State launches Stay at Home Colorado Guide Coronavirus continues spread throughout county
Last updated 4/15/2020 at 8:40am
Colorado residents impacted by the recent statewide Stay at Home public health order can find information on personal and business resources as well as activities to entertain families. Compiled on the state website is a list of free resources available statewide, from help needed to wellness to education and even entertainment. By visiting stayathomeco.colorado.gov, Colorado residents can find a variety of helpful resources thru the stay at home order extended to April 26 due to continued increases in coronavirus cases.
According to data released April 13, the state of Colorado has 7,691 cases with 1,493 hospitalized, 308 deaths across 56 counties, and 38,742 people tested. Outbreaks remain heaviest in health care facilities, with 72 known outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities. El Paso County had 641 cases with 39 deaths as of through April 13.
Gov. Jared Polis has said he is working to secure $46.2 million worth of medical supplies and to ensure that alternative facilities exist in case of a large surge in coronavirus cases. The facilities have a specific protocol to follow if there is a surge of cases and walk-ins without referrals will not be allowed, he said.
In the meantime, grocery stores across the region are seeing COVID-19 cases pop up among employees. Costco and King Soopers in Colorado Springs both had cases, and most recently the Walmart on U.S. Hwy. 85/87 in Fountain also had one.
Michelle Hewitt, Public Health Information Officer for El Paso County, confirmed that a Walmart employee had tested positive and added that the person also worked at a Pizza Hut. Hewitt noted that given the virus’ current spread, the incident isn’t surprising.
“This isn’t out of line with what we would expect to see,” she said. “People in grocery and food positions have to interface with a lot of people.”
Hewitt added that the Pizza Hut and Walmart locations were making a point to use sanitation measures.
“The businesses we’ve worked with that have positive cases are all working diligently to protect their customers and employees,” she said.
While the Walmart store did not confirm or deny any information about the employee, management did respond to concerns about employees not wearing masks or gloves.
Fountain resident Larry Haagenson went to this Walmart on the store’s Senior Day, April 7, and said he was upset the employees weren’t wearing protective gear.
He claims that at the time he went in, “None of the employees were wearing masks except for one or two,” and few were wearing gloves. Haagenson called one of the store’s managers the same day and was informed that the store had no policy requiring employees to wear masks or gloves. Haagenson returned to the store on April 14. This time, he reported most employees were wearing gloves and many were wearing masks, except for two employees stocking delivery and pick-up orders.
When contacted for comment, one of the Walmart location’s managers said that while not all employees were wearing gloves or masks on April 7, many of them were. The manager explained that although the government has recommended wearing gloves or masks, Walmart does not have any policies that require all employees to wear them. When asked for further clarification, the manager explained this is for the same reason that the store cannot require all costumers to wear gloves and masks when entering the store. The manager was not able to confirm whether or not employees in the pick-up and delivery section were wearing gloves or masks on April 14.
Need local El Paso County resources?
Referrals for: food, housing, utilities, home repair, emergency shelter, clothing, transportation, military assistance, taxes, mental health, senior issues, medical care and more are available by calling 2-1-1 or online at https://www.ppunitedway.org/2-1-1/. You can also visit https://www.elpasocountyhealth.org/community-resources-0 for a full list of El Paso County related resources.
Children’s Hospital Colorado Springs in need of children’s masks, blankets
Homemade Mask Donations - Children’s Hospital Colorado is now accepting homemade mask donations for our non-clinical employees. You can find more information on how to make masks and mask guidelines on the CDC website. Donations can be mailed or dropped off with an appointment. You can find more information here
Fleece blanket donations - Children’s Hospital Colorado is in need of fleece blankets. Children’s Colorado provides blankets for patients during hospital stays. They provide comfort to patients during their visits. To keep up with patients’ needs, we need around 200 blankets per week. I have attached instructions for no sew fleece blankets. Donations can be made via appointment with our Association of Volunteer Department at 720-777-6887.
Need for blood donations continues
The need for blood donations continues for our community. Anyone interested in donating blood should call 1-877-25-VITAL or visit vitalant.org to pre-screen and schedule an appointment to donate blood. The Vitalant donation center is located at 3670 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., Colorado Springs.
COVID-19 Call Center reduces weekend hours, open seven days a week
Based on call volume, the El Paso and Teller County COVID-19 Call Center will reduce weekend hours to 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sundays. Weekday call center hours remain 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Callers may leave a voicemail and their calls will be returned the next day. Residents can connect with information and resources for COVID-19 by calling (719) 575-8888.
Do not call 911 except for an emergency. Concerns about social distance and public health orders should be made to the call center, not 911.
For free, confidential, professional, 24/7 support for any mental health, substance use or emotional concern, call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak to a trained professional.
Pikes Peak Community Foundation awards nearly $650,000 in grants to nonprofits
The Pikes Peak Community Relief Fund, in partnership with Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Pikes Peak United Way and the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management has granted nearly $650,000 to almost 40 nonprofits. However, the need far exceeds available resources. The public may donate to this COVID-19 response fund at: https://www.ppcf.org/donate/
Fort Carson hosting COVID-19 Facebook Live Town Hall tonight, April 15
Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane, commander, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson; Command Sgt. Maj. T.J. Holland, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson; and Col. Eric S. Edwards, commander, Evans Army Community Hospital; will provide a Fort Carson COVID-19 update during a Facebook Live town hall April 15 at 6 p.m. The video will remain available on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/USArmyFortCarson.
Masks are now required; however, cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
Cloth face coverings should be worn at all Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the Commissary and all post facilities where individuals cannot maintain the social distancing guidelines of 6 feet will be required to wear a cloth face covering. This is in line with the policy put out by the Secretary of Defense issued April 5.
Fort Carson has declined to provide information related to COVID cases on post but has elevated to Health Protection Level Charlie, which means substantial sustained community transmission is expected.
Visit http://www.carson.army.mil for Fort Carson COVID-19 fact sheets, FAQs and Installation and Evans Army Community Hospital Service Quick Reference Guide.
Mentors needed to help local small businesses and nonprofits
The Survive & Thrive COS Emergency Business Relief Fund is now seeking mentors to volunteer with the program. Mentors are critical to helping local small businesses and nonprofits awarded Survive & Thrive loans navigate the uncertainties of the pandemic’s impact on their current needs and future success. Mentors serve as a sounding board for mentees, offering a listening ear, connecting to critical resources and expertise, and helping their mentees brainstorm creative solutions to their unique challenges. For more information on the program and to apply to be a mentor visit: https://exponentialimpact.com/small-business-emergency-relief-fund/mentoring/
Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) extended through August
The Colorado State Board of Human Services approved LEAP’s emergency rule request to extend the 2019-2020 application period to Aug. 31 or until funds run out. More information on the program is online athttps://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdhs/leap. People can apply through Colorado.gov/PEAK.
Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone (EZ) Business Relief Fund
The Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone (EZ) Business Relief Fund is the first community based, grant funded program to help small, locally owned businesses, now facing layoffs and closures, sustain operations and maintain their workforce through generous donations. Citizens who donate $100 or more qualify for an EZ 25 percent state income tax credit.
Through this fund, small businesses within the Pikes Peak Enterprise Zone, will have access to grants up to $7,500 for critical needs such as rent or mortgage assistance, utility payments, employee payroll, accounts payable, etc.
For more information on how residents may donate to the Pikes Peak EZ Business Relief Fund, please visit https://admin.elpasoco.com/economic-development/enterprise-zone-contribution-projects.
COVID-19 – County Parks Update
El Paso County parks, trails, and open spaces remain open during the COVID-19 crisis. Residents are encouraged to use park sites while maintaining required physical distancing.
County Parks has noted exceptionally heavy use of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park. There are concerns about whether the required physical distancing is being observed and the negative impact of overuse of the site. Visitors are reminded that climbing on hoodoo formations is prohibited at all times. Dogs, bikes, and horses are also not allowed at Paint Mines Interpretive Park.
To help address the overuse of the Paint Mines Interpretive Park and meeting required physical distancing, residents are encouraged to use other County Park sites. Please visit elpasocountyparks.com for additional information.
Responsible use of parks
The public can still enjoy the many parks and trails throughout El Paso County under the state’s Stay At Home Order. Residents are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but if they do venture out to enjoy our parks and trails, below are some things to remember:
• Practice good personal hygiene before and while visiting parks
• Wear a face covering
• Playgrounds and pavilions are closed
• Do not touch shared surfaces, such as sports equipment
• Maintain at least a 6-foot distance from others at all times – this may mean walking in single file line on trails
• No group activities or recreation with people outside of your residence. Outdoor sport courts and skate parks remain open for individual use.
• If maintaining a 6-foot physical distance can’t be maintained, please leave that space.
Help Colorado Now has an Innovation Response Team and is looking for private sector companies and individuals who can partner on projects addressing emerging challenges in Colorado due to COVID-19. The team is looking for software engineers, developers and data scientists, companies that have supply or manufacturing capabilities for personal protective equipment, and those looking to volunteer their company or individual professional expertise. Volunteer signup forms can be found at https://covrn.com/#Join-Innovation-response-team.
Pikes Peak Workforce Center hosts virtual job fair now through April 30
Pikes Peak Workforce Center is hosting a Spring Virtual Job Fair from April 8-30, for job seekers ages 18 and older.
This Spring Job Fair features more than 50 companies that are essential businesses hiring now or in the next month.
A virtual job fair provides job seekers access to dozens of employers in one online platform, with options for online chat. For more information or to register, visit ppwfc.org/annual-spring-job-fair
For those who are looking for work or have lost their jobs, the Workforce Center provides coaching and guidance regarding applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits. For more information please visit https://ppwfc.org/unemployment-resources/
or call 719-667-3700.