask that residents join us in doing their part. We know these are difficult times, but we are strong, and we will get through this together.”
Meanwhile, the county has reported a total of 69 cases as of press time. Officials said a nursing home in Colorado Springs, Laurel Manor Care Center, had a concentration of six cases as of last Thursday.
Fort Carson announced its first positive COVID-19 case on Saturday – a Colorado National Guard Soldier who is now being housed at the Colorado National Guard’s 168th Regional Training Institute on Fort Carson. There are four positive cases connected to the post as of Tuesday. (See separate article on Fort Carson updates, p. 1.)
Officials urge anyone with even mild symptoms, or suspicions they may have been exposed, to stay home and avoid contact with others. Only call your health care provider if your symptoms become more severe, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. If at any time you feel you are having a medical emergency, call 911, and tell the dispatcher your symptoms.
Testing will be prioritized for older adults and those with underlying health conditions, those who are hospitalized, and health care workers. At this time, not everyone with symptoms will be tested in an effort to protect our most vulnerable populations and health care, workers.
The following phone numbers and email are recommended for those with questions.
Call CO HELP at 1-877-462-2911 or email [email protected]
Call the local call center at 719-575-8888.
Statewide, there have been 720 reported case, 72 hospitalizations and seven deaths across 31 counties.
Gov. Jared Polis has signed several public health orders mandates closures of specific places. On March 19, he announced a 30-day ban on gatherings of 10 people or more, including sports, churches and festivals. The order does NOT apply to courts, public transit, grocery stores, and other essential services.
All restaurants, bars, movie theaters, fitness centers, performance venues, and casinos are closed through April. Polis also restricted “nonessential personal services,” to include hair or nail salons, spas, or tattoo or massage parlors.
On Monday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a public health order requiring non-essential businesses to reduce their in-person workforce by 50 percent.
“We call on Colorado business leaders to join us in these efforts,” says Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE executive director. “Help us protect Coloradans by using your best judgment about where your workplace fits in this public health order. It’s up to all of us to keep our workforce, partners, and the public safe.”
According to state officials, businesses are asked to comply voluntarily; however, counties and local public health agencies have the authority to enforce this order. Local law enforcement and/or the local public health agency may contact businesses to encourage them to voluntarily comply. If the problem continues, the business could face civil or criminal action for a violation of the public health order. People who are concerned about noncompliance should express their concerns to the business first, and if you continue to have concerns, report them to local law enforcement or your local public health agency.
Restaurants – Delivery, pick-up, takeout and drive-thrus are OK and encouraged. (See p. 20 for local ads.)
Pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores and food pantries may remain open.
Many bank lobbies are closed, but drive-up service is available. Check with your specific branch for details.
Effective immediately, Ybarra’s Boxing Club will close its doors until at least March 31.
The Fountain Valley Historical Society and Museum is closed until further notice.
Schools – All K-12 schools in the state will extend their break another two weeks. Widefield and Fountain-Fort Carson students now are slated to return on April 20, pending further decisions. Meals for students are served each weekday. (See locations and schedule, p. 20.)
City of Fountain
Police – Continue to dial 911 in the event of an emergency. The El Paso County Communication Center Call Takers (dispatch) will assess each situation as it comes in. If the situation is a crime that is actively occurring and is a risk to persons or property an officer will be dispatched. If it is an incident that is not active and not posing an immediate threat, an officer will reach the caller by phone.
Officers may ask community members to meet them outside of homes and businesses where appropriate in order to practice social distancing.
Officers were issued personal protective equipment, and they may be seen wearing gloves, facemasks, protective eyewear and clothing. This is especially true in medical testing environments and/or in environments known to have increased risk of illness. Officers may ask community members to wear surgical facemasks if they are showing signs of illness.
FPD has temporarily suspended agency tours and ride-along programs.
The Fountain Police Department lobby is closed until further notice. If you have a non-emergency and need to speak with a police officer, please call (719) 390-5555.
If you need to request a police report, or background check, please go to the Fountain Police Administration Division website, and under the Police Department page, you will find the report request document. Fill out the form and email it to [email protected]
VIN Verifications – FPD will not be conducting VIN Verifications until further notice.
Court Ordered Fingerprints – If you need court-ordered, fingerprints please contact (719) 382-6928.
Registered Sex Offenders – Please contact Lt. Racine at (719) 323-4250.
Parks & Recreation
The City of Fountain is suspending all Recreation programs, public events, public meetings, and organized facility use. All athletic fields, park bathrooms and water fountains will remain closed at this time.
All playground equipment will be sanitized daily and the Parks Department encourages social distancing, even at the parks. Reservations for pavilion rentals have not been cancelled, but those with reservations are encouraged to reschedule.
The City is cancelling Senior Citizen Curbside Service and Spring Cleanup.
Visit fountaincolorado.org for more details.
Community Soup Kitchen
The Friday soup kitchen at First United Methodist Church in Fountain will continue to prepare meals for take-out, but the dining area is closed. Meals are served 4-6 p.m. Friday at 1003 N. Hwy. 85/87. (See p. 6 for details.)
Connections 4 Life Center
The food pantry is stocked and open for business during regular hours with some important changes. They will be conducting business through a drive-up line only. No one will be allowed into the building.
Premade boxes include milk, eggs, meat, fruit, and vegetables. Please look for staff onsite to give you further directions.
“We have taken every precaution and made every effort to make sure that our facility is cleaned and disinfected,” a spokesperson said. “All volunteers will handle every box with the utmost care and precaution. We will continue in this manner until further notice.” (See p. 6 for details.)
Fountain Creek Nature Center – Temporarily closed to public access until April 6, with an extension of the closure possible. The trails are still open to the public. All public programs between now and April 6 are canceled.
Contact Fountain Creek Nature Center at 719-520-6745 for more information.
Rainbow Falls Historic Site – The spring opening of the Rainbow Falls Historic Site has been delayed. Please check www.elpasocountyparks.com for updates.
Cheyenne Mountain State Park – While the park remains open for day use, camping, and other recreational activities, staff are following the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation to practice social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 and have cancelled any scheduled activities and educational programming for the remainder of March.
The park offers a handful of self-guided activities that can still be enjoyed while visiting the park.
Visit the website Geocaching.com and try your hand at locating one of the park’s numerous caches. Download the free app, Agents of Discovery, to your phone and allow Agent Black Bear to take you on a guided hike to discover the wildlife that calls the park home.
Take the Trail Challenge and attempt to complete all 21.87 miles of trails in the park! Log all trails and earn a Patch. Not enough of a challenge? Complete 100 miles of trail within the park to earn a Challenge Coin.
Catholic Charities of Central Colorado
The charity has closed facilities and made service adjustments in the wake of COVID-19. Services will continue, and the situation will be reassessed at the end of the month based on CDC and government recommendations.
The Marian House Soup Kitchen is closed to congregant dining. A sack lunch is distributed each day from 11 a.m. to noon. Donations of food and supplies are requested. http://www.CCharitiesCC.org.
Marian House Client Services on West Bijou Street is closed to walk-in visitors. Clients should call 719.866.6282 for assistance. Life Connections Pregnancy Support Services and Counseling Services will continue to work with current clients. If you would like to get information regarding entering into counseling, please call 719.866.6535 and leave a message.