Whitespace
Derek Bos
Chief of Police and Emergency Manager
(970) 842-5001
dbos@brushpolice.org

Loranda Packard
Website Manager
(970) 842-5001
lpackard@brushcolo.com

NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Update 9/3/2020, 2:35pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State provides tips for enjoying a safe Labor Day weekend, thanks essential workers

REMOTE, Sept. 2, 2020 -- As Coloradans get ready to celebrate the Labor Day weekend, state officials ask everyone to continue acting responsibly to limit the spread of COVID-19, especially to thank, protect, and respect the essential workers who are keeping Colorado running.

Some people can’t stay home because of their jobs. We all owe it to grocery workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, and other essential workers to do our part. Let’s prevent the spread of COVID-19 to protect them and everyone else,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan,  executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Have fun this Labor Day, but remember to wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, and stay in small groups. We need everyone to follow these guidelines so we can maintain our downward trend. Now is not the time to relent.”

Colorado has made great progress against the spread of COVID,  but after the 4th of July, cases of COVID-19 went up -- proof that COVID-19 doesn’t take a holiday. We all share the responsibility for protecting the workers we interact with, our loved ones, and higher-risk populations. While celebrating, Coloradans should:

  • Wear a face-covering when around others. 

  • Gather only in small groups (10 people or fewer), preferably outside

  • Maintain 6 feet of physical distance.

  • Avoid risky activities that could lead to COVID-19 exposures or physical injuries. To learn about how to stay safe and assess risks, visit covid19.colorado.gov/risks-benefits.

  • Follow all local COVID-19 guidelines and fire restrictions. To check fire conditions and restrictions, visit www.colorado.gov/dfpc/fire-restriction-information.

“We need to put the health of our essential workers first this Labor Day weekend,” said Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. “If you have symptoms or get exposed to the virus, it’s critical to follow the isolation/quarantine guidance. From what we know about the virus, it can spread even when you are feeling ok. We all need to protect one another.”

The state has the capacity to test anyone who wants to get tested. It’s especially critical for people who have COVID-19 symptoms to get tested immediately. For people who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 but aren’t experiencing symptoms, they should get tested 7 days after exposure. There are free community testing sites available across the state. 

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

Download radio actualities in English and Spanish 


Update 9/3/2020, 2:30pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requests feedback on proposed new matrix to better identify phases; makes counties automatically eligible for variance levels 

REMOTE, Aug. 28: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is seeking feedback on a new matrix to help identify when counties should be in the Protect Our Neighbors, Safer at Home, and Stay at Home levels. Once implemented, this will streamline the process of moving through different levels, when counties qualify based on their objective, scientific metrics.

“We need to empower local communities with easy-to-follow guidance, if we are to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said CDPHE executive director Jill Hunsaker Ryan. “We hope the dial will help provide local communities with the flexibility to move throughout the different levels of guidance as necessary to protect public health. We invite everyone to provide feedback on this matrix, so we can make sure it serves the needs of all Colorado communities.” 

This matrix, represented by a dial, will add simplicity and predictability to how communities operate based on virus transmission levels. Counties can always choose to be more restrictive. 

Coloradans can review the draft and submit feedback. 

The deadline for providing feedback is September 3, at 12:00 p.m. CDPHE will update the draft based on stakeholder feedback. The final guidelines will be available shortly after the comment period.

According to the matrix, each county is at one of five levels, depending on requirements. Each level has an associated level of allowances and capacity restrictions. The criteria for levels are based on:

  • New cases.

  • Percent positivity of COVID-19 tests.

  • Stable or declining hospitalizations.

  • A stable or improving daily case count.

  • No anticipated future transmission risk factors.

  • If applicable, a certain number of Protect Our Neighbors metrics achieved.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.


Update 9/2/2020, 3:30pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State officials announce public-private partnership to expand access to broadband services for students for the upcoming school year

T-Mobile to provide free WiFi hotspots for up to 34,000 low-income student households  

Colorado Department of Education to provide school districts access to $2 million for broadband services for low-income families

SHERIDAN - Thousands of low-income student households in Colorado will get access to free and low-cost internet options for the 2020-21 school year, state leaders announced today at an event at Fort Logan Northgate School, a part of Sheridan School District 2. 

As part of its nationwide effort to provide internet access to underserved students, called Project 10Million, T-Mobile will provide up to 34,000 low-income student households in Colorado with a free WiFi hotspot and 100GB of data per year for free. Qualifying households will also have access to internet-enabled devices, such as tablets or computers, at a significant discount. Households in the T-Mobile service area are eligible for the program based on student participation in the National School Lunch Program.

This effort fulfills one of T-Mobile’s commitments under an agreement reached last fall with the Colorado Attorney General's Office. In October 2019, after previously joining a multistate lawsuit to block the Sprint-T-Mobile merger, the Attorney General's Office negotiated a settlement in which T-Mobile committed to various actions that will increase broadband internet access for Coloradans, including providing free internet connectivity and equipment to households with school-age children.

In addition to T-Mobile, state leaders celebrated other provider efforts to provide low- and no-cost options for families, including Comcast’s Internet Essentials program and rural providers who stepped up to provide options for families from the Western slope to the Eastern plains. 

"While most school districts in Colorado are now back to school in person, there are still some families and students who choose to learn remotely or live in school districts that haven’t resumed in-person classes yet,” said Governor Jared Polis. “There are still too many students in Colorado that lack access to high-speed broadband at home to support their learning whatever form it takes. This is why the State of Colorado, Attorney General Weiser, and Colorado Department of Education are taking steps today to help more families in Colorado have access to high-speed broadband.”

The Governor, Attorney General, and Commissioner Antes were joined by State Senator Jeff Bridges who represents Sheridan and is working at the state legislature to bridge the digital divide, a parent, faculty members, and school district Superintendent Pat Sandos.  

“Now more than ever, expanding access to affordable broadband internet is necessary to ensure equitable online educational opportunities for all children in Colorado. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our entire society, including our education system, which is working to provide opportunities for online learning,’” said Weiser. “Given the existing lack of access to broadband for many students, the WiFi hotspots provided by T-Mobile and $2 million from the Colorado Department of Education will meet a critical need and be felt immediately by school-aged children throughout Colorado. This will help to narrow the homework gap.”

Weiser also announced that the State is filing a petition urging the Federal Communications Commission to temporarily waive some restrictions on its E-Rate Program to allow schools to extend their broadband internet networks to students’ homes for educational purposes and to allow E-Rate funds to be directed to support Wi-Fi hotspots or other broadband connections for students. If successful, this change would allow millions of dollars in support for school districts to provide access to Wi-Fi hotspots or other mechanisms that connect students to vital home learning opportunities.

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes announced the Department of Education will distribute $2 million from the emergency federal funding set aside for state-level activities from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Securities (CARES) Act to help school districts provide broadband access to low-income families.

“Our educators are working incredibly hard to support all of their students so they can continue to feel connected to school and access rigorous educational content during this pandemic, but we know that our success in providing equitable opportunities to all students hinges on the ability of students to access broadband services,” Anthes said. “The $2 million from our federal emergency funding along with the generous commitment from our broadband providers will make a meaningful and lasting difference in students’ lives.”

According to theSchool District Community Needs Inventory conducted by the  Colorado Department of Education and Colorado Education Initiative last spring,more than 65,000 students in Colorado lacked internet access.


Update 9/2/2020, 3:30pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Importance of Case Investigation and Contact Tracing 

Sterling, Colo. – August 31, 2020:  Throughout history there have been numerous pandemics.  The influenza pandemic of 1918 was the most severe, worldwide pandemic in recent history.  In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in the spring of 1918 and mortality was high.  With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, wearing face coverings and limitations of public gatherings. Even at that time in history these interventions were applied unevenly.  It is important to remember that most of the interventions being used for COVID-19 are not new.  

     Case investigation and contact tracing is another important intervention that has been used for decades by state and local health departments to interrupt the spread of infectious diseases (i.e., syphilis, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis) and prevent outbreaks.  The goal of contact tracing is to stop or limit the transmission by finding everyone an infected person has been in contact with, quarantining them and possibly testing them, especially if they have symptoms.  This process allows people that may have been exposed to know about the potential exposure and provide guidance so they can monitor their health for signs and symptoms. It also ensures people who may have been exposed know how they can get tested. 

     If you are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, you will be asked to stay home and monitor your health to protect your friends, family and others from possibly getting COVID-19.  While you wait for your test result, think about everyone you have been in close contact with recently.  This will be important information to have available if your test result is positive.  If you have tested positive for COVID-19 you can expect an employee from the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) to call you to check on your health and discuss who you have been around. You will also be asked to continue to stay at home, away from others, and monitor your health.  You can be around others after 24 hours with no fever without using any fever-reducing medications and respiratory symptoms have improved and 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. 

     If your test result is negative and you do not have symptoms, it is important to continue staying away from others (self-quarantine) for 14 days after your last exposure to someone who may have had COVID-19.  A negative result before the end of your quarantine period does not rule out possible infection.  You should not need to repeat the test unless you develop symptoms or if you require a test to return to work. 

     If someone from NCHD does call, speaking with our staff is the best way for you to help us all slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community.  Discussions with health department staff are confidential and your personal and medical information will be kept private.  Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with.  The health department will only notify people you have been in close contact with to make them aware they may have been exposed to COVID-19.  For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes.  An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person had any symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19.  The health department staff will not ask you about immigration status or for any financial information.  Anyone asking for personal financial information under the guise of your local health department should be reported by going to www.StopFraudColorado.com or by calling 1-800-222.4444.

      New, technology-driven forms of contact tracing developed by Apple and Google brings profound concerns about intrusion and fear that it can be used for many other things down the road.  NCHD does not use any apps for contact tracing, but rather our staff contact by phone only and will uphold strict confidentiality.  You will not be required to download an app to give information for contact tracing for COVID-19. 

     If you have been around someone diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from NCHD may call you and ask you to monitor your health as well as self-quarantine for 14 days.  You are considered a close contact even if you were wearing a mask while you were around someone with COVID-19.  Masks definitely help prevent spread of the virus, but they are not 100% effective.  If you have been around someone who has COVID-19 recently, but you feel fine you should still stay away from others for 14 days from the last day you were around that person because people with COVID-19 can still spread the virus even if they don’t have any symptoms.  If you have been exposed, taking these steps will help protect you, your family and your community.

     Supporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection through case investigation and warning those exposed individuals through contact tracing are two key tools public health is using to limit and stop the spread of COVID-19.  In order to be effective, we need everyone to do their part and cooperatively participate and engage with NCHD staff if we call.  


Update 9/2/2020, 3:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State of Colorado delivers KN95 Masks to Colorado Schools

Centennial, Colo- Aug. 27, 2020: The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has delivered 672,750 KN95 masks to Colorado schools. Four of 10 shipments are complete.  On July 16, Gov. Jared Polis announced that Colorado will provide educators with medical-grade masks. This offer includes staff members who work directly with students at any K-12 public school, private school, charter, BOCES, district and facility school. 

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) worked with the SEOC to coordinate the delivery to Colorado schools for a 10-week supply of KN95 masks -- one mask per week -- for every staff member who works directly with students. 

Representatives from the Colorado SEOC called school districts, BOCES, charters, facility schools and private schools to coordinate delivery, confirm physical addresses and numbers of staff people who need the masks. The initial delivery of KN95 masks began on Aug. 17, 2020. Masks will be delivered once a week for 10 weeks. 

Charter schools and non-Catholic private schools pick up their supply of masks in the district where they are located. Masks for staff members at Catholic schools will be delivered to each diocese. For more information, visit the KN95 Masks for Colorado Schools webpage.


Update 9/2/2020, 3:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gov. Polis Provides COVID-19 Update, Launches Energize CO Gap Fund Application & Special Evictions Prevention Task Force

DENVER - Gov. Polis today provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and announced the Special Evictions Prevention Task Force, as well as the Gap Fund application. 

“Coloradans are resilient and will lead the nation in rebuilding our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “The Energize Gap Fund provides a key resource for Colorado small businesses. During this challenging time, we will continue doing everything we can to help hardworking Coloradans, which is why we’re bringing a diverse set of voices together to look at housing solutions and are providing additional support for small businesses across our state.”

Governor Polis was joined by bill sponsors Senators Jeff Bridges and Faith Winter, along with Kent Thiry, Co-Chair of Energize Colorado, to announce the upcoming launch of the Gap Fund application. The application will go live on Monday, August 31. This fund will provide more than $25 million in small business loans and grants to boost small businesses that are the economic engines throughout the state. Sole proprietors, businesses and nonprofits with less than 25 full-time employees can apply for up to a $15,000 grant and a $20,000 loan for a possible combined total of $35,000 in financial assistance. 

“Colorado small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and supporting them is critical for our state’s recovery,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley, House sponsor of the legislation. “I’ve heard from so many hardworking Coloradans in Greeley and in Weld County who need just a little help to make it through this crisis. That’s why we worked quickly to pass bipartisan legislation that set aside $20 million to help small businesses that have been left behind, with a focus on women, veteran or minority-owned businesses and those in rural areas. Small business owners who may need assistance should reach out to Energize Colorado for guidance, or to apply for the grant program.”  

Awards will be provided in phases rather than first-come, first served to ensure equal access. Preference will be given to underserved small businesses including majority-owned by minority, women or veterans, those located in rural areas of the state, and businesses that have not been successful in pursuing and/or receiving funds from other federal, state and local assistance programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program.

“Small business owners are struggling to keep up and our communities are losing beloved staples at an alarming rate due to the economic impacts of COVID,” said Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster. “We’ve worked to ensure the application process is easy and accessible in order to provide immediate relief to small employers who need it most.”

“Colorado small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and supporting them is critical for our state’s recovery,” said Rep. Mary Young, D-Greeley. “I’ve heard from so many hardworking Coloradans in Greeley and in Weld County who need just a little help to make it through this crisis. That’s why we worked quickly to pass bipartisan legislation that set aside $20 million to help small businesses that have been left behind, with a focus on women, veteran or minority-owned businesses and those in rural areas. Small business owners who may need assistance should reach out to Energize Colorado for guidance, or to apply for the grant program.” 

“The COVID pandemic has devastated our small business in Colorado and many of them didn’t qualify for PPP so we stepped up as a State to fill the gap with a unanimous bill to create a $25 million grant program. Applications open Monday, go to energizecolorado.com to apply and we will continue working for the strong Colorado comeback,” said Senator Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village.

In June, Gov. Polis signed SB20-222, Use CARES Act Money Small Business Grant Program creating this grant program for small businesses. Senators Bridges and Winter and Representatives Mary Young and Perry Will were sponsors of the legislation.  Learn more about the fund

Governor Polis also announced a new temporary task force within the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to examine housing instability due to COVID-19 in Colorado. The Special Eviction Prevention Task Force will work in partnership with the Division of Housing’s Strategic Housing Working Group. The task force will present its findings and recommendations to the Executive Director of DOLA and to the Governor within 30 days of its first meeting. Read the Executive Order. 

"The Department of Local Affairs continues to focus on Colorado's housing needs statewide. This task force will allow for our work to go hand in hand with short and long term housing solutions," said DOLA's Executive Director, Rick. M. Garcia. "The need to look at the relationships between landlord and tenants as well as thepossible increases in eviction filings due to the pandemic is what the task force plans to do over the next 45 days."

The Task Force is composed of ten individuals that represent a variety of perspectives and backgrounds from the housing and development space, and will work in partnership with the Department of Local Affairs’ Division of Housing, the Strategic Housing Working Group, and the Governor’s office. 

  • Chris Romer of Denver, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Skippy Leigh Upton Mesirow of Aspen, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Andrew Feinstein of Denver, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Rebecca Friend of Boulder, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Ty L. Coleman of Alamosa, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Jennifer Kermode of Gunnison, Colorado, appointed;

  • Jennifer Linda Rodgers of Denver, Colorado, appointed;

  • Beatriz Gonzalez of Broomfield, Colorado, appointed;

  • Paul Newell of Greenwood Village, Colorado, appointed; 

  • Leanne Denise Wheeler of Aurora, Colorado, appointed.

Today Governor Polis also announced that indoor visitation would be allowed in long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, under certain conditions. Draft guidelines have been released today, and CDPHE is accepting public comments until Friday, at 5pm. 

The Governor also extended an Executive Order allowing food trucks to operate at Colorado’s rest areas to support the movement of commercial vehicle activities. 

View the news conference on the Governor’s Facebook page


Update 9/2/2020, 3:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State seeks feedback on draft indoor visitation guidance for residential care facilities

REMOTE, Aug. 26, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today released draft guidance for indoor visitation in residential care facilities. Stakeholders and other interested parties can submit feedback on the draft guidance through 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, using this form.

When the final guidance goes into effect, residential care facilities (skilled nursing facilities, assisted living residences, group homes, and intermediate care facilities) that meet the criteria will be able to implement indoor visitation.

“We know the pandemic has been trying for all of us. It’s heartbreaking to think of the missed connections and loneliness that people in long-term care facilities may be feeling,” said Dr. Eric France, Chief Medical Officer, CDPHE. “We have all sacrificed, especially the highest-risk communities, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep people alive and well. This new guidance represents a careful path forward for allowing residents and loved ones to have face-to-face visits indoors when it is safer to do so.” 

The guidance also allows for visits from service providers such as beauticians, barbers, podiatrists, dentists, and therapists. Currently, residential care facilities may offer visitation under compassionate circumstances, such as end-of-life situations, and in outdoor environments. There are other circumstances under which indoor visitation must be accommodated, such as to provide support for residents with disabilities and/or for religious exercise, and for long-term care ombudsman and adult protective services.

The draft guidance states facilities must meet the following criteria to implement indoor visitation:

  • Be located in counties that have less than or equal to an average of 25 new, active cases per 100,000 people over the prior 14 days or be in a county that is in the Protect Our Neighbors Phase

  • If in counties with 25 to 175 new, active cases per 100,000 people over the prior 14 days, visitors must provide documentation that they have had a negative COVID-19 test in the 24 hours preceding the visit.

  • Visitation is not allowed in residential care facilities in counties with more than 175 new, active cases per 100,000 people over the prior 14 days.

  • Other criteria include two rounds of baseline testing for residents and staff, the ability to conduct weekly testing, no new cases in the past 28 days, maintain 14 days of personal protective equipment (PPE), and have adequate staff for visitation and resident needs.

When indoor visitation is implemented, visitors must:

  • Have taken a COVID-19 test and received a negative result within 24 hours of conducting the visit, if applicable, based on the degree of community spread.

  • Be fever-free, symptom free, and have no known exposure to COVID-19.

  • Be age 18 and older.

  • Schedule appointments in advance.

  • Wear masks and adhere to all facility visitation rules.

The full guidance, drafted by the Residential Care Strike Team, is available here. The Residential Care Strike Team is composed of representatives of the Governor’s Office and state agencies that play a role in regulating and supporting residential care facilities. Visit the Residential Care Strike Team web page for more information.


Update 7/30/2020, 5:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Guidance released to help schools respond to COVID-19 cases and outbreaks 

DENVER, July 30, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released guidance for detecting, reporting, and responding to cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools.

The guidance provides specific steps a school should take in response to cases and outbreaks and outlines when classrooms, cohorts, and schools should close. It is a go-to manual for school leadership experiencing one or more cases of COVID-19. 

Schools are required to report all suspected and confirmed outbreaks to their local public health agency or CDPHE within four hours. Clinical labs and health care providers report cases to public health; however, schools also are encouraged to report single cases of COVID-19 to their local public health agency.

This case and outbreak guidance, the guidancefor the fall opening of schools, CDE’s toolkit for the 2020-21 school year, and guidance from local public health agencies will provide districts with the information they need to start the school year in a way that makes sense for their local communities. CDPHE will update guidance as additional information becomes available. 

A shorter executive summary of the school case and outbreak guidance is linked here.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

 

Update 7/30/2020, 5:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

COVID-19 Event and Activity Risks to Consider


Sterling, Colo. – July 28, 2020: Summer is in full swing and COVID-19 cases have been low for our six county health district. Over all, cases have decreased since the mid-May and for several days in June, we didn’t have any new reported cases for several days. However, recently we are seeing an uptick in cases here in northeast Colorado and statewide, while neighboring states such as New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are experiencing very severe outbreaks. Nationally, case increases are attributed to young adults participating in risky behavior, while about 1/3 of new cases in our district are related to people traveling to attend funerals, weddings and other gatherings. So in order to keep our community safe and our local economy strong, we need to reverse this trend by continuing to be vigilant and smart about how and when we attend activities and events. Nevertheless, how do you measure the risks involved?

Imagine a volume knob. Each factor related to the event is like turning up the knob, some things only increase the risk by a few decibels, while others escalate exposure substantially. Aspects that increase the risk of exposure include events held at indoor locations with poor ventilation, large gatherings of attendees who are mainly from out of town/state or are strangers, sharing of items and close contact with people for periods of time over 10-15 minutes. Also, keep in mind that the more alcohol or cannabis available the more it can decrease inhibitions, which can increase the sorts of risks we take. On the other hand, events held in outdoor settings or in spaces that allow for physical spacing between individuals as well as smaller gatherings have lower risk. Primary factors to consider in making your decisions about attending include:

  • How many people does the activity involve?
  • Is the activity inside or outside?
  • Can you keep 6 feet between yourself and others?
  • How long does the activity last?

Lower risk activities include camping with family members, visiting a vacation home or hotel, or participating in outdoor low contact exercises such as tennis or baseball. Shopping, dining out, playgrounds and swimming pools are all considered low to medium risk, but keep in mind the conditions associated with the activity. Medium to higher risk activities include airline travel, places of worship, personal services, bars, breweries, nightclubs, gyms, fitness facilities and singing with groups. 

There is no way to ensure zero risk of infection. Interacting with the public will have some level of risk no matter what you are thinking of doing. Therefore, these are also really good things to consider when deciding whether to participate or when making travel plans:

  • Is COVID-19 spreading in your destination community? Check COVID-19 case maps to find out the rate of infection in the area you want to travel. For instance, if you are planning to stay in your community and there are few cases, your risk of infection will be low. On the other hand, if you were thinking of flying to Houston, Texas to attend a wedding, the risk would be high. This map from John Hopkins University shows case count by counties which will provide you with targeted information. Having all the facts helps to decide whether to change plans or take extra precautions while visiting.
  • What are the local orders in the community? Every state, county, city or town may have specific rules related to COVID-19. Be sure to check before you leave home.
  • Do you or do people you live with have any extra risk of serious illness from COVID-19? Consider those factors when returning as you may have been exposed to the virus since almost 40% of those who are contagious with COVID-19 are asymptomatic for the first 7-8 days but are still contagious. Exposure not only affects you but also those within your home since close contact is inevitable. 
  • How will you get there? Public transit can put you in close contact with others or traveling in cars with non-household members can also increase your risk, while a family traveling together in a personal vehicle would be less risky.
  • If you get sick with COVID-19, will you be okay with missing work or school? This is a highly contagious virus. It’s known to infect a whole room of people from just one infected person present. Be prepared to be out of work for at least 14 days, but possibly longer depending on the severity of symptoms.

It probably doesn’t need to be said, but if you are sick or if possibly exposed to COVID-19, change plans and don’t go. If you are healthy and decide to go, make it safer for yourself and others by maintaining physical distance of 6 feet, wash your hands frequently and wear a face covering if at all possible. Those three little acts of kindness: keep your space, cover your face, wash your hands, can help keep summer healthy for all of us. 


Update 7/30/2020, 5:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Polis Provides Update on State’s Response to COVID-19

DENVER - Governor Jared Polis today provided an update to Coloradans on the state’s response to COVID-19.

“Scientists and researchers are still learning new things every day about this novel virus and there is mounting evidence that persistent damage can occur to the lungs, brain and heart. So I continue to encourage my fellow Coloradans to do their part to slow the spread of the virus for the sake of our own lives, the lives of our loved ones and our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Wear masks, wash your hands, avoid large-scale gatherings and make smart decisions so we can crush this virus.”

Governor Polis began today’s briefing by honoring the life of his former colleague and civil rights hero Congressman John Lewis. 

Governor Jared Polis announced today that in addition to providing medical-grade masks to public school teachers this Fall, the State will also provide masks for private school teachers across the state. The State announced a specific partnership with the Colorado Archdioceses of Denver to provide 2,000 masks per week to their 48 schools. 

Governor Polis also announced that the Attorney General’s Office has issued a cease-and-desist letter to Live Entertainment, the company responsible for the dangerous, large-scale events in Weld County this past weekend.

The Governor highlighted a variety of the potential long-term health effects that people who have contracted COVID-19 are seeing including damage to the lungs, brain and heart. The Governor implored Coloradans to continue protecting themselves and others by practicing social distancing requirements, wearing masks and washing hands.

The Governor announced that IKEA is making one of the largest contributions to date to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, nearly $1 million. The company is calculating the unemployment claims submitted by their employees and donating that money back to the Relief Fund. To date, the fund has raised more than $22 million and distributed $16.4 million to more than 750 organizations serving Coloradans in all 64 counties. On August 8, the fund will be accepting a sixth round of grants. The Fund will be accepting tiered applications for coordinated organizations, up to $100,000. The Governor encouraged Coloradans to donate and help meet the needs of all Coloradans, and also encouraged organizations that are in need of funding to apply for funds in Round Six.


Update 7/14/2020, 10:00am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

Positive COVID-19 Test Result

Julesburg, CO. – July 13, 2020: Sedgwick County Memorial Nursing Home has been notified of a positive COVID-19 test result associated with the facility. Case investigation is in process, but in order to protect the privacy of the individual(s), identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public. More information will be announced as necessary to protect the wellbeing of residents and staff.

“The health and welfare of our staff is our first priority. We have begun notifying our residents, families and associates. Rest assured we are doing everything appropriate to stop any additional infection.” Says Nick Goshe, CEO 

Sedgwick County Memorial Nursing Home, in collaboration with the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD), and emergency agencies are working diligently to ensure all residents and staff are receiving appropriate care. Proactive measures are being taken to protect residents from any spread of disease. The facility follows all Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, state and NCHD guidelines concerning long-term facilities and COVID-19. Our staff and associates are diligently practicing proper hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment and all staff receives recurring education on these practices. Every staff/associate is screened when arriving for work, including a temperature check, and sent home if exhibiting any symptoms. In previous weeks, visitation has been allowed with strict guidelines, but has been terminated until further notice. 

“NCHD is committed to protecting the members of our communities that are at highest risk and we support Sedgwick County Memorial Nursing Home in their efforts to ensure resident and staff safety,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD. 

Reliable, up-to-date information on COVID-19 is available at https://www.nchd.org/covid-19 and 

https://covid19.colorado.gov/.

 

Update 7/14/2020, 10:00am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northeast Colorado Investigating First Positive COVID-19 Test Results in Sedgwick County


Sterling, Colo. – July 13, 2020: Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has identified the first positive COVID-19 test result in a Sedgwick County resident through the Colorado Electronic Disease Reporting System. Case investigations are in process and NCHD will be contacting anyone determined to have had direct contact with any individual(s) who have tested positive for COVID-19. In order to protect the privacy of the individuals, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public.

With the addition to this case, every county in our six county health district has now been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The total positive test results for northeast Colorado is currently 1414 (Logan County 641, Morgan County 656, Phillips County 16, Sedgwick County 1, Washington County 46 and Yuma County 54) and a total of 51 deaths associated to COVID-19.  

 “In the past several weeks, our six county health district has seen a decrease in daily COVID-19 case counts, but this is a strong reminder that we must remain vigilant. COVID-19 is still active in our communities,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD. “We strongly encourage people to continue to stay home if sick, wear face coverings and practice social distancing in order to prevent this virus from spreading any further.” 

If you believe you were exposed, self-quarantine for 14 days. If you develop any cold or flu-like symptoms, self-isolate and contact your primary care provider. Call ahead so they can make appropriate accommodations if deemed necessary. We also want to remind you that if contacted by public health contact tracers, it’s very important to talk with them to prevent further spread. When you do, you helps us:

  • Communicate public health actions

  • Understand our communities affected by COVID-19

  • Understand who is at risk

  • Follow up with high risk groups

  • Track the progress of the outbreak in our counties and state

“Engagement with the public during contact tracing is imperative,” says NCHD Response Coordination Officer, Mike Burnett. “Since we are out in the public again and interacting more frequently, this is the best tool we have to manage this disease in a proactive way while allowing our economy to thrive.” 

Additionally, you can help slow the spread of COVID-19, influenza and other viruses by:

  • Staying home if you’re sick and/or keeping your children home if they are sick.

  • Avoid close contact by putting 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household. If you have a sick family member within your home, isolate that person in a separate room and try to avoid close contact. 

  • Wear cloth face coverings over mouth and nose when around others outside your household and cover cough and sneezes.

  • Practicing good hygiene. Thoroughly and frequently, wash your hands with soap and water. In the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.

  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently-touched objects and surfaces.

  • Monitor your health daily by taking your temperature and watching for symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath. 


Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as we learn more about this virus.  Reliable, up-to-date information is available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/For the most current local information go to https://www.sedgwcocovid.com/.


Update 7/1/2020, 10:30am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Governor Polis Extends Safer at Home and Updates Protect Our Neighbor Framework,
Announces Closure of Bars

DENVER - Governor Jared Polis today extended the Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors Executive Order, and provided an update on Colorado’s next steps during the COVID-19 pandemic, introducing more details on the Protect Our Neighbors framework. The Governor was joined by Jill Hunsaker Ryan, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment; Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state’s top epidemiologist; Joni Reynolds, the Gunnison County Public Health Director; and Jason Vahling, the City and County of Broomfield Public Health Director.


“Protect Our Neighbors will allow Colorado to respond more swiftly and effectively at the community level in the event of another surge of cases. We live in a diverse state with cities, booming suburbs, small resort towns, and rural areas with plenty of wide-open spaces. Each community is having their own unique experience with this virus. Going forward, we want to increase our ability to tackle outbreaks at a community level and only issue statewide orders when absolutely necessary,” said Gov. Polis. “We are making some much-needed investments in our local public health agencies, so they can contain and quell an outbreak before it gets out of control. The fate of Colorado in both virus suppression and economic recovery is largely in the hands of Coloradans. If we continue taking the critical steps of staying at home, wearing masks when leaving the house and following social distancing practices, then we will get through this together.”


The Governor did not announce any additional relaxing of restrictions today, but described the new phase: Protect Our Neighbors that will give local communities more freedom to provide economic opportunity while ensuring that they have the necessary public health capacity. The introduction of the new phase means that different parts of the state could be at different phases of reopening, based on local conditions and capabilities. 


“Each day, we make progress to build the capacity of our public health system -- from ramping up statewide testing sites to onboarding new case investigators and contact tracers systemwide, to identifying creative ways to aggressively acquire PPE. I am proud of the team at CDPHE who have stood strong during this very difficult time, and I’m grateful for our local public health partners who are leading the response against COVID in their communities,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment. “It is important that Coloradans don’t let up now, and this new phase - Protect Our Neighbors - isn’t just words. It means we all accept personal responsibility for the things we can do every day to keep ourselves and others healthy.” 


Moving forward, communities that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems, paired with low virus levels, can take on more control over their reopening plans. In order to reopen to this greater extent, communities must have: 

  • Low virus prevalence; 

  • Health care capacity to handle a surge; and  

  • Strong public health capacity to contain outbreaks and surges locally, including the ability to test, track, and trace.


In order to qualify for Protect Our Neighbors, a county (or region) must do two things:

Certify qualification according to the scientific metrics; and
Submit a mitigation and containment plan on what the county or region will do if they fall out of compliance with any of the metrics. This containment plan must be accompanied by letters of support from local elected leaders including county commissioners and mayors, the hospitals that serve that community, law enforcement, county emergency management, local public health, and if applicable, tribes.


The certification process will begin next week. To learn more about how a community can qualify, click here


Communities in Protect Our Neighbors will be able to permit all activities to occur at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity, with at least six feet between non-household members and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time. Local communities may issue more detailed guidelines or public health orders for different settings, so long as the capacity does not exceed these caps. 


The Governor also discussed funding and support for local governments as Colorado looks to move into Protect Our Neighbors. In total, the state is investing $346 million in state and local capacity, with $75 million going directly from the state to Local Public Health Agencies. Gov. Polis also announced two new sources of available funding: a Planning Grant or Infrastructure Strengthening Grant. 


All counties or local public health agencies can apply for a Planning Grant of up to $50,000. If counties have already identified infrastructure needs, they may apply for Infrastructure Strengthening Grants, with a maximum state award of $150,000 and a maximum total grant of $300,000. These grants will require local matching funds and can be spent on investments such as technology, community resource coordination, communication activities to increase compliance with the public health orders, funding for community-based partners and cultural brokers, and enhanced prevention and containment efforts.


Governor Polis announced the closure of bars. Bars that have taken steps to open as restaurants may continue to operate in-person service, so long as they have patrons seated with their own party only in set seating, spaced six feet apart, and with no mingling. Bars are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages to-go for takeout or delivery consumption if the alcoholic beverages are sold with food. All of the guidelines previously in place around social distancing still apply. Bars may still operate if open under a county variance pursuant to the terms of that county variance. More information can be found in the Governor’s Executive Order.


View the Governor’s presentation. Watch the full news conference on the Governor’s Facebook page


Update 7/1/2020, 10:15am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State health department releases Protect-Our-Neighbors roadmap 

DENVER, June 30, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today announced the final roadmap for local communities to qualify for the Protect our Neighbors phase of the COVID-19 response. Local communities will be able to qualify for this status to gain more local control in their communities if they meet certain criteria, including low viral transmission and preparedness of the public health agency to successfully respond to an increase in cases. Once communities meet certification criteria, submit a surge mitigation plan, and are approved by the state, they will be able to permit activities at 50% of pre-pandemic capacity, with at least 6 feet between non-household members, and no more than 500 people in one setting at a time. 

This is the gold standard of pandemic preparedness, and it is a goal for our communities to aspire to. Not all of our communities will be able to achieve this goal immediately, said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It’s going to be up to all of us to keep wearing masks, washing our hands, and keeping our distance. We need to all do our part to keep transmissions low and prevent a surge on our hospital systems.”

Next week, CDPHE will provide more information and training on the process for applying for certification, as well as grant funding that will be available to help communities enhance their COVID-19-related planning and infrastructure.

Three things will enable a community to qualify for Protect-Our-Neighbors certification status:

  • Low disease transmission levels (including stable or declining COVID-19 hospitalizations or fewer new cases in the past two weeks),

  • Local public health agency capacity for testing, case investigation, contact tracing, and outbreak response (including the ability to test 15 people per 10,000 residents per day; the ability to conduct case investigation and contact tracing for at least 85% of assigned cases within 24 hours; a plan that documents the ability to investigate and contact trace their share, based on population, of our state’s overall 500 cases per day goal; and strategies to offer testing to close contacts of outbreak-associated cases)

  • Hospital ability to meet the needs of all patients and handle the surge in demand for intensive hospital care (including the capacity to manage a 20% surge in hospital admissions/patient transfers and two weeks of PPE available.)

A county may seek to qualify for Protect Our Neighbors by themselves, or voluntarily form a “region” with neighboring counties. Communities that can demonstrate strong public health and health care systems -- paired with low virus levels -- can take on more control over their own reopening plans and help the state avoid statewide shutdowns. 

“Protect Our Neighbors empowers local governments, public health agencies and partners to meet the needs of their communities and scale their response,” said Hunsaker Ryan. “If communities are successful in controlling the outbreak locally, the state will not have to rely on suppressing the virus through extreme statewide shutdowns.”

Protect Our Neighbors requires all Coloradans to continue to support and protect people who are atincreased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including older adults and people with underlying medical conditions. It’s important to remember that different communities may be in different phases -- Stay-At-Home, Safer-At-Home, or Protect Our Neighbors -- and may move between levels during this pandemic. Communities that are able to loosen restrictions under Protect Our Neighbors may need to tighten restrictions again to Safer-at-Home or Stay-at-Home levels if they see case increases, outbreaks, or a surge on their hospital systems.

The Protect-Our-Neighbors metrics were drafted by a workgroup consisting of epidemiologists and public health experts from the CDPHE, the University of Colorado School of Public Health, and local public health agencies from across the state. The group included representatives from urban, rural and frontier counties. In addition, the workgroup consulted health care coalitions and health care systems leadership in drafting treatment metrics. They met over the course of five sessions and reviewed scientific literature, case studies, and expert consultation to develop metrics that would achieve the goal of ensuring that they signify a systems readiness for broader reopening.

In order to help support communities’ ability to achieve success, the state is making additional federal CARES Act funding available: 

  • Planning Grant of up to $50,000 to engage consultants and community partners, and to fund community engagement efforts with communities impacted by and at increased risk.  

  • Infrastructure Strengthening Grants of up to $300,000 (up to $150,000 in state funds + local match) to invest in technology; community resource coordination; communication activities to increase compliance with the public health orders; funding for community-based partners and cultural brokers; and enhanced prevention and containment efforts.  

For extensive information on Protect-Our-Neighbors, including guidance for communities to qualify for this phase, please visit covid19.colorado.gov/protect-our-neighbors

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

 

Update 6/26/2020, 10am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State health department releases guidance allowing visitors at residential care facilities

Outdoor visitation now allowed

DENVER, June 24, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released guidance today allowing outdoor visitation at residential care facilities. This guidance allows visitors at residential care facilities while minimizing the potential spread of COVID-19. The state decided to implement this guidance now since disease rates in the state are low.

The department sought and incorporated feedback from the public and stakeholders before finalizing the guidance. The guidance states that:

  • The facility cannot have outdoor visitation if the facility had any recent positive cases or outbreaks and has not completed the required isolation period of 14 days. Facilities with active cases are not allowed to offer visits. 

  • All visits must be scheduled. Prior to the visits, facilities must provide information about COVID-19, and instructions for self-screening on the day of the visit, social distancing and mask-wearing, and details about the visit.

  • The visitor must be greeted outside at a designated area by facility staff, and the staff member will perform temperature check and symptom screening in accordance with current CDC guidelines. Visitors with symptoms in the previous 14 days should not be allowed visitation. Residents who are in isolation or quarantine related to COVID-19 or have symptoms related to COVID-19 may not participate in outdoor visitation.

  • All visitors must wear a face mask or cloth face covering. All staff and the resident must wear a surgical or cloth mask unless doing so would inhibit the resident’s health.  

  • Visitors must supply name and contact information to facilities for contact tracing.

  • Facilities must establish a separate designated meeting area outdoors for these visitations. The facility should ensure that residents not participating in visits continue to have access to outdoor space. This area must be monitored to ensure it remains separated from the facility population and staff. 

  • There can be no more than eight people (including resident, staff, and visitors) in the gathering, or the number determined by using the Social Distancing Calculator, whichever is smaller. The allowable number of visitors should be documented in the visitation plan. 

  • Furniture used for external visits should be appropriately cleaned and disinfected between visits.

  • Each facility must document their outdoor visitation policies and add it to their isolation plan.  

“We know that these restrictions - and the resulting isolation - have been hard on the residents in these facilities,” said Randy Kuykendall, Director of the Health Facilities and EMS Division at CDPHE. “But we know the restrictions, while hard, helped minimize the impact of outbreaks. Because of the success of our collaborations between state and local health departments and residential care facilities in the state, we are pleased to offer some safe ways for residents to receive visitors.”

While outdoor visitation is currently allowed, the state may decide to amend this guidance if there is an increase in cases and the epidemiological data suggests that visitation is no longer safe. Outdoor visitation will not be allowed if the facility has an outbreak or if the community is under a Stay-At-Home order. 

This guidance applies to outdoor visitation and does not address compassionate care visits, such as end-of-life situations. Following CDC guidance, compassionate care visits have been allowed on a case-by-case basis and should include careful symptom screening to prevent transmission of COVID-19. 

Public health orders establish requirements that Coloradans must follow while guidance documents provide clear instructions for how businesses and individuals can comply with the public health orders. 

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.


Update 6/22/2020, 2:20pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Polis Takes Action in Response to COVID-19

DENVER - Gov. Polis signed Executive Orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Coloradans have done a great job wearing masks when leaving the house, staying physically distant from others, and washing our hands but we are only a few short steps ahead of the virus and we need to do better. The data is now starting to show a reversal of some of our gains, the 3-day moving average for cases is now going up in our state,” said Governor Polis. “This emergency extension helps Colorado further support our response efforts and remain prepared in the face of this global pandemic. I encourage all Coloradans to stay vigilant and we will get through this together.” 

Gov. Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 109, extending the state of disaster emergency and providing additional funds for response activities due to the presence of coronavirus.  

“Workers in stores and public-facing businesses have been wearing facial masks, and more and more companies are now thankfully requiring that customers wear masks to keep one another safe. Costco, Pizzeria Locale, and more and more Colorado businesses now require customers to wear masks. Today we are further protecting our state and county workers from infection by adding this best practice to the way we as a state do business,” said Governor Polis. “While we are doing our best to help people access public services virtually from the safety of your home, customers needing in-person services at our state and county government facilities will now also be safer by ensuring that those around them wear facial masks and I continue to encourage other businesses to make the right decision to protect their employees and customers by putting in place and enforcing mask requirements.”

 “I direct the Executive Director of CDPHE to issue a public health order requiring that employees, contractors, and others providing services for Mass Transportation Operations and Critical Businesses where employees, contractors, or others who interact in close proximity with other employees or with the public must: 1. Wear medical or non-medical cloth face coverings that cover the nose and mouth while working, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health,” the Executive Order reads. 

Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 108, to increase the Medicaid home health workforce and eliminate cost-sharing for coronavirus testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees. “This Executive Order extends Executive Order D 2020 077, which suspends certain statutes to preserve the State’s Medicaid home health workforce and protect Medicaid enrollees from COVID-19 by reducing the need for in-person visits. I also temporarily suspend statutory requirements for cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing and treatment for Medicaid enrollees,” the Executive Order reads. 

 Governor Polis also extended Executive Order D 2020 112, concerning criminal justice as well as Executive Order D 2020 111, issuing emergency rules extending the expiration date of licenses and other documents. 


Update 6/22/2020, 2:20pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

     Coloradans urged to be "Can Do Consumers" in an effort to stay safe while helping statewide local businesses thrive.

DENVER - The Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) is committed to Gov. Jared Polis’ plan to help safely reopen Colorado’s economy and protect the public from the spread of COVID-19 by challenging Coloradans to be “Can Do Consumers”. As part of the State’s “Can Do Colorado” campaign, which highlights practices and innovations by businesses who are stepping up and transforming the way they operate to support their communities, Coloradans can now find guidance on how to safely and responsibly resume using all the wonderful services provided by these businesses in our state.

“Many businesses are stepping up with innovative solutions to help keep their customers and clients safe. Now it’s time for Colorado consumers to do their part to keep themselves and others healthy while supporting our state’s economy” said DORA Executive Director Patty Salazar. “Customers, clients and patients all have roles to play to ensure that Colorado remains resilient in the face of this pandemic. We are proud to offer resources and guides for Coloradans to learn how they can become ‘Can Do Consumers.”

The “Can Do Colorado” campaign and website launched in early May, providing a dedicated space for people to learn about Coloradans who are creating new, safe ways to serve their clients and customers. The site also provides business owners and professionals with resources and guidance about how they can safely and responsibly reopen, and has incorporated “Can Do Community Challenges” from DORA’s sister agencies working to ensure Colorado emerges from the pandemic stronger than ever. 

Now, with the addition of the “Can Do Consumers” initiative, visitors to the site will find health and safety tips on effective ways to comply with policies and rules when visiting businesses, as well as resources on how to find local businesses who are operating safely and innovatively. Coloradans can also find information on ways to avoid COVID-19 scams and frauds.

Follow along to see new highlights from the campaign on the website and on social media at #CanDoColorado and #DoingMyPartCO. Denver branding, marketing and technology company Karsh Hagan is managing aspects of campaign marketing and design pro-bono.

Please note: The featured practices are not an endorsement or recommendation of any one individual or business by DORA. Rather, the campaign is meant to highlight innovative and best practices used by businesses in the midst of COVID-19 restrictions.


Update 6/9/2020, 2:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Importance of Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

Sterling, Colo. – June 9, 2020: There has been a lot of discussion around COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing but what is it and why is it so important now that our counties are reopening?

Case investigation and contact tracing is valuable in protecting friends, family, and community members from future disease spread and potential outbreaks. The concept of tracing the origin of a disease is nothing new. In fact, it was a major factor to beating smallpox and polio and has been a core disease control measure to prevent the spread of many infectious diseases throughout the 20th century and is still utilized today for tuberculosis, H1N1, HIV, Measles, E.coli and sexually transmitted infections, among many others.

“Engagement with the public during contact tracing is imperative,” says NCHD Response Coordination Officer, Mike Burnett. “Since we are out in the public again and interacting more frequently, this is the best tool we have to manage this disease in a proactive way while allowing our economy to start to thrive.” 

Case investigation and contact tracing is a very lengthy process conducted by a public health workers. It starts with the case investigation of a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19 by quickly locating and talking with them, assisting in arranging isolation plans for themselves and working to identify people with whom they have been in close contact. Close contact means anyone the patient has been within 6 feet from for at least 10 minutes starting 48 hours prior to illness onset until the time of isolation. Usually this means family, friends, and people who live or work together.

“As we learn more about this disease, it’s more likely that it is contracted by someone you live with or spend a lot of time together such as a coworker or carpooling,” explained Trish McClain, NCHD Public Health Director.  “It’s less likely to be the checkout person or a passer-by on the street, and those aren’t currently investigated as contacts for COVID-19.”

Those identified as close contacts are notified during the contact tracing process where they are interviewed and given guidance on how to keep themselves and others safe. Interviewers can also help connect people with resources they may need while they stay home for 14 days to ensure they are not sick (quarantine) or to stay home, recovering from being sick (isolation). Interviewers will never ask for, or write down, immigration status, Social Security number, financial information or marital status. They do not reveal who they were exposed to.

Individual information is not shared and all information collected during interviews is used only by public health agencies to track the spread of the disease.  Interviewers operate under strict confidentiality rules and collected data is protected in secure systems.

If tested positive for the virus, whether symptomatic or not, it’s very important to talk with public health contact tracers so that we can utilize individual isolation or quarantine appropriately to prevent further spread. When you do, it helps us:

 

  • Understand communities affected by COVID-19.
  •  Inform public health actions.
  • Understand who is at risk.
  • Follow up with high risk groups.
  • Track the progress of the outbreak in our state. 
ISS_2968_02739.jpg
 
 

Update 5/28/2020, 10:15am: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Governor Polis Issues Guidance for Restaurants, Summer Camps and Private Camping 


DENVER - Gov, Jared Polis today announced updates to Safer at Home and changes to restaurants, summer camps and private camping. 


“We are still a long way from returning to normal, but these updates are a step in the right direction because Coloradans are doing a good job so far limiting our social interactions. If we can continue staying at home as much as possible, wearing face coverings and washing our hands when leaving the house, then we will be able to slow the spread of the virus while reigniting our economy. If not, it will cost lives, and the economic pain will also be worse,” said Governor Jared Polis.


“Coloradans value our diverse culinary scene and amazing restaurants, and I’m proud that our state is now providing science-based guidelines on how restaurants can open as safely as reasonably possible for their employees and customers. Diners will have more space between tables and at many restaurants, more opportunities to eat outside. The safest thing anyone can do is stay home whenever possible, but for those who want to shop and dine we want to make sure it can be done as safely as possible,” the Governor continued. 


Governor Polis updated and extended the Safer at Home Executive Order. The executive order also directs CDPHE to develop and issue guidance related to restaurants and summer camps.


Beginning on May 27, restaurants will be able to open for in-person dining at 50% capacity of the indoor posted occupancy code limit, but they can not exceed 50 people, whichever is less. They are also encouraged to provide as much outdoor services as possible. Bars will remain closed. Establishments that do not serve food will be evaluated in June. Read the full restaurant guidance here


Children’s day camps and youth sports camps will open on Monday, June 1, 2020. Residential overnight camps will be closed in June. Decisions for July and August overnight camps will be made in mid-June. Children’s residential camps that choose to operate as day camps must work with the Colorado Department of Human Services and their local public health agency (LPHA) for approval. Day camps, including mobile, youth sports camps, and outdoor camps, must operate with restrictions and strong precautionary measures, as specified in the guidance


“I know this has been a very different school year than many students were expecting, and thanks to the success of our social distancing efforts so far, Colorado kids will be able to enjoy day camps and youth sports camps this summer in as safe a manner as possible. The risk, though less, is still very real, and it’s up to families to make the best decisions that work for them. We also appreciate the critical role that day camps, along with daycare which has already been operating in as safe a manner as reasonably possible, play in supporting working parents,” Gov. Polis said. 


Effective May 25, 2020 private campsites are open. If a host county would like to keep campsites closed, county commissioners should consult with their local public health agency, and then notify the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and CDPHE in writing. Campgrounds in the State Park system are already open.


“Our outdoors are part of who we are as Coloradans, and our campgrounds provide more people with the opportunity to safely enjoy Colorado’s natural beauty at a safe distance from others,” said Governor Polis. 


Executive Order D 2020-049, which closed ski resorts has expired. Ski resorts may work to secure approval from their local authorities in order to open.


Read the FAQ document here and the Executive Order here. A Public Health Order will be released tomorrow, Tuesday. The Safer at Home Executive Order has been amended and extended until June 1, 2020 to reflect these changes.


The Governor will hold a media availability tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. More details to follow. 


Update 5/28/2020, 10am: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Governor Polis Discusses New State Guideline

DENVER - Gov. Polis today discussed the new state guidelines around in-person dining at restaurants, day camps, and private campgrounds, as well as the decision-making process around implementing or loosening restrictions. 


“Coloradans have done an incredible job of staying at home and taking the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their neighbors safe,” said Governor Jared Polis. “That’s why we are able to take the first steps toward reopening restaurants, giving more Coloradans the chance to return to work, and encouraging more Coloradans to enjoy our incredible outdoor spaces. We have come a long way since the beginning of this pandemic, but make no mistake, we still have a long way to go. We must remain diligent and continue staying home as much as possible and follow social distancing requirements, wearing a mask, and washing our hands when we leave the house.”


The Governor has previously outlined several criteria when making decisions about what can be reopened safely:

  • What level of suppression of the virus has been achieved?
  • What is the ability to do testing and containment?
  • How well are vulnerable individuals, who are a significantly greater risk, being protected?
  • Does the health care system have the capacity to handle a surge?
  • What’s the level of risk vs. societal/economic/psychological reward? 
  • Is the policy sustainable?

Beginning May 27, 2020, restaurants are allowed to re-open for in-person dining at 50% capacity. The restaurant industry has a significant impact on Colorado’s economy, employing almost 300,000 Coloradans, or 10% of the state workforce. 


The state released key guidelines for restaurants to keep customers and staff safe, including:

  • Limit the number of people that can be inside the establishment at a single time to 50% capacity.
  • Parties will be limited to 8 or less and parties will be seated six feet away from each other; intermingling of parties will be prohibited.
  • All employees must wear face coverings.
  • All surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between parties.
  • Increase indoor ventilation by opening doors and windows and limiting air conditioning, which recycles the air inside the establishment.
  • Work with local governments to suspend some rules to maximize outdoor service.

Summer day camps can reopen with strict precautions. Sleepaway camps will still be prohibited through June. There are a number of ways the state is mitigating risk to kids, employees, and parents:

  • Employees must wear protective gear and adhere to hygienic and disinfecting practices.
  • Campers must wear a mask whenever possible, and groups larger than 10 people in a single room or 25 people outside are prohibited.
  • Campers will be subject to temperature checks to screen for symptoms of COVID-19.

The Governor also discussed the timeline for these decisions, as well as for future decisions:

  • May 25 - Spring skiing allowed if permitted by host county, private campsites open
  • May 27 - In-person dining can resume at 50% capacity
  • June 1 - Children’s summer day camps can open
  • After June 1 - Next steps for Safer at Home

In the beginning of this global pandemic, Colorado was seeing an exponential rise in cases where each person was spreading the virus to three or four other people. Gov. Polis announced today that, based on the data the state is seeing and modeling state epidemiologists are doing, each person with the virus is now spreading it to about one person or fewer.  


The Governor is encouraging any Coloradan with symptoms to be tested for COVID-19. The state is now testing 4,000-5,000 people per day, and has the supplies to test 8,500 people per day. 


Gov. Polis announced that the state has secured a 17-month contract with Honeywell for six million N95 masks to keep frontline health care workers safe.


Ski resorts can now work with local authorities to develop a plan on how to open as safely as possible, and secure local approval. Arapahoe Basin in Summit County will be reopening with strict precautions for distancing in lift lines, a mask requirement, no food or beverage service, and no tailgating. In addition, private campsites are not open, and state campgrounds have been open since May 12, 2020.


The Governor is hopeful the focus of the legislative session will be on building a resilient response, from a health perspective and an economic perspective, for Colorado in the face of the pandemic. The Governor also discussed the legislative session and reiterated the importance of lowering health care costs, supporting businesses and workers, improving air quality, and investing in public health. The Governor called on legislators to put the “Colorado Heroes Act” on the ballot next year, which would repeal the Gallagher amendment and freeze property tax assessment rates in this crisis.


Gov. Polis today signed Executive Order D 2020 080, allowing voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to proceed under certain conditions.


View the Governor’s presentation and the full news conference. Read the FAQ here


Update 5/21/2020, 11:15 am: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Colorado State University to lead COVID-19 testing for asymptomatic health care workers, nursing home residents

FORT COLLINS (May 20, 2020):  As part of the state’s plan to expand testing in long-term care facilities, scientists from Colorado State University (CSU) will conduct COVID-19 testing of workers and residents in up to 30 skilled nursing facilities in Colorado. Each facility will receive eight consecutive weeks of testing. The tests will provide an early warning system for public health officials and managers at long-term care facilities. This will help prevent outbreaks, monitor the risk of exposure for residents, and help recovered workers return to work. 

This project, an agreement between CSU and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is an initiative of the COVID-19 Residential Care Task Force. The  Colorado Unified Command Center (UCC) launched the task force in an effort to reduce the spread of illness and number of deaths in high-density, group-living settings, like nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“This is an exciting partnership,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer for CDPHE. “Because some cases of COVID-19 are without symptoms, this type of testing approach is going to be essential in preventing outbreaks. We are grateful for CSU’s support in helping us to protect Coloradans from the spread of COVID-19.”

“We’re incredibly proud of our state for prioritizing this kind of testing in skilled nursing facilities and we’re proud that CSU can support that effort,” said Dr. Nicole Ehrhart, director of the Columbine Health Systems Center for Healthy Aging at CSU.

CSU will receive $4.2 million as part of this agreement. A majority of the funding will go to the testing of asymptomatic workers, with their consent, using nasopharyngeal swabs. CSU will work with state officials to identify the facilities with highest priority for surveillance testing. The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at CSU will process the human COVID-19 tests

In April, the lab received Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification for laboratory testing performed on humans by partnering with colleagues at CSU’s Health and Medical Center, including Dr. Bruce Smith, who directs the  CLIA-certified laboratory. The CSU lab also worked directly with the CDPHE to obtain human samples for validation testing. The CSU lab’s move to process human tests is part of a national trend at veterinary labs

Dr. Kristy Pabilonia is the director of the lab at CSU. Her team has previously responded to numerous animal disease outbreaks and has the capacity to test large numbers of samples. 

CSU’s role builds on an existing pilot project launched in March with five skilled nursing facilities in the state. As of the end of April, researchers leading the study tested 454 nursing home workers and found 13.1%, or 60 of 454 workers, who did not show symptoms tested positive for COVID-19.  The concept behind the research is a basic principle in disease surveillance, especially during a pandemic. 

“We know that there is a surprising number of people who never exhibit symptoms of COVID-19, and we’ve shown that even asymptomatic positive people are infectious to others,” said Dr. Ehrhart. “It’s important that when there’s a community at higher risk for severe illness, like seniors, that we think about how to identify and mitigate the hidden potential for transmission to protect these vulnerable individuals.” 

In Colorado, more than 50% of the COVID-19-related deaths have been among older adults and people with disabilities who resided in high-density, group-living settings, like nursing homes and assisted living facilities. 

Alan Rudolph, CSU’s vice president for research, said the project underscores the university’s land-grant mission and demonstrates how research can have an immediate impact in Colorado communities. “Our researchers are at a critical interface to answer questions including: How long does it take to proceed from having symptoms to getting the disease, to testing negative and then have no disease?” he said. 

CSU Professor Greg Ebel is a co-investigator on this research project. 

Update 5/20/2020, 2pm: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INMATES TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19 AT WASHINGTON COUNTY JUSTICE CENTER 

Akron- The Washington County Justice Center has reported to the Northeast Colorado Health Department that they have four inmates that have tested positive for COVID-19.  The inmates have been isolated since the testing, and have been housed at the facility for months.  The inmates that tested positive have not displayed any symptoms, and initial testing was only precautionary, as one inmate complained of minor symptoms.  

The inmates that tested positive will be retested as will some staff members, and additional inmates.  NCHD has provided some testing kits for them and other inmates in the same pod where the positive inmates have been are also being tested.

All necessary precautions have been in place since March, to include PPE, washing of hands, and the use of hand sanitizer.   As an additional note, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office/Justice Center has implemented strict guidelines for staff and members of the public when entering the facility.  Additionally, inmate population is limited at this time with approximately 10 inmates per pod to limit any possible exposure. 

Any new inmates that are brought into the facility are immediately screened by medical staff, and isolated for 14 days prior to release to general population. 

At this time no staff member or inmate is complaining of symptoms related to COVID-19.


Update 5/20/2020, 10 am:


Update 5/20/2020, 10 am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Sterling, Colo. – May 18, 2020:     The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges as well as questions.  The terms ‘pandemic’ and ‘epidemic’ are being used but what do these words mean?  An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease within a community, population or region at a particular time while a pandemic is a global outbreak.  Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and spreads between people because there is little or no pre-existing immunity against the new virus.  A pandemic is an epidemic that travels.  For example, when COVID-19 was limited to Wuhan, China, it was an epidemic and then when it geographically spread it turned into a pandemic.

     One of the resulting challenges is the fact that rather than COVID-19 being limited to one particular community, population or region, this is global.  Have you had the desire to run away?  Where would you go? 

     As human beings we like certainty.  It is natural for us to want to know what is happening when and to notice things that feel threatening to us.  When things feel uncertain or when we don’t generally feel safe, it is normal to feel stress.  All of us have the fight or flight response wiring to protect us. 

     Anxiety often results from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t.  COVID-19 has many of us worried and feeling helpless about what will happen or what we can do to prevent further stress.  Our mental health can suffer.  It is important to remember that we can always choose our response.  If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of yourself and your mental health as we face uncertainty:

1.               Separate what is in your control from what is not.  There are things you can do, and it is helpful to focus on those. 

2.               Do what helps you feel a sense of safety.  This will be different for everyone and it is important to not compare yourself to others.  It is okay if you have decided that what makes you feel safe is to limit attendance in online or virtual events or small groups, but make sure you separate when you are isolating based on potential for sickness versus isolating because it is a part of depression. 

3.               Get outside in nature – even a walk out to your mailbox can give you some fresh air.  Exercise can help both your physical and mental health.

4.               Challenge yourself to stay in the present.  Perhaps your worry is compounding because you are not only thinking about what is currently happening, but also projecting into the future.  Gently bring yourself back to the present moment when you find yourself worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet. 

5.               Stay connected and reach out if you need more support.  Talk to trusted friends about what you are feeling.  If you are struggling, it is okay to reach out to a mental health professional for support.  For a list of local mental health professionals go to https://www.nchd.org/behavioralhealth.

# # # 

INFORMACIÓN INMEDIATA

Cuide su Salud Mental

Sterling, Colorado. - 18 de mayo de 2020: La pandemia de COVID-19 ha presentado muchos desafíos y preguntas. Los términos "pandemia" y "epidemia" se están utilizando, pero ¿qué significan estas palabras? Una epidemia es una ocurrencia generalizada de una enfermedad infecciosa dentro de una comunidad, población o región en un momento particular, mientras que una pandemia es un brote global. Las pandemias ocurren cuando surge un nuevo virus que infecta a las personas y se propaga entre las personas porque hay poca o ninguna inmunidad preexistente contra el nuevo virus. Una pandemia es una epidemia que viaja. Por ejemplo, cuando COVID-19 se limitó a Wuhan, China, fue una epidemia y luego, cuando se propagó geográficamente, se convirtió en una pandemia.

     Uno de los desafíos resultantes es el hecho de que, en lugar de que COVID-19 se limite a una comunidad, población o región en particular, esto es global. ¿Has tenido el deseo de escapar? ¿A dónde irías?

     Como seres humanos nos gusta la certeza. Es natural para nosotros querer saber qué sucede cuándo y notar cosas que nos parecen amenazadoras. Cuando las cosas se sienten incierto o cuando generalmente no nos sentimos seguros, es normal sentir estrés. Todos tenemos el cableado de respuesta de lucha o huida para protegernos.

     La ansiedad a menudo resulta de una sensación de lo que creemos que deberíamos poder controlar, pero no podemos. COVID-19 nos tiene a muchos de nosotros preocupados y sintiéndonos impotentes sobre lo que sucederá o lo que podemos hacer para prevenir más estrés. Nuestra salud mental puede sufrir. Es importante recordar que siempre podemos elegir nuestra respuesta. Si tiene dificultades, aquí hay algunas cosas que puede hacer para cuidarse y cuidar su salud mental a medida que enfrentamos incertidumbre:

1.               Separe lo que está bajo su control de lo que no está. Hay cosas que puede hacer, y es útil concentrarse en ellas.

2.               Haz lo que te ayude a sentir una sensación de seguridad. Esto será diferente para todos y es importante no compararse con los demás. Está bien si ha decidido que lo que lo hace sentir seguro es limitar la asistencia a eventos en línea o virtuales o grupos pequeños, pero asegúrese de separarse cuando esté aislando en función del potencial de enfermedad versus aislamiento porque es parte de la depresión.

3.               Salga a la naturaleza: incluso caminar hasta su buzón puede darle un poco de aire fresco. El ejercicio puede ayudar tanto a su salud física como mental.

4.               Ponte a prueba para permanecer en el presente. Quizás su preocupación se agrava porque no solo está pensando en lo que está sucediendo actualmente, sino que también se proyecta hacia el futuro. Regrese suavemente al momento presente cuando se encuentre preocupado por algo que aún no ha sucedido.

5.               Manténgase conectado y comuníquese si necesita más ayuda. Hable con amigos de confianza sobre lo que siente. Si está luchando, está bien comunicarse con un profesional de salud mental para que lo apoye. Para obtener una lista de profesionales locales de salud mental, visite: https://www.nchd.org/behavioralhealth.


Update 5/8/2020, 2pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative releases $1.5 million for support services aimed at workers displaced by COVID-19

Grant awards could contribute 1,500 new degrees or credentials to Colorado economy by 2022

DENVER – May 5, 2020:  The Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative (COSI) announced today the availability of up to $750,000 annually in grants to help workers displaced by COVID-19 enroll in certification and degree programs that align with Colorado Top Jobs, identified in the Talent Pipeline Report, so they can complete their credential within the next two years.  

Public higher education institutions, community partners and workforce centers are encouraged to apply for the funds through a request for proposal grant process that will award $75,000 annually per grant. Awards will go to student supports which improve and enhance local community-based service networks and increase enrollment and retention in public postsecondary institutions through proactive advising, wraparound support, and other support services.

“We are excited for this innovative opportunity to leverage COSI as a way to partner with institutions and workforce centers and identify new or reengaged students who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. “These grants allow displaced workers to upskill while our economy is in recovery so upon completion of gaining that credential or degree, they are ready to reenter the workforce with new knowledge and expertise.”   

“COSI is focused on expanding supportive services and taking our proven support models on the road,” said Dr. Cynthia Armendariz, director of COSI. “With months of research and development, we were already planning this type of intervention before COVID-19 hit. Our team is excited to pivot and immediately respond to community need and support our state.”

Interested applicants can review grant eligibility and application materials. Additionally, COSI will host two webinars for interested applicants:

About the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative:

TheColorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiativewas created to increase the attainment of postsecondary credentials and degrees for underserved students in Colorado. The project addresses this challenge in two ways: accessibility and affordability. To increase accessibility, COSI funds programs that will help prepare students for postsecondary education, as well as support them through completion. To increase affordability, COSI provides matching funds for community scholarships.

About the Colorado Department of Higher Education

Working with the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, we support students, advocate and develop policies to maximize higher education opportunities for all. The Department believes every Coloradan should have an education beyond high school to pursue their dreams and improve our communities. Read the CDHE master planColorado Rises.

Update 5/6/2020, 3:10pm: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Governor Polis Provides Update on Colorado Response to COVID-19 

DENVER - Gov. Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19.

“During Safer at Home, Coloradans doing their part will be the key to our shared success in protecting our health and the health of our communities. I’m so proud of how our state responded during the Stay-at-Home order, and it’s going to take that same dedication during these next few weeks. That’s why we’re going to be working closely with local officials and community leaders to ensure Coloradans understand Safer at Home requirements and are able to keep themselves and their neighbors safe,” said Gov. Polis. “I’m also excited to be sharing more data with Coloradans about where you can find community testing sites near home.”  

In creating the Safer at Home order, Gov. Polis and the administration did extensive outreach, holding a series of webinars with different industries and stakeholders to discuss what this next phase will mean for them. Outreach included almost 3,000 representatives from:

Retail Associations, Personal Services, General Commerce and Chambers, Health care and hospitals, Post-secondary education, Child Care, Local Governments and Real Estate. 

Gov. Polis also announced the membership of the Governor’s Advisory Committee for Cooperation and Implementation, which he announced last week. This Committee will advise the Governor and CDPHE on policies and regulations that are designed to maximize social distancing at the local level. It will also be focused on how local governments, and local public health can coordinate with the state on educating the public about these regulations, and maximizing compliance and enforcement efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. 

A key emphasis of this Committee will be on compliance and how local governments and the state can best work together to ensure Coloradans are following Safer at Home rules and protecting their health and safety. Membership includes:

  • County Commissioner over 250K- Steve Johnson, Larimer County

  • County Commissioner under 250K- Hilary Cooper, San Miguel County

  • Mayor over 100K- Nick Gradisar, Pueblo

  • Mayor under 100K- Barbara Bynum, Montrose

  • Local Public Health over 100K- Robert McDonald, City and County of Denver

  • Local Public Health under 100K- Heath Harmon, Eagle

  • Sheriff- Jeffery Shrader, Jefferson County

  • Police Chief- Gary Creager, Broomfield

  • Fire Chief- Thomas DeMint, Poudre Fire Department

  • One Representative of the Economic Recovery and Stabilization Council- Kyle Martinez, Olathe

They will join the following state officials on the council:

  • Governor’s Chief of Staff, Lisa Kaufmann

  • Executive Director of Department of Public Safety, Stan Hilkey

  • Executive Director of Department of Public Health and Environment, Jill Ryan

  • Executive Director of Department of Regulatory Agencies, Patty Salazar

Gov. Polis today also unveiled a new interactive map of community-based testing sites that local public health departments have set up across the state. The state 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 and this tool will be updated as more are brought online. The community-based testing sites are filling in the gap for underserved communities outside the main metro regions, but they are not the only way to get tested. There are many private providers that are doing testing, particularly at hospitals and clinics along the Front Range. The state is working to compile and verify information on these private testing sites to add to the map.

Here is the map.  

View the Governor’s presentation and watch the full news conference 


Update 5/6/2020, 3:00pm: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Colorado Receives Federal Fund Match for Telemedicine, Health Innovation Projects

DENVER - The Center for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) approved a COVID-19 emergency funding request for $7.9 million from the Office of eHealth Innovation (OeHI), in the Lt. Governor’s Office, and Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing (HCPF). 

“Our administration is doing everything we can to ensure Coloradans have access to health care in safe and convenient ways during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Jared Polis. “This funding will go toward innovations that include telemedicine and telemonitoring. This technology will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and provide Coloradans an effective and safe alternative to in-person care.” 

The $7.9 million federal fund match will support Colorado’s health information exchange infrastructure and emergency response innovations necessary for COVID-19 pandemic response. This funding will go toward telemedicine and other critical health innovation and infrastructure projects to ensure clinicians and patients are safe and healthy during this uncertain time. 

“Taking care of yourself and loved ones during a pandemic can be challenging. Especially when it comes to accessing health care for physical or emotional needs,” said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. “Helping families connect with a doctor, counselor or nurse in the comfort of their own home is a top priority.”

Innovative telemedicine approaches and upgrades will help connect Coloradans to their health care providers without an in-person visit. This new funding will help increase access to health care and slow the spread of COVID-19.


Update 4/27/2020, 2:05pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Gov. Polis Issues Executive Order on Safer at Home 

Executive Orders also issued on New Normal Advisory Board and Elective Procedures 

DENVER - Gov. Polis today issued Executive Orders on Safer at Home, the New Normal Advisory Board, and Voluntary or Elective Surgeries and Procedures. 

“Together, Coloradans have been effective in leveling and flattening the curve, but life will remain much more dangerous than usual these next few months and we should all wear masks when in public. Safer at Home is by no means a free-for-all. My administration has acted boldly in the face of this pandemic and is focused on ensuring our state can endure on the trail ahead. We all have a personal responsibility to slow the spread of the virus and must find a way of living that is psychologically and economically sustainable for Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis.

 The Safer at Home Executive Order D 2020 044 outlines a new level in Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes a more sustainable way of living for Coloradans while slowing the spread of the virus and allowing more Coloradans to return to work. The Executive Order is tentatively set to expire 30 days from April 27, 2020, but can be amended or extended at any time. 

 Coloradans should continue staying home as much as possible, and the Executive Order directs vulnerable populations, including seniors, to continue staying home, only leaving when absolutely necessary. 

Changes happening during Safer at Home will be phased in, with different changes going into effect April 27, May 1, and May 4. 

Monday, April 27

Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery. Real estate home showings can resume. Voluntary or elective medical, dental, and veterinary surgeries and procedures may resume if facilities are following required safety protocols.  

Friday, May 1

Retail businesses can phase-in a public opening if they are implementing best practices. 

Personal services can open if they are implementing best practices.

 Monday, May 4

Offices can reopen at 50% reduced in-person staffing capacity if best practices are being implemented to protect the health and safety of employees. Businesses are encouraged to allow employees to continue telecommuting at higher levels if possible. Child care facilities can also expand or reopen if they are following Safer at Home requirements. 

Colorado is a diverse state and the Governor knows each community will have different needs. The Safer at Home order outlines the options local governments will have when it comes to slowing the spread of the virus and protecting their communities. 

  • Local governments can implement the guidelines of Safer at Home to match the State.

  • Local governments can go further than the State, including but not limited to stay-at-home orders or additional protective measures.

  • Local governments can relax guidelines more than the State. To do so, local governments will need to demonstrate proof of 14 consecutive days of decline of infection of COVID-19 in the county. They also must submit an application to CDPHE that includes a written COVID-19 suppression plan approved by the appropriate local public health authority, all hospitals within the jurisdiction, and elected leadership.

Read the Safer at Home Executive Order here

The Governor also signed Executive Order D 2020 045, which will allow medical, dental, and veterinary voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures to resume as long as the health care facility or other setting is following the required safety protocols as set out in the Executive Order. This goes into effect Monday, April 27, 2020. Under this Executive Order, facilities performing these procedures must establish a plan to reduce or stop voluntary or elective surgeries and procedures if there is a surge of COVID-19 infections in the county or municipality in which they are located. CDPHE will determine the conditions that constitute a surge. Read the Executive Order here.

 Earlier this week, Gov. Polis announced the New Normal Advisory Board. The Board will advise the Governor and CDPHE on coordinating and harmonizing policies and rules designed to maximize social distancing during the Safer at Home phase. The Board shall focus particularly on how local jurisdictions and local public health agencies can coordinate with the State on public education efforts that aim to maximize compliance and enforcement efforts for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read Executive Order B 2020 002 here


Update 4/24/2020, 2:30pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

State releases public health order requiring critical business employees to wear masks  

DENVER (April 23, 2020): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) released a new public health order ordering workers in critical businesses and critical government functions to wear non-medical masks and gloves while at work to protect the health and welfare of the public. 

Public Health Order 20 26 requires that workers in these businesses who have close contact (within six feet) with other employees or the public wear cloth masks while working. It also orders these workers to wear gloves if they are in close contact with customers. The public health order encourages employers to provide masks and gloves for their employees. 

The critical businesses impacted by this public health order include banks, child care facilities, pharmacies, and grocery stores. They are defined in Public Health Order 20 24 and listed on the COVID-19 website at covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs

The main reason to wear a non-medical mask is to protect others. Data show that some people may spread COVID-19 when they do not have symptoms. People may spread the disease when speaking, coughing or sneezing -- especially in situations where a physical distance of six feet cannot be maintained.

Colorado is asking everyone to wear a non-medical cloth face covering while out in public. You can make or buy a covering that will cover your mouth and nose and use it whenever you are outside your house and yard.

This public health order will remain in place until May 17 unless it’s extended, amended, or rescinded. 

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

 


Update 4/22/2020, 11am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Safer At Home Guidelines 

  • Everyone should continue to stay at home as much as possible 
  • Vulnerable populations should continue to follow stay-at-home guidelines 
  • Additional precautions, including additional testing and mask-wearing, are required at nursing homes and assisted care facilities 
  • Face masks are encouraged anytime you leave home 
  • Gatherings of over 10 people are prohibited 
  • Critical businesses will remain open with strict precautions 
  • Retail businesses can open for curbside delivery starting April 27. Those that want to can open to the general public on May 1 with additional social distancing precautions 
  • Noncritical offices can open at 50 percent capacity starting Monday, May 4. Commercial offices are advised to have symptoms and temperature checks in place. Telecommuting should be maximized, especially for vulnerable communities. Warehouses and manufacturers are encouraged to run multiple shifts if possible to maintain 50 percent capacity 
  • Childcare will remain open with strict precautions 
  • Education facilities will remain closed 
  • Personal services (such as salons, tattoo parlors, dog groomers, dental offices, personal training, etc.) can reopen with strict precautions 
  • Real estate sales can continue with private showings, but no open houses 
  • Elective surgeries can resume with precautions 
  • Bars, restaurants, and clubs will stay closed for the time being, although a phased-in reopening of restaurants is expected during this phase. Polis said the state wants to wait until data is available from the other relaxed measures before reopening restaurants, but they’ll start preparing for those best practices (which will include reducing density) over the next few weeks 
  • The State of Colorado has promised additional guidelines and recommendations to be released later this week; they will continue to assess and monitor the health of the citizens and make modifications to these guidelines as they deem necessary.

Update 4/22/2020, 11am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NCHD Behind the Scenes with Data Collection

Sterling, Colo. – April 21, 2020: COVID-19 is a concern for all our communities and one of the ways we are battling the spread is with case investigations, data collection and reporting; however, correctly capturing that information has proven to be confusing and time consuming for everyone. We have to keep in mind that this COVID-19 response is unprecedented, something not seen in over a century, not since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Technology and epidemiology have progressed substantially since that time, however due to a number of circumstances, this has proven to involve added complexity in relation to case analysis. We are navigating through uncharted territory, which has been creating quite a few challenges in reporting the best information to the public and media. NCHD wants to explain some of the confusion around the numbers and data.

When viewing the positive or presumptive positive COVID-19 cases for each county on the NCHD website, there are several factors to consider, and the numbers can be somewhat deceiving. The biggest reason for this is that we know from disease specialists and doctors, that there can be anywhere from four to ten times the number of people sick, than have actually been tested.  Currently, Morgan County has a significant number of cases listed compared to other counties in the area. The number of cases doesn’t necessarily reflect that Morgan County’s rate of infection is any higher than neighboring counties, but rather that medical providers there have tested significantly more people than in the surrounding counties, and there are also a couple of localized outbreaks in facilities where the state has provided additional testing resources, leading to an increased case count for Morgan County.  Plus, case counts in Colorado include, not only people who have had a lab test indicating they were positive for COVID-19, but also include epidemiologically-linked cases -- or cases where public health epidemiologists have determined that COVID-19 infection is highly likely because a person exhibited symptoms and had close contact with someone who tested positive. Although the number of epidemiologically-linked cases represents a small portion of the total reported, it does add to the total number being counted. Although new testing alternatives are becoming available, currently there is still a shortage of tests and testing resources are not equal at all facilities across northeast Colorado. Additionally, while there are testing guidelines available, each community and medical provider faces distinct circumstances leading to unique testing requirements based upon availability of supplies.

Another consideration identified is the amount of details provided by NCHD compared to those being released by other counties and the state. We have been asked multiple times to provide additional details about each case including town of residence, gender and age. NCHD is required to abide by HIPAA and protect our clients’ health information and privacy.  In our rural setting, including this type of information could lead to identification of the individual.  In larger communities, these details are not as likely to violate an individual’s right to privacy.

Related to this, while it is obviously critical that we always strive to provide the most accurate information, data collection around COVID-19 related deaths is being handled and reported somewhat differently than would normally occur and we have had to adjust to these changes rapidly as an agency.  After further investigation and data searching, we have received information clarifying that the death we originally announced last week as a Yuma County resident, is actually being counted in Weld County’s statistics.  Like all of you, we mourn every loss and each one weighs heavy on our close-knit communities.  It is important that we attribute each case accordingly, and we have improved processes and partnerships that will help us validate information and ensure we can provide the most accurate picture going forward. 

 A final note to point out when looking at the numbers on NCHD’s website compared to the state health department’s website -- our numbers will be current as of the time posted based on the best information that our case investigations have been able to uncover, where state reporting typically lags a day behind.  

 All of this serves to further illustrate that the public health actions being taken across the state are done with the ultimate goal of preventing additional illnesses and death.  Staying at home except when performing essential functions, practicing good social distancing, wearing a mask while in public, good personal hygiene and proper sanitation really are our best tools in the fight against COVID-19.  The data shows that these things are working and we encourage everyone to keep up their efforts as we all partner with each other in stopping the spread of this virus.

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Abril 21, 2020

INFORMACIÓN INMEDIATA


NCHD Detrás de escena con recopilación de datos

Sterling, Colorado - 21 de abril de 2020: COVID-19 es una preocupación para todas nuestras comunidades y una de las formas en que estamos luchando contra la propagación es con investigaciones de casos, recopilación de datos e informes; sin embargo, capturar correctamente esa información ha resultado ser confuso y lento para todos. Tenemos que tener en cuenta que esta respuesta COVID-19 no tiene precedentes, algo que no se ha visto en más de un siglo, no desde la pandemia de gripe española de 1918. La tecnología y la epidemiología han progresado sustancialmente desde entonces, sin embargo, debido a una serie de circunstancias, esto ha demostrado implicar una mayor complejidad en relación con el análisis de casos. Estamos navegando a través de un territorio desconocido, lo que ha creado bastantes desafíos para informar la mejor información al público y a los medios. NCHD quiere explicar algo de la confusión en torno a los números y los datos.

 Al ver los casos positivos o presuntos positivos de COVID-19 para cada condado en el sitio web de NCHD, hay varios factores a considerar, y los números pueden ser algo engañosos. La razón más importante de esto es que sabemos, por especialistas en enfermedades y médicos, que puede haber entre cuatro y diez veces la cantidad de personas enfermas que las que realmente se han evaluado. Actualmente, el Condado de Morgan tiene un número significativo de casos enumerados en comparación con otros condados en el área. El número de casos no necesariamente refleja que la tasa de infección del condado de Morgan sea más alta que en los condados vecinos, sino que los proveedores de servicios médicos allí han evaluado significativamente más personas que en los condados circundantes, y también hay un par de brotes localizados en las instalaciones. donde el estado ha proporcionado recursos de prueba adicionales, lo que lleva a un aumento en el recuento de casos para el Condado de Morgan. Además, los recuentos de casos en Colorado incluyen, no solo a las personas que se han realizado una prueba de laboratorio que indica que dieron positivo para COVID-19, sino que también incluyen casos vinculados epidemiológicamente, o casos en los que los epidemiólogos de salud pública han determinado que la infección por COVID-19 es altamente probablemente porque una persona exhibió síntomas y tuvo contacto cercano con alguien que dio positivo. Aunque el número de casos vinculados epidemiológicamente representa una pequeña porción del total informado, se suma al número total contado. Aunque hay nuevas alternativas de prueba disponibles, actualmente todavía hay una escasez de pruebas y los recursos de prueba no son iguales en todas las instalaciones en el noreste de Colorado. Además, aunque hay pautas de prueba disponibles, cada comunidad y proveedor médico se enfrentan a circunstancias distintas que conducen a requisitos de prueba únicos basados en la disponibilidad de suministros.

Otra consideración identificada es la cantidad de detalles proporcionados por el NCHD en comparación con los publicados por otros países y el estado. Se nos ha pedido varias veces que brindemos detalles adicionales sobre cada caso, incluida la ciudad de residencia, el sexo y la edad. Se requiere que NCHD cumpla con HIPAA y proteja la información de salud y privacidad de nuestros clientes. En nuestro entorno rural, incluir este tipo de información podría conducir a la identificación del individuo. En comunidades más grandes, es poco probable que estos detalles violen el derecho a la privacidad de un individuo.

En relación con esto, si bien es obviamente crítico que siempre nos esforcemos por proporcionar la información más precisa, la recopilación de datos sobre las muertes relacionadas con COVID-19 se maneja y se informa de manera algo diferente de lo que normalmente ocurriría y hemos tenido que adaptarnos a estos cambios rápidamente como una agencia. Después de una mayor investigación y búsqueda de datos, hemos recibido información que aclara que la muerte que anunciamos originalmente la semana pasada como residente del condado de Yuma, en realidad se está contando en las estadísticas del condado de Weld. Como todos ustedes, lamentamos cada pérdida y cada una pesa mucho en nuestras comunidades unidas. Es importante que atribuyamos cada caso en consecuencia, y hemos mejorado los procesos y las asociaciones que nos ayudarán a validar la información y garantizar que podamos proporcionar la imagen más precisa en el futuro.

 Una nota final para señalar al mirar los números en el sitio web del NCHD en comparación con el sitio web del departamento de salud estatal: nuestros números estarán actualizados a partir del momento publicado en función de la mejor información que nuestras investigaciones de casos hayan podido descubrir, donde el estado Los informes suelen retrasarse un día.

 Todo esto sirve para ilustrar aún más que las acciones de salud pública que se están tomando en todo el estado se realizan con el objetivo final de prevenir enfermedades y muertes adicionales. Quedarse en casa excepto cuando se realizan funciones esenciales, practicar un buen distanciamiento social, usar una máscara mientras está en público, una buena higiene personal y un saneamiento adecuado son realmente nuestras mejores herramientas en la lucha contra COVID-19. Los datos muestran que estas cosas están funcionando y alentamos a todos a mantener sus esfuerzos mientras todos nos asociamos para detener la propagación de este virus.


Update 4/22/2020, 10:45am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The statewide symptom tracker is now live and we want to make sure our communities know about it. CDPHE issued a news release last week as well as some social media posts (image below). 

Usage of the tracker is steadily increasing, and the more people fill out the symptom tracker, the more helpful it will be as a tool to predict outbreaks and ensure local public health officials are able to take timely action.

 


Update 4/20/2020, 12:10pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

myColoradoTM Connects Residents to COVID-19 Resources and State Benefits from Home 

DENVER — The State of Colorado announced additional enhancements to the myColoradoTM mobile app to help Coloradans stay current on COVID-19 information and access food, cash, medical, and early childhood assistance on the Colorado PEAK® website. Other new features include the ability to display vehicle registrations in the app and chat with myColorado support staff. Download myColorado from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

“The pandemic has brought uncertainty and changes to Coloradans and their families,” said OIT Chief Information Officer and Executive Director Theresa Szczurek, Ph.D. “All Coloradans can view COVID-19 information in one place and residents who are facing hardship can use the myColorado mobile app to access benefits on Colorado PEAK.”

A new menu of COVID-19 helpful links to state and national resources is now available on the myColorado home screen, and can be accessed without logging in or creating an account. Among the many COVID-19 resources in the latest release are access to the School Free Lunch Sites Map, United Way 2-1-1, Do You Have Symptoms?, Colorado Mask Project, and Help Colorado Now. Coloradans can also sign up to receive helpful COVID-19 text and email alerts within the myColorado app.  

On October 30, 2019, Governor Polis announced the Colorado Digital IDTM, which is available to all Coloradans with a current driver license or state ID. Now vehicle owners can set up and access vehicle registration receipts in the app Wallet, along with their Digital ID. The state will continue to add services and features to enhance Colorado’s digital government experience and send helpful push notifications with important COVID-19 information. 

Lastly, the new myColorado chat function makes it easy for Coloradans to get real-time support for any app-related questions such as how to set up an account. The myColorado support team is available to chat Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MST. 

Residents are encouraged to download myColorado via the Apple App Store or Google Play and take advantage of the state’s many online services from the comfort of their home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.


Update 4/20/2020, 11:30am:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Northeast Colorado Health Department Reports on
Cargill COVID-19 Response

Sterling, Colo. – April 20, 2020: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the national focus has turned to concern about the strength of the food supply chain. Having multiple critical businesses that are associated with food processing in our six county (Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma) health district, Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) is continuing to work closely with each business to provide technical support and guidance to improve staff protection from infection so that they can safely remain open. 

One such facility that is at the forefront of state and national attention is the Cargill meat processing facility located in Fort Morgan. After an invitation to tour the plant, Public Health Director, Trish McClain addressed in a report to the State Public Health Department, unprecedented processes and procedures that facility management have put in place to keep food products and employees safe.

“More than 2,000 people count on this plant for their paychecks, but no one disputes the fact that their lives are even more important,” expresses Director McClain “I believe Cargill has made employee health a priority, and their practices are an example for other food industry companies to follow.”

The health department report identifies that Cargill is proactively applying Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance for employee face covering, added cleaning measures, personal protective equipment usage and social distancing practices. In many areas, they have gone beyond the general guidance and implemented innovative approaches to employee safety.

“We are making decisions guided by our values,” said Tyler Luft, general manager for Cargill’s Fort Morgan protein facility. “The team is working to keep employees safe, feed the nation and keep the agricultural economy moving.”

This sincerity extends to management’s transparency with NCHD on efforts to actively screen staff, their significant modifications to employee flow and production line conversion, as well as enforcement of isolation and quarantine directives by deactivating staff badges shows how proactive and how far-reaching their efforts are to protect staff.

Cases of COVID-19 have continued to increase in our six county health district, including Fort Morgan, emphasizing the need for social distancing and to stay home unless performing necessary activities. So far, NCHD in cooperation with Cargill has been notified of 23 positive results for employees, leading to 1 death. The company continues to enforce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for any team member who tests positive for COVID-19 as well as any employees who they have come into close contact with. 


“Cargill continues to work in close partnership with the NCHD to ensure we are following the appropriate safety protocols,” said Luft. “We are part of this community and want to work together to keep each other safe, people at work and the country fed.”

# # #

Abril 20, 2020

INFORMACIÓN INMEDIATA

Reporte del Departamento de Salud del Noreste de Colorado en Respuesta de Cargill a COVID-19

Sterling, Colorado - 20 de abril de 2020: a medida que continúa la pandemia de COVID-19, el enfoque nacional se ha centrado en la preocupación por la fortaleza de la cadena de suministro de alimentos. Teniendo múltiples negocios críticos que están asociados con el procesamiento de alimentos en nuestro distrito de salud de seis condados (Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington y Yuma), el Departamento de Salud del Noreste de Colorado (NCHD) continúa trabajando en estrecha colaboración con cada negocio para proporcionar apoyo técnico y orientación para mejorar la protección del personal contra las infecciones para que puedan permanecer abiertos de manera segura.


Una de esas instalaciones que está a la vanguardia de la atención estatal y nacional es la instalación de procesamiento de carne Cargill ubicada en Fort Morgan. Después de una invitación para recorrer la planta, la Directora de Salud Pública, Trish McClain, dirigió en un informe al Departamento de Salud Pública del Estado, los procesos y procedimientos sin precedentes que la administración de las instalaciones ha implementado para mantener seguros los productos alimenticios y los empleados.


"Más de 2,000 personas cuentan con esta planta para sus cheques de pago, pero nadie discute el hecho de que sus vidas son aún más importantes", expresa el Directora McClain. "Creo que Cargill ha hecho de la salud de los empleados una prioridad, y sus prácticas son un ejemplo para otras empresas de la industria alimentaria "

El informe del departamento de salud identifica que Cargill está aplicando de manera proactiva la orientación de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades para cubrirse la cara a los empleados, medidas de limpieza adicionales, uso de equipos de protección personal y prácticas de distanciamiento social. En muchas áreas, han ido más allá de la orientación general e implementado enfoques innovadores para la seguridad de los empleados.


"Estamos tomando decisiones guiadas por nuestros valores", dijo Tyler Luft, gerente general de la instalación de proteínas Fort Morgan de Cargill. "El equipo está trabajando para mantener a los empleados seguros, alimentar a la nación y mantener la economía agrícola en movimiento".


Esta sinceridad se extiende a la transparencia de la gerencia con NCHD en los esfuerzos para evaluar activamente al personal, sus modificaciones significativas al flujo de empleados y la conversión de la línea de producción, así como la aplicación de las directivas de aislamiento y cuarentena al desactivar las insignias del personal muestra cuán proactivos y cuán trascendentales son sus esfuerzos para proteger al personal.

Los casos de COVID-19 han seguido aumentando en nuestro distrito de salud de seis condados, incluido Fort Morgan, enfatizando la necesidad de distanciamiento social y quedarse en casa a menos que se realicen las actividades necesarias. Hasta ahora, NCHD en cooperación con Cargill ha sido notificado de 23 resultados positivos para los empleados, lo que lleva a 1 muerte. La compañía continúa aplicando una cuarentena obligatoria de 14 días para cualquier miembro del equipo que resulte positivo para COVID-19, así como para cualquier empleado con el que hayan estado en contacto cercano.

"Cargill continúa trabajando en estrecha colaboración con el NCHD para garantizar que sigamos los protocolos de seguridad apropiados". dijo Luft. "Somos parte de esta comunidad y queremos trabajar juntos para mantenernos seguros, la gente en el trabajo y el país alimentados".


Update 4/14/2020, 2:30pm:

NEWS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Shelly Griffith, CEO PHONE: 970-842-2861, extension 9212 

Cases of COVID-19, the illness resulting from the novel coronavirus, have been diagnosed at our Eben Ezer community. The affected neighbors are in quarantine in our cluster neighborhood. In order to protect the privacy of our neighbors, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public. We have notified public health officials as required and are following procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. We are taking every step as recommended by authorities to contain the spread. We want to make neighbors, their families, and our dedicated staff aware of this situation and reassure everyone that we are on top of it. Developments are changing day by day, minute by minute. Our focus remains on the health and well-being of our community. We must also recognize our team for the concern and commitment they have shown to our neighbors during this challenging time. Our mission has never been more meaningful. 

Eben Ezer, the Colorado Department of Public Health &Environment (CDPHE), Northeast Colorado Health Department and partnering agencies are working diligently to ensure ill patients are receiving appropriate care and measures are being taken to limit further spread of disease. Proactive efforts are focused on identifying, isolating and testing all of those who may be at risk. 

“Eben Ezer has notified our neighbors, families and team members of the current situation. We began restricting visitors to the campus on March 11th with full restriction put into effect March 13th to protect the health of the residents and health care workers at our community. We have tested 7 of our neighbors for COVID-19 of which 6 came back positive. Prior to this incident and ongoing, we have been following all CMS, CDC and state and local health department guidelines concerning COVID-19. Our team members have been and will continue to be screened when they arrive to work, including checking temperature, to ensure no additional sickness is brought into our buildings. If they have a fever over 100.4 they are sent home and asked to contact their primary care physician. Our team members are being diligent on practicing proper hand washing and the use of personal protective equipment. All staff have received recurring education on these practices,” says Shelly Griffith, Eben Ezer CEO. 

Eben Ezer is not the first long term care community in the state to have a confirmed case. We need your help in battling this virus, we ask our larger community to continue to adhere to the Stay at Home order. Thank you all for your support and assistance as we work to combat the spread of this virus. 

Eben Ezer will continue to monitor and adhere to the recommendations set forth by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We are proud of our positive reputation in the community we serve and provide our senior adults the quality care and services they deserve and expect from us. We will continue to provide updates regularly to our Eben Ezer community. For more information, please contact Shelly Griffith at 970-842-2861, ext 9212.


Update 4/7/2020, 11pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gov. Polis Extends Stay-home order to at least April 26th. Follow the link below to learn more.

https://covid19.colorado.gov/stay-home-except-essential-needs

Update 4/6/2020, 4:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 

                                      Gov. Polis Provides Update on State Response to COVID-19

DENVER - Gov. Jared Polis provided an update on Colorado’s response to COVID-19 and discussed the predictive modeling that is guiding the public health decisions the state is making as well as the updated public health order that corresponds with the stay-at-home executive order. 

“I continue urging my fellow Coloradans to stay home whenever possible. This global pandemic is not a competition about what you think you can get away with. The data we put forth today shows that staying home is crucial to saving lives. These are not statistics on a page, these are your neighbors, your friends, and even your family members,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “Our community and our economy will come out of this stronger than before but that means everyone must do their part.”

The Governor thanked Dr. Jon Samet, Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health and his team who have been working hard to put together the modeling data in partnership with the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

The Governor provided a slide by slide presentation for members of the media and the general public today. View the slides the Governor presented today here. 

Gov. Polis and the Department of Health and Environment also updated the public health order corresponding with the stay-at-home executive order. The changes include:

  • Critical businesses must comply with a stay at home and social distancing requirements and should minimize staff to those who are critical to the functioning of the business.
  • Necessary travel now includes transporting children between separate households pursuant to a parenting plan or other agreement governing parental responsibilities and non-residents returning to their place of residence
  • Essential government services now include airports, activities related to the conduct of elections, and local governments
  • Minimum basic operations now include filling online product orders and to process customer orders remotely.

Read the updated public health order here

Today, the Governor also signed executive orders today allowing Coloradans to get their marriage licenses without going in person and allowing the state to access additional funds from the Disaster Emergency Fund. Click to view D 2020 018 and D 2020-014

During the press conference, Gov. Polis continued to urge Coloradans to stay home and practice social distancing. He also urged employers to follow social distancing requirements and implement telework options or staggered work schedules to protect the health of their employees. 

Watch today’s press conference here


Update 4/3/2020, 3:15pm: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

NCHD Response to COVID-19

Sterling, Colo. – April 1, 2020:  The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) began monitoring the novel coronavirus in early January, 2020.  As more information became available, our emergency preparedness and communicable disease staff implemented our preparedness plan to ensure all systems were in place to respond to the pandemic.  In February and early March, our response preparedness activities included sharing health alerts with our local healthcare partners, updating contact lists, monitoring and sharing guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).     

     Our situational awareness increased the week of March 9-13 when we began to receive an increased number of calls from the public requesting information and when local healthcare facilities began testing for COVID-19.   On Friday, March 13, NCHD activated our Incident Management Team (IMT) with Mike Burnett, NCHD Response Coordination Officer, designated as the Incident Commander taking the lead on NCHD’s COVID-19 response.  In addition to Command, the IMT is comprised of Operations, Logistics, Planning and Public Information.  The Operations section is the largest, consisting of three groups. One group coordinates phone triage and staffing and modification of regular NCHD programs. The second group is comprised of nurses that conduct contact investigations and follow up.  Finally, the third group of environmental health professionals conduct business community outreach.  The Planning section monitors phone calls, media, situational awareness as well as daily planning.  The Logistics section manages and disseminates Strategic National Stockpile supplies and other resources to authorized organizations as needed.  The Public Information team disseminates incident response communications to partners, the community and the media. 

      Monday, March 16, 2020 NCHD’s District Operations Center (DOC) was activated at our regional headquarters in Sterling with all positions for the IMT fully staffed to support preparedness and response efforts around COVID-19 in northeast Colorado.  The DOC was fully staffed for the first three days before transitioning to a split in-person/remote support model.  A few key members continue to staff the DOC with a majority of additional staff supporting the DOC remotely.  This response has created unique challenges to coordination among groups, but staff have adjusted well. 

     “NCHD has been preparing for an event such as this for more than 15 years,” said Mike Burnett, NCHD Response Coordination Officer.  “NCHD has exercised this facility multiple times over the years bringing in partners from across the region to participate in coordination efforts.  Our COVID-19 response has provided the opportunity to practice some of the rarely used procedures and test their effectiveness.”

     In the past 12 days, 33 NCHD staff members have logged over 3,200 personnel hours supporting activities in our DOC as we manage our public health response, investigation and logistics support for COVID-19. Remaining staff members have kept our offices open and continued to provide core public health services to the public, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Reproductive Health, Immunizations and Environmental Health services.  Strategy within operations has shifted on a daily basis to accommodate strong social distancing, infection control procedures, and public health orders from both CDPHE and Governor Polis. NCHD’s staff, in coordination with numerous healthcare and emergency response partners in our six counties (Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma), have risen to each challenge with flexibility, ingenuity and creativity to find effective solutions to the ever-changing circumstances.

     “NCHD is honored to be associated with all of these healthcare and emergency response agencies, facilities and individuals,” said Trish McClain, Public Health Director.  “We are extremely aware of how the various public heath orders have disrupted and stressed daily lives.  The goal of all of the orders has been to prevent the spread of this virus, to keep everyone healthy and safe.” 

    Northeast Colorado Health Department will continue to work tirelessly to serve and protect the people of northeast Colorado during this current pandemic and we thank everyone for their support and compliance as we work together to contain and mitigate the effects of COVID-19.


Update 3/31/2020, 12:30pm: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NCHD Response to Public Health Orders 

Sterling, Colo. – March 31, 2020: On March 25, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) amended the Public Health Order closing all Colorado bars, restaurants, theaters, gymnasiums, casinos, noncritical personal services facilities, and horse track and off-track betting facilities to include all businesses except critical businesses outlined by the order. The order also forbids gatherings of people and mandated those that are sick or have been exposed to the virus to self-isolate or quarantine to protect the public health.

     A critical business is any business engaged in healthcare, infrastructure, critical retail which includes grocery and hardware, manufacturing, critical services, news media, financial institutions, basic necessities to economically disadvantaged populations, construction, and defense. All must comply with clean and safe work environment guidance and social distancing requirements.  For more information on all of Colorado’s public health orders please go to https://covid19.colorado.gov/public-health-executive-orders-explained

     People must follow the stay in place order unless performing necessary activities or working for critical businesses or maintaining critical governmental functions.

     This means Coloradans should not be leaving their homes except for critical activities including: 

  •                Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine
  •                Going to and from work if you are a critical employee
  •                Seeking medical care
  •                Caring for dependents or pets
  •                Caring for a vulnerable person in another location
  •                Cannabis and liquor stores will remain open 
  •                Or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties

     NCHD has received calls and messages asking what to do if a business or individual is identified as not complying with this public health order.  As a valued member of our community, you are on the front lines for encouraging others to follow the orders. If a business is not abiding by the orders or if an individual is violating the Stay At Home Order you can do one of the following:

  • If you feel comfortable, reach out to the business on social media or local media outlets and educate them on the Public Health Orders and ask them to follow voluntary compliance. 
  • If they fail to respond, you may fill out the complaint form linked to NCHD’s website:  https://www.nchd.org/co

     You will be notified that we have received your request and are working on the issue.  Depending on the information taken, we may or may not contact you for further information. 

    Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as we learn more about this virus.  Reliable, up-to-date information is available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/ or by calling CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin, and more.


Update 3/31/2020, 12:15pm:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Northeast Colorado Health Department Investigating a Positive COVID-19 Test Result in Phillips County

Sterling, Colo – March 30, 2020:  Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of the first positive COVID-19 test result in a Phillips County resident.  Melissa Memorial Hospital collected the sample and sent it for testing.       

     “This individual is currently not hospitalized, but is in appropriate isolation,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD.  “It is important that everyone follows the new public health order to stay home. It is up to each of us to protect our community members who are at high risk and not give this virus a chance to spread.” 

     This case investigation is in process and we will be contacting anyone that has had direct contact with the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. In order to protect the privacy of the individual, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public.

     We have a dedicated team doing everything possible to protect the health of our communities in Phillips County.  We understand that there may be some fear and confusion around COVID-19. However, we want to remind our communities that NCHD, Melissa Memorial Hospital, Haxtun Hospital District, Phillips County Office of Emergency Management and other partnering agencies have been preparing for such an incident as this.  Phillips County has a pandemic response plan already in motion with tools and protocols in place to monitor patients, visitors, travelers and other individuals who may have been exposed.  We have the infection control expertise needed and have identified resources ready to respond as the situation develops.

     As the number of positive cases increases in northeast Colorado, contact investigations NCHD is performing may begin to reveal common community exposures.  It is important that if you have been advised by your doctor to self-isolate or self-quarantine that you follow their directions.  Everyone can help slow the spread of COVID-19 by abiding by the stay-at-home public health order issued last week. 

    Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as we learn more about this virus.  Reliable, up-to-date information is available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/ or by calling CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin, and more. 


Update 3/30/2020, 12:30pm:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gov. Polis Secures Major Disaster Status for Colorado

DENVER - On Wednesday, March 25, Governor Polis submitted an urgent request to the federal government to help Colorado deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, Governor Polis announced that President Trump and the federal government had approved the Governor’s request in declaring a Major Disaster for the State of Colorado. 

“Colorado is now eligible to receive additional federal resources to help address the global epidemic impacting our state, the nation, and the world. 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,” said Governor Polis. “Now more than ever, it’s important that Coloradans stay home whenever possible. I thank the members of Colorado’s federal delegation who advocated for this funding to recognize the seriousness of this public health crisis unfolding hour by hour in our state. We are forging new and innovating partnerships daily with the federal government and the private sector to minimize the health threat and the economic threat of the virus.” 

Colorado is one of the states with the highest presence of COVID-19 on a per-capita basis, with a unique situation unfolding in our mountain communities. Colorado continues facing a shortage of resources in addressing this pandemic. 

Read Governor’s Polis request which was supported by the majority of Colorado’s federal delegation here.  The Governor has engaged with Colorado’s congressional delegation daily on multiple calls and efforts to prioritize areas of federal relief. Members of Colorado’s federal delegation sent a letter to the President on Thursday urging him to approve Governor Polis’ request. Read their letter here. 

California, Washington and New York have received these declarations. 



Update 3/30/2020, 12:15pm:

Restaurant workers can now deliver food with less red tape and insurance delays
Actions aimed at growing safe opportunities for restaurant workers, protecting employers’ health insurance and property and casualty insurance

DENVER - The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI), part of the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), is taking action to protect Colorado insurance consumers and reduce insurance delays for restaurants and workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency.  

Earlier this month, in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued a number of Public Health Orders that have limited normal business and employment for many in the state. These directives from the DOI will allow people to keep their insurance and should also help Colorado’s restaurants and their employees.

“The more we can free up the market and allow people to safely earn a living during this critical time, the better,” said Gov. Jared Polis. “I’m hopeful that some of those who lost their jobs when restaurants closed can now earn additional money working delivery while as a state we get past these difficult restrictions as soon as is scientifically possible.”

“Expanding safe opportunities for work is critical,” said Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway. “As people lose hours, get laid off or lose their jobs, holding onto their employer-sponsored health insurance and paying their auto or homeowners insurance premiums becomes more difficult. In addition to reducing red tape around insuring drivers, we are also calling on insurance companies to show flexibility and work with Coloradans to help them keep their insurance during the COVID-19 crisis.”  

Removing Restrictions on Auto Insurance for Drivers for Restaurant Delivery

Public Health Order 20-22 has closed all restaurants and other places offering food or beverages to be consumed on-site. And even with the Governor’s stay-at-home order from March 25, delivery and takeout from restaurants is not impacted. With these orders, it is expected that many restaurants will now look to employees who do not typically deliver food to do just that, but using their own cars. In an effort to protect these workers and their vehicles, the DOI’s emergency regulation 20-E-03 removes restrictions on two different types of auto insurance for the duration of Public Health Order 20-22. 

  • For restaurants that already have commercial automobile policies for drivers, the regulation allows those policies to cover new, unnamed drivers that will be put into delivery service during the COVID-19 emergency. 

  • If a restaurant does not have a commercial policy, the regulation allows employees to use their own personal auto insurance for their vehicle. The regulation removes the restriction for the restaurant employee’s personal insurance that would usually prevent commercial activity like food delivery. 

  • However, the regulation does not apply to workers who regularly deliver food or who work for other services not impacted by the restaurant closure that was part of Public Health Order 20-22.

Restaurant owners are encouraged to contact their insurance agents, brokers or companies to discuss additional coverage riders and other options that could offer more protection for their workers and their businesses. Such options could prove useful even after the COVID-19 emergency. 

Flexibility and Accommodations on Premiums and Continuing Insurance Coverage

The Division has also issued two bulletins directing insurance companies working in Colorado to provide flexibility and reasonable accommodations to policyholders in paying their premiums and continuing coverage. 

Employer-Provided Health Insurance

Bulletin B-4.105 directs health insurance companies that provide policies to small and large employers to be flexible in working with those employers regarding premium payments. It also directs insurers to work with the employers around any provisions in those policies that could hurt the eligibility of employees for the health insurance or their ability to continue that coverage if laid off, furloughed or have their hours cut as a result of work restrictions related to COVID-19. 

Health insurance companies are directed to give employers options such as extending grace periods, deferring premium payments, accepting partial payments or placing a moratorium on cancelling coverage due to non-payment. Such options will allow coverage to continue for the employees and their families and allow employers to focus on their businesses. 

In addition, the insurance companies are directed to make accommodations for employers regarding provisions and restrictions that could impact employees’ health insurance coverage or the ability to continue coverage. These would be provisions such as: requirements regarding the number of employees participating in an employer’s plan, eligibility requirements tied to the number of hours worked (including part-time or seasonal restrictions), requirements regarding employer contributions to premiums, and restrictions on employees that may have initially declined an employer’s health insurance.

On top of this, the Insurance Commissioner strongly encourages the insurance companies to waive requirements that employees would have to be enrolled in an employer’s health plan for a required length of time before becoming eligible for continuation, or that continuation would only apply to certain classes of employees, such as full-time employees. 

Insurance companies are to make these accommodations available to employers for as long the Public Health Orders are in effect. 

Bulletin B-4.105 only pertains to health insurance companies’ employer policies that fall under the regulation of the Colorado Division of Insurance. Employers with self-funded health plans are not regulated by the Division, as such plans are regulated at the Federal level. However, self-funded employers are required to comply with federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Action (COBRA) requirements around continued group health coverage. The Division strongly encourages employers that have self-funded health plans to request that the third-party administrators of their health plans comply with state and federal guidance, including the Division’s directives.

Property and Casualty Insurance

Bulletin B-5.38 directs property and casualty insurance companies (such as auto or homeowners insurance) to make reasonable accommodations to prevent individuals and businesses from losing their insurance coverage because of non-payment of their premiums.

Reasonable accommodations may include such things as: suspension of premiums, extension of billing due dates, extension of premium grace periods for the duration of the emergency, and waiver of installment and late payment fees. In addition, the Division directs property and casualty insurers to stop any non-renewals (when an insurance company chooses to not renew a policy at the end of a period). Such accommodations are to remain available to Colorado policyholders as long the Public Health Orders are in effect. 

“In times like these, we all have to step up and come together as a community and a country,” said Commissioner Conway. “We are certainly asking our insurance companies to do that and I’m confident they will answer our call.”

Consumers with questions about these directives and how they impact their policies can contact the Division of Insurance - 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us


Update 3/30/2020, 12:15pm: 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Requirements of Quarantine and Isolation

 

Sterling, Colo. – March 30, 2020: Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) wants to remind everyone that isolation and quarantine are serious steps taken to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick.   Generally, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for quarantine and isolation.

     “As the number of positive cases increases in northeast Colorado, contact investigations we are performing may begin to reveal common community exposures”, said Trish McClain, Public Health Director.  “It is important that if you have been advised by your doctor to self-isolate or self-quarantine that you follow their directions.  This means you need to stay at home for the duration of time your physician told you, probably 14 days.”  

     Isolation or self-isolation applies to people who are either getting ill and think they may have COVID-19, have been tested and are awaiting test results, or have a positive COVID-19 test result.  Quarantine or self-quarantine applies to people who have had close contact to an individual who has symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result.  Isolation and quarantine require that you remain at home at all times for the entire duration, usually 14 days. If you need critical services such as groceries, please ask someone to go for you, deliver to your doorstep, and then leave.  Once they have left, you can go out and retrieve your things. 

     In the state of Colorado it is a legal order when you have been placed in quarantine or isolation by a public health agency, whether verbally or in writing.  Physicians and local public health agencies only give this directive and put a person in quarantine or isolation when it is necessary for the protection of the public. 

     NCHD emphasizes the importance for individuals, who have been advised by their physician to self-isolate or self-quarantine, to voluntarily cooperate with isolation and quarantine instructions.  NCHD may issue isolation or quarantine orders in some high-risk situations or if non-compliance is anticipated.  If people do not follow the order, public health agencies can involve law enforcement.  If enforcement were to become necessary, violation of that order is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1000 fine. 

     Most people are taking the instructions given by their physicians as well as the state public health orders seriously and we thank you.  For those few individuals who are downplaying the seriousness of the situation, we ask you to reconsider your choices and please make the health of the community your priority.  Healthcare providers and public health professionals are dedicated to keeping people healthy and saving lives.  We can’t do it alone.  We are asking everyone to please do your part in helping stop the spread of COVID-19!


Update 3/24/2020, 3:30pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Gov. Polis Sends Letter Encouraging 
New Safety Protocols for Grocery Stores

DENVER - Today Gov. Polis sent a letter to the Presidents of Albertsons Companies, which owns Safeway, and The Kroger Co., which owns King Soopers and City Market, encouraging new safety protocols for customers and employees. In the letter, the Governor also applauds efforts currently underway. 

“I want to thank you, as a business leader in Colorado, for your efforts to date working in partnership with our state, your employees, and your customers to better protect our public health and food security during this extraordinarily challenging period,” the letter reads. 

The letter includes proposals for providing the greatest possible protections for workers and customers while minimizing economic disruption. 

Proposals include:

  • Providing appropriate gloves, masks, face screens, and other personal protective equipment to grocery store workers to the extent possible

  • Consider expanding into grocery delivery services, prioritizing service to those at the highest risk

  • Provide daily designated time periods for higher-risk individuals to shop

  • Establish entrance/access controls to ensure crowds are in compliance with safe social distancing practices 

  • To the extent possible, assign those employees with higher health-risks to tasks with lowest exposure risks such as backroom work

To read the letter and see the full list of recommendations, click here.

Update 3/24/2020, 3:30pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Mental Wellness While Practicing Social Distancing

 

Sterling, Colo. – March 24, 2020: During the past few weeks the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has repeated the messages about how everyone can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus including abiding by the public health order to practice social distancing, washing your hands and staying home if you are sick in order to keep our community healthy. However, it’s not just your physical health that you need to be mindful of, but also your mental wellness as well. There are steps we can all take to promote our mental wellness during a stressful time such as this. 

There is a lot of anxiety associated with COVID-19 whether it’s an overall fear of becoming sick, to job security or even concern for loved ones. We are all feeling the effects of this situation and this stress can cause our immune systems to weaken.  Humans are hard-wired to need connection: seeing friends, getting together in groups or touching each other. Prolonged periods of social isolation can actually increase the risk for a variety of health problems, including heart disease and depression.  Social contact can protect against the negative effects of stress. 

While we practice social distancing to prevent the spread of an infectious disease, it may require some innovative approaches to ensure we remain connected to our friends, family and community.  While live human connection is best, there are several options available to help people stay in touch during a time of quarantine/isolation including telephoning, texting, emailing and using free computer and phone apps such as Skype, Google hangouts and Facebook Messenger to video chat.

In addition to feeling disconnected, this situation is also an interruption to our daily routines.  During this time of practicing social distancing, be sure to create and follow a new daily routine for both adults and children in order to preserve a sense of order and control.  Take steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle including getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. 

While is it important to obtain accurate and timely public health information regarding COVID-19, everyone needs to limit their consumption of media coverage.  Psychologists recommend balancing time spent on news and social media with other activities unrelated to quarantine or isolation. Integrate some time for your favorite hobbies such as listening to music, painting, reading, woodwork, handwork, or even keep a gratitude journal.  These healthy pastimes can provide a beneficial buffer to the stress of the current situation. Be generous and find ways you can help someone less mobile or with less access to resources. For example, if you are going to the store maybe ask if you can pick something up for them. 

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, loneliness, substance abuse or other mental health issues, you may be particularly vulnerable.  Contact your psychologist or counselor to see if they can continue normal sessions utilizing telehealth options via phone-based or online delivery.  If you need assistance, here are several counseling and mental health resources across northeast Colorado that you can access. For a list of local providers that are here to help go to: https://www.nchd.org/behavioralhealth.



Update 3/24/2020, 3:15pm:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Disaster Field Operations Center West

 

Release Date:  March 19, 2020

Contact:  Richard A. Jenkins, (916) 735-1500, Richard.Jenkins@sba.gov

Release Number:  CO 16367-01

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SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Colorado Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – TheU.S. Small Business Administration is offeringlow-interestfederal disaster loans for working capital to Colorado small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today. SBA acted under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, to declare a disaster following a request received from Gov. Jared Polis on March 17, 2020.

 

The disaster declaration makes SBA assistance available to all counties within the state of Colorado and the neighboring counties below.

 

Neighboring Arizona county:  Apache;

Neighboring Kansas counties:  Cheyenne, Greeley, Hamilton, Morton, Sherman, Stanton and Wallace;

Neighboring Nebraska counties:  Chase, Cheyenne, Deuel, Dundy, Kimball and Perkins;

Neighboring New Mexico counties:  Colfax, Rio Arriba, San Juan, Taos and Union;

Neighboring Oklahoma county:  Cimarron;

Neighboring Utah counties:  Daggett, Grand, San Juan and Uintah;

Neighboring Wyoming counties:  Albany, Carbon, Laramie and Sweetwater.

 

“SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist Colorado small businesses with federal disaster loans. We will be swift in our efforts to help these small businesses recover from the financial impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19),” said Administrator Carranza.

 

SBA Customer Service Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process.

 

“Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises that have been financially impacted as a direct result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) since Jan. 31, 2020, may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred,” said Carranza.

 

“These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Disaster loans can provide vital economic assistance to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing,” Carranza added.

 

Eligibility for Economic Injury Disaster Loans is based on the financial impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The interest rate is 3.75 percent for small businesses. The interest rate for private non-profit organizations is 2.75 percent. SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years and are available to entities without the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

 

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard�€‘of�€‘hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

 

The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.

 

For more information about Coronavirus, please visit: Coronavirus.gov.

 

For more information about available SBA resources and services, please visit: SBA.gov/coronavirus.


Update 3/23/2020, 1:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State health department provides guidance to those with COVID-19 symptoms

including when to call health care providers and 911

DENVER, March 21, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) asks the public to preserve critical health care resources, especially emergency medical services and personal protective equipment (PPE).

With the increased concern over COVID-19, people are calling 911 for reasons other than a medical emergency, including asking for general information about COVID-19. People should call 911 ONLY with a medical emergency. 

Do not call 911 if you are seeking general medical advice or wish to be tested for COVID-19. If you have COVID-19 symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath), consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care. Ask your primary care provider if they offer telehealth visits, or call one of Colorado’s nurselines. You can find a list of nurselines on the state health department’s website: covid19.colorado.gov/telehealth-nurselines-directory. People can visit covid19.colorado.gov or call 303-389-1687 for general questions about COVID. 

CDPHE is providing the following guidance to people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19:

For people with mild symptoms: Early on, symptoms may feel like a common cold, including a combination of cough, body aches, fatigue, and chest tightness.

  • People who are not at high risk of severe illness may not need to be evaluated in-person or tested for COVID-19. Not everyone with symptoms or who may have been exposed to COVID-19 will be tested right away. 

  • If you have mild symptoms including a fever, cough, shortness of breath, or suspect that you were exposed but are not able to be immediately tested, please stay home and avoid contact with others. Isolate yourself until:

    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that’s 3 days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) AND

    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved) AND

    • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.

  • Use over-the-counter medication to treat mild symptoms. There is currently no specific treatment for COVID-19.

  • The 911 system is not intended for minor injuries or general medical questions. Do not call 911 if you are seeking general medical advice or wish to be tested for COVID-19. 

For people with more serious symptoms, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath:

  • Continue to self-isolate.

  • Call your health care provider if your illness becomes more severe, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. Your provider may recommend you be tested for COVID-19.

  • Consider a telehealth visit or nurseline advice before seeking in-person care. Ask your primary care provider if they offer telehealth visits, or call one of Colorado’s nurselines. You can find a list at covid19.colorado.gov/telehealth-and-nurselines.

For people with severe symptoms: (severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing)

  • Call 911 and tell the dispatcher your symptoms. 

  • Do not wait for a COVID-19 test to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

  • Call 911 for:

    • Symptoms of heart attack or stroke

    • Difficulty breathing

    • Choking

    • Difficulty speaking, walking, or seeing

    • Severe allergic reactions

    • Confusion, dizziness, or disorientation

    • Sudden, severe pain

  • For those whose symptoms are severe enough to require hospitalization, a positive or negative test result is important to determine which unit of the hospital should oversee the patient’s care. The state lab is prioritizing test results for high-risk individuals. Some Colorado hospitals have the capability or are building the capability to test for COVID-19 in-house. This will allow hospitals to test patients and have results without having to send the samples to the state lab or a private lab. 

  • While waiting for test results on patients who are exhibiting extreme respiratory symptoms that could be attributed to COVID-19, hospitals will follow CDC guidance to keep those patients isolated from the general population. 

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

Update 3/23/2020, 1:15pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

State health department amends ‘social distancing’ public health order

State provides further guidance on public health orders 

DENVER, March 21, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) amended its statewide public health order on social distancing. The public health order limits gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

The purpose of the order is to limit the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that  spreads through person-to-person contact, or (less likely) by contact with surfaces contaminated with the virus. People  infected with COVID-19 may become symptomatic anywhere from 2 to 14 days after exposure. Limiting the number of people gathered in one area limits the spread of disease, reduces the number of people who become severely ill and protects our health care system.

The order applies to all public and private gatherings except for those specifically exempted by the order.

The order was amended to further clarify exemptions. Now the exemptions include:

  • The Colorado General Assembly, legislative bodies of municipal governments, and Colorado state and municipal courts.

  • Airports, bus, and train stations, health care facilities, and grocery or retail stores, pharmacies, or other spaces where 10 or more people may be moving around to get essential goods and services.

  • Delivery and take-out food services in accordance with Public Health Order 20-22.

  • Offices and state, county, and municipal government buildings where essential government services are offered.

  • Factories where more than 10 people are present, but social distancing measures of maintaining at least 6 feet between individuals is standard.

  • Newspaper, television, radio, and other media services.

  • Child care facilities, except for public preschools operated on public school campuses, which are addressed in Executive Order D 2020 007.

  • Homeless shelters.

  • Any emergency facility needed to respond to COVID-19 in Colorado.

The public can obtain additional information about the executive orders and public health orders on the state response website

As advised by the Colorado Attorney General, residents who suspect that someone is violating the order should first contact their local public health agency to report any concerns. Residents may also file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at covid19@coag.gov if local law enforcement or a local public health agency is unresponsive. For more information about how public health orders are enforced click here.

Update 3/23/2020, 12pm:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Northeast Colorado Health Department Investigating

Positive COVID-19 Test Results in Logan County

 

Sterling, Colo – March 22, 2020:  Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of the first two positive COVID-19 test results in Logan County. 

     These people are in appropriate isolation.  Case investigations are in process and we will be contacting anyone who has had direct contact with the individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. In order to protect the privacy of the individuals, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public.

    “We understand that people may be anxious and frustrated by limits on gatherings but we are encouraging people to continue refraining from gathering in large groups—it is up to each of us to protect our most vulnerable populations by not giving this virus a chance to spread,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD.  “The quicker we can flatten the epidemiological curve, the sooner we will be able to return to normal life.”   

     This now brings our total to six positive COVID-19 test results in northeast Colorado (Yuma County (1), Morgan County (3), Logan County (2) ) and we know there are several test results pending from around the area so these numbers will likely continue to increase.  If you believe you have been exposed, self-quarantine for 14 days. If you develop any of the cold or flu-like symptoms, self-isolate and contact your primary care provider.  Call ahead so they can make appropriate accommodations.  We also understand that there may be some fear and confusion around COVID-19 because it is a new virus. However, we want to remind our communities that NCHD and partnering agencies have been preparing for such an incident as this. 

    You can help slow the spread of COVID-19, influenza and other viruses by:

  • Staying home if you’re sick; keeping your children home if they are sick.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoiding close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms.
  • Practicing good hygiene.   Thoroughly and frequently wash your hands with soap and water; in the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Increasing distance between people to six feet.
  •  Avoiding unnecessary travel.
  • Observing the state public health order to limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

     Information about COVID-19 is constantly changing, and the public health response adjusts as we learn more about this virus.  Reliable, up-to-date information is available at https://covid19.colorado.gov/ or by calling CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email them at COHELP@RMPDC.org, for answers in English, Spanish (Español), Mandarin, and more.


Update 3/23/2020, 12pm:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


Gov. Polis: Colorado is Leading by Example and Taking Action to Address COVID-19


***INFORMACIÓN SEGUIDA EN ESPAÑOL***


CENTENNIAL - Gov. Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19. Today he signed an executive order directing all of Colorado’s non-critical employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50 percent. In accordance with the executive order, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is also issuing a public health order. 


“As long as I am in a position to lead Colorado’s response, I will continue to take bold steps and do everything in my power to protect our medical workers, limit the severity and duration of this crisis, and save the lives of Coloradans,” said Governor Jared Polis. “In the short term, Coloradans must heed this order and take this gravely and seriously. But my team is moving as fast as they can to build a new Colorado paradigm to ensure that we can look more like South Korea’s successful containment strategy, and less like the public health disaster that is crippling Italy right now. The virus is here in our communities and we need to respond. And in a vacuum of federal leadership, others need to step up and here in Colorado we are doing and will do just that.”

 

The executive order directs all employers to implement tele-work options to the greatest extent possible. If tele-work is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of employees during work hours and to keep employees on payroll. This Executive Order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours.


The state as an employer will be meeting this requirement and less than half of non-24 hour facility jobs will be working from the office.


The order takes effect on Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and is set to last through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, April 10, 2020.


The critical workplaces that are exempt include:

  • Health care operations.
  • Critical Infrastructure, including utilities, fuel supply and transmission, public water, telecommunications, transportation, hotels, organizations that provide for disadvantaged people, and food supply chain.
  • Critical Manufacturing, including food, beverages, chemicals, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, sanitary products, agriculture.
  • Critical Retail, including grocery stores, liquor stores, farms, gas stations, restaurants and bars for takeout, marijuana dispensaries but only for medical or curbside delivery, hardware stores.
  • Critical Services, including trash and recycling, mail, shipping, laundromats, child care, building cleaning and maintenance, auto supply and repair, warehouses/distribution, funeral homes, crematoriums, cemeteries, animal shelters and rescues. 
  • News Media.
  • Financial Institutions.
  • Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations.
  • Construction.
  • Defense.
  • Public Safety Services like law enforcement, fire prevention and response, EMTs, security, disinfection, cleaning, building code enforcement, snow removal, auto repair.
  • Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products including logistics, child care, tech support, or contractors with critical government services.
  • “Critical Government Functions.” 

On March 5, CDPHE’s public health laboratory confirmed the first presumptive positive COVID-19 test result in Colorado. Since then, the number of confirmed cases has continued to climb. Colorado needs to take these precautions for the preservation of public health and safety throughout our entire State and to ensure our healthcare delivery system can serve those who are sick.  


Gov. Polis also launched the state’s Innovation Response Team (IRT) to bring together public and private sector resources and innovations to the state’s emergency response to the COVID-19 virus. The Innovation Response team’s initial focus is ramping up a mass testing program for the COVID-19 virus, creating a suite of services for citizens under isolation or quarantine, developing mobile and other technologies to help track the spread of the virus and support infected citizens, and developing locally-sourced alternatives for constrained critical medical supplies.  


Matt Blumberg, a technology entrepreneur who founded and led Broomfield-based email technology company Return Path for the past 20 years, will serve as Interim Director. The Governor has also appointed Boulder-based Venture Capitalist Brad Feld as the Chairman of the IRT’s Private Sector Task Force. The IRT will be within the State’s Emergency Operations Center command structure and reports to Stan Hilkey, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety.


The Governor also thanked everyone who is stepping up in the, #DoingMyPartCO social media challenge, who has donated and signed up to volunteer at HelpColoradoNow.org and who has donated blood. 


To read the read the executive order, click here. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will release the public health order. To see frequently asked questions, click here

To view the news conference, please visit the Governor’s Facebook page


Gob. Polis: Colorado Dando el Ejemplo y Tomando Acciones para Mitigar los Efectos de COVID-19


CENTENNIAL - Gobernador Polis presentó una actualización a la respuesta del Estado de Colorado a COVID-19. Hoy, el firmó una Orden Ejecutiva ordenando que todos los empleadores ‘no críticos’ reduzcan su mano de obra presencial por un 50 por ciento. De acuerdo con la orden ejecutiva, el Departamento Estatal de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente (CDPHE en inglés) también ha publicado una orden de salud pública. 


“Mientras estoy en una posición para dirigir la respuesta del Estado a COVID-19, tomaría pasos audaces y haría todo bajo mi poder para proteger nuestros trabajadores de salud, disminuir la severidad y duración de esta crisis, y proteger las vidas de Coloradenses,” dijo Gobernador Jared Polis. “A corto plazo, Coloradenses necesitan hacer caso a esta orden y tomarla muy gravemente y en serio. Mi equipo se está moviendo lo más rápido posible para construir un nuevo paradigma para asegurar que podemos realizar un resultado que pertenece más a la estrategia exitosa de Corea del Sur, y menos al desastre de salud pública que actualmente está falleciendo a Italia. El virus está aquí en nuestras comunidades y necesitamos enfrentarlo. Y en un vacío de liderazgo federal, otros necesiten dar un ejemplo, y aquí en Colorado estamos y seguiremos haciendo justo eso.”

La Orden Ejecutiva dirige a que todos los empleadores en el estado implementen opciones de trabajo virtual a la mayor medida posible. Si trabajo virtual no es práctico o posible, el Estado anima que empleadores alternan horarios de trabajo para reducir la proximidad de trabajadores durante horas de trabajo, y que mantienen trabajadores en su nómina de sueldos. Esta Orden Ejecutiva no aplica a empleadores que pueden certificar que trabajadores mantendrán más que seis pies de distancia de cualquier persona durante la totalidad de su día laboral.

El Estado como empleador cumplirá este requisito y más de un mitad de puestos estatales que no son de 24 horas serán hechos virtualmente.

La Orden se realiza el lunes, 23 de marzo a las 8:00 a.m., y durará hasta las 11:59 p.m. del viernes, 10 de abril, 2020.

Funciones críticas que serían exceptuadas incluyan:

  • Operaciones de salud y medicina.
  • Infraestructura Crítica, incluyendo servicios públicos, suministro y transmisión de combustible, agua pública, telecomunicaciones, transporte, hoteles, organizaciones que proveen para gente marginada, y la cadena de suministro para alimentación.
  • Fabricación Crítica, incluyendo alimentos, bebidas, químicas, equipo médico, farmacéuticos, productos sanitarios, y agricultura. 
  • Tiendas Críticas, incluyendo tiendas de comestibles, tiendas de licores, fincas, gasolineras, restaurantes y bares para llevar, dispensarios de marihuana (pero solo para uso medicinal o entrega en la acera), y ferreterías.
  • Servicios Críticos, incluyendo basura y reciclaje, el postal, logística, lavanderías, limpieza y mantenimiento de hogares y oficinas comerciales, suministro y reparación de automóviles, funerarios, crematorios, cementerios, y refugios de animales.
  • Prensa y Noticias.
  • Instituciones Financieras.
  • Proveedores de Necesidades Básicas para Demográficos Marginados Económicamente. 
  • Construcción.
  • Defensa.
  • Servicios de Seguridad Pública como policía y cumplimiento de la ley, bomberos, ambulancias, seguridad y guardias, desinfección, limpieza, aplicación de códigos de construcción, eliminación de nieve, y reparación de automóviles.
  • Vendedores que proveen Servicios o Productos Críticos incluyendo logística, cuidadores infantiles, apoyo tecnológico, o contratistas para servicios públicos críticos.
  • “Funciones Críticas del Gobierno.”

El 5 de marzo, el laboratorio de salud pública de CDPHE confirmó el primer caso presumido positivo de COVID-19 en Colorado. Desde entonces, el número de casos confirmados ha seguido aumentando. Colorado necesita tomar estas precauciones para la preservación de la salud y seguridad pública de nuestro estado entero, y para asegurar que nuestro sistema de salud puede atender a los enfermos.

Además, Gob. Polis lanzó el Equipo de Innovación para la Respuesta (IRT en inglés) para alinear recursos e innovaciones públicos y privados para la respuesta de emergencia del Estado al virus COVID-19. El enfoque inicial del IRT se preocupara en aumentar un programa de examinaciones para COVID-19, creando una variedad de servicios para ciudadanos bajo aislamiento o quarantina; tecnologías móviles, y otras, para respaldar al rastreamiento de la propagación del virus y apoyar ciudadanos infectados; y alternativos locales para suministros médicos apretados.

Matt Blumberg, un empresario de tecnología que fundó y lideró la empresa tecnológica de Broomfield Return Path los últimos 20 años, servirá como Director Provisional. Gob. Polis nombrará un director permanente al IRT durante las siguientes dos semanas. El Gobernador también ha nombrado al empresario Brad Feld, de Boulder, como Director de la Fuerza Especial para el Sector Privado del IRT. El IRT será ubicado dentro del Centro Estatal para Operaciones de Emergencia, y queda bajo de Stan Hilkey, Director Ejecutivo del Departamento Estatal de Seguridad Pública.

El Gobernador también agradeció a todos que participaron en la campaña de media social #DoingMyPartCO, a los que han donado y registraron para ofrecerse de voluntario en el sitio HelpColoradoNow.org, y a los que han donado sangre.

Para leer la Orden Ejecutiva, ve aquí. El Departamento Estatal de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente (CDPHE) publicará la orden de salud pública. Para ver preguntas típicas, ve aquí.

Para ver la conferencia de prensa, por favor visita la página de Facebook del Gobernador

Update 3/23/2020, 12pm:

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

Health Department Board Signs Public Health Emergency Declaration

 

Sterling, Colo – March 23, 2020:  The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) Board of Health has signed a resolution declaring a local public health emergency for the special district of the Northeast Colorado Health Department.   

     “This is the first time the NCHD board has signed an emergency declaration,” said Trish McClain, Director of NCHD. “We are taking this important administrative measure to ensure our rural public health district is eligible for state and federal funding that may become available for the COVID-19 pandemic response.

     COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that has spread to numerous countries around the world including the United States.  The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the worldwide outbreak a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ on January 30, 2020 and the federal government declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020.  On March 10, 2020, in response to the growing outbreak the Governor of the State of Colorado declared a state of disaster emergency.  Numerous Colorado Counties and Municipalities, including several in northeast Colorado, have declared disaster emergencies.

     NCHD’s health district includes Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma Counties.  We anticipate that the cost and magnitude of responding to and recovering from the impact of COVID-19 will exceed the Public Health District’s available resources.  NCHD has determined the declaration to be in the best interest of the public health and safety for the residents of northeast Colorado and has taken action in order to mobilize aid and assistance for the response and recovery from this pandemic. 

# # #

 

INFORMACIÓN INMEDIATA

La Junta del Departamento de Salud firma una declaración de emergencia de salud pública

Sterling, Colo - 23 de marzo de 2020: La Junta del Departamento de Salud del Nordeste de Colorado (NCHD) ha firmado una resolución que declara una emergencia de salud pública local para el distrito especial del Departamento de Salud del Nordeste de Colorado.

     "Esta es la primera vez que la junta de NCHD firma una declaración de emergencia", dijo Trish McClain, directora de NCHD. "Estamos tomando esta importante medida administrativa para garantizar que nuestro distrito rural de salud pública sea elegible para recibir fondos estatales y federales que pueden estar disponibles para la respuesta a la pandemia COVID-19".

COVID-19 es un virus altamente contagioso que se ha extendido a numerosos países de todo el mundo, incluido Estados Unidos. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) declaró el brote mundial como una "emergencia de salud pública de interés internacional" el 30 de enero de 2020 y el gobierno federal declaró una emergencia nacional el 13 de marzo de 2020. El 10 de marzo de 2020, en respuesta al crecimiento brote el gobernador del estado de Colorado declaró un estado de emergencia por desastre. Numerosos condados y municipios de Colorado, incluidos varios en el noreste de Colorado, han declarado emergencias por desastre.

El distrito de salud de NCHD incluye los condados de Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington y Yuma. Anticipamos que el costo y la magnitud de responder y recuperarse del impacto de COVID-19 excederá los recursos disponibles del Distrito de Salud Pública. NCHD ha determinado que la declaración es lo mejor para la salud pública y la seguridad de los residentes del noreste de Colorado y ha tomado medidas para movilizar ayuda y asistencia para la respuesta y recuperación de esta pandemia.

Update 3/23/2020, 12pm: 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Broomfield, Colo. - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are ensuring that food production and supply systems nationwide remain safe and abundant. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19, and no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods. Additionally, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.

“People across Colorado can rest assured that our state’s food supply systems are operating as intended:  To provide plenty of safe food for the public,” said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. “The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) is working closely with the USDA, together ensuring the safety and timely delivery of the U.S. food supply while protecting the health of our employees during the COVID-19 National Emergency.”

Commissioner Greenberg has created a Food Security Task Force to work closely with Colorado’s agriculture producers and food companies across the supply chain to support their needs during the COVID-19 emergency. For more information about the Task Force, please contact Tom Lipetzky, Director of CDA’s Markets Division, or Jordan Beezley, CDA Legislative and Policy Advisor.

The public is reminded to consult only trusted scientific sources for accurate information about food safety, supply and COVID-19. Please see the attached food safety fact sheet from the Colorado Department of Agriculture and visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  and U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety FAQ pages.

Update 3/19/2020, 2:30pm:

Colorado Takes Further Action to Address 
Public Health Threat of COVID-19

State extends suspension of downhill ski operations, limits gatherings to no more than 10 people, suspends in-person learning in public & private schools

DENVER - Today Governor Jared Polis provided an update on the state’s response to COVID-19 and announced new executive actions to protect the health and safety of Coloradans. Earlier today at a news conference, Governor Polis announced the launch of the Help Colorado Now effort where Coloradans can donate or volunteer, as well as the Colorado COVID Relief Fund, which has already raised nearly $3 million to help Coloradans impacted by the coronavirus. 

“We are acting boldly and swiftly together to protect the health and safety of all Coloradans. The science and data tells us this will get worse before it gets better,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We are in this together and the state is taking the necessary actions to slow the spread of this disease.”

The Governor signed an executive order suspending in-person learning in public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17. The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to make every effort to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time while taking into account the needs of local communities. This order also directs the Commissioner of Education to issue guidance to support P-12 school systems in developing and implementing plans to assist families and students in accessing alternative learning, providing free and reduced lunch and breakfast, and offering waivers for instructional time as appropriate. Click here to read. 

“Protecting the health of all Coloradoans is our top priority, and moving to online learning and other ways to support learning at home is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “We know school leaders, educators and families will have a lot of questions about how to support their students’ learning at home during this unprecedented time. The department is working on guidance and developing resources to support our schools and students, and it will be available very soon.”

The Governor also announced that he would be extending the suspension of downhill ski area operations through April 6. COVID-19 has spread throughout many mountain communities where ski resorts are located and this is a necessary step to help slow the spread of the virus. Last week, the Governor issued an executive order suspending ski area operations until March 22. Click here to read the order. 

In accordance with CDC guidelines, the Colorado Department of Public Health also issued a public health order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people. Gatherings include community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals or any similar event that brings 10 or more people together. Click here to read. 

Coloradans can donate or sign up to volunteer at  www.HelpColoradoNow.org.

Update 3/19/2020, 1pm: Brush City Hall offices will be closed to public access until further notice, except for emergency situations. We will still be in operation and are happy to assist you over the phone or via email.