4/2/2020 #1 Crowley/Otero Update

Please take the time to read and understand this entire message. I know it is kind of long, but read the whole thing anyway.

Hello to all,

Local numbers updates

ü Cases: Our current COVID-19 case counts for Crowley and Otero Counties are as follows (as of the time of this writing):

o 1-Crowley County case (deceased)

o 3-Otero County cases

o TOTAL Crowley/Otero Cases: 4

ü Tests: These are approximate numbers as of the time of this writing:

o 75 people tested

o 68 negatives (not COVID-19)

o 4 pending (waiting for test results)

o 3 positives (was COVID-19)

o Remember, the test for the deceased Crowley County resident was done out of county, so we do not include that test in our numbers.

Alternate Care Facility (ACF) Planning

If (please notice I said “if”) we have an outbreak locally, OCHD and our great partners are finalizing plans for an Alternate Care Facility (ACF) if it is needed. This will be operationalized if we experience an outbreak and the Arkansas Valley Regional Medical Center (AVRMC) is overwhelmed and is in need of assistance. Basically, the way our AFC would work is that AVRMC would transfer their non-critical patients to the AFC, where they would get appropriate medical care. This would enable AVRMC to focus on much more severe, critically ill patients that need much more attention and care (i.e., such as assistance breathing with a ventilator). The ACF will have a direct line of communication with AVRMC. Patients will not report directly to the ACF, they will report to AVRMC where they will receive an initial assessment before possible transfer to the ACF. Once again, this is NOT NOW, this is being planned out of an abundance of caution, so that IF the need arises, we are ready to assist our regional hospital meet the need.

There would be absolutely no way OCHD could do this without our great partners! Instrumental in planning the ACF has been Otero County Emergency Management, Otero Junior College (OJC), AVRMC, Southeast Health Group (SHG), and OCHD. The last couple of days I have attended some of the best planning meetings of my entire career. You might ask, why are they the best? Because the people I have been meeting with do not hesitate in putting the community needs first, they are extremely cooperative and are ready and willing to help. Putting it succinctly, these organizations and their people are AWESOME!

I have asked our medical providers to let OCHD know if they are seeing signs of a possible local outbreak (this is called syndromic surveillance), and they will. I will continue to let you know how things are unfolding.

I have met with my staff and SHG staff to discuss our operational template of how to respond to a local outbreak (if it even happens). As the saying goes, “we have our game faces on”. And my Father instilled in me “it is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it”. Thanks Dad, that’s great, useful advice!

Stay tuned for more information.

In addition to reading and understanding the above, what else can you do RIGHT NOW:

ü Read, understand, and comply with all public health orders! Public health orders can be found here:

ü Stay home if you are sick and, if needed, call your medical provider.

ü If you are in a high risk group, take extra precautions.

ü Cover your cough and/or sneeze.

ü Keep your fingers and hands away from your face.

ü Wash your hands a lot.

ü Stay informed by trusted and reliable sources. Be careful about believing what you read on social media sites. Trusted sources/websites:


o Centers for Disease Control:

o CO State Health Department:

ü Do these things so you will be prepared, and not scared.

Until next time,

Richard Ritter, Executive Director
Otero County Health Department
13 West 3rd Street, Room 111
La Junta, Colorado 81050
719-383-3045 (Office)
719-383-3060 (Fax)