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Health update from Otero County Health Department

Staff Writer
LA Junta Tribune

Contributed by Crowley / Otero Health Departments Director Rick Ritter

The situations, numbers, website links, data, and etc. described below were current as of Friday 9/25/2020 at approximately 11:40 a.m.

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE THIS WIDELY

9/25/2020 Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Update #1

Please take the time to read and understand this entire message.

Internet links: Before I send out each update, I check the links to make sure they are active. However, links do change from time to time, so the links I sent out today may not be the same tomorrow. You may have to search around a bit.

Hello and happy Friday to all, below are some COVID-19 updates for you.

1. Recent Increase In Cases: Yep, we are experiencing an increase in cases, which I did expect to follow the Labor Day Holiday. I talked with our epi/clinical staff about this yesterday, and we do have a good idea as to where the majority of cases contracted the virus. Currently we see no evidence of imminent, widespread, sustained community transmission. However, this can change rapidly. Please do all you can to slow/stop the spread!

2. Fowler Schools Update: OCHD is investigating a COVID-19 case linked to Fowler High School. Please see updates from the Fowler School District here:

https://www.facebook.com/Fowler-JrSr-High-School-450428121686356/

3. Manzanola School Update: A positive COVID-19 case has been identified at Manzanola Elementary School. Please see updates from the Manzanola School District here: https://www.manzanola.k12.co.us/district-nursehealth-news

4. Swink School Update: Yesterday (Thursday, 9/23/2020) Swink School and OCHD had questions regarding the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) case numbers regarding Swink School, specifically numbers that are found on the CDPHE outbreak website. OCHD contacted CDPHE yesterday about this, and we are still awaiting a response. Please see updates from the Swink School District here: https://www.swinkk12.net/#

And, while we are on the subject of Swink School, an enthusiastic CONGRATS to Swink Elementary for winning the 2020 Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Award, macte virtute (that’s a Latin phrase, and it is very fitting)!

5. Bent, Crowley, and Otero (BCO) Counties Protect Our Neighbors (PON) Application Submission: On Wednesday, 9/23/2020 our regional PON application was submitted to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Later that afternoon, I received an email from CDPHE that read, in part, as follows: “We received the regional Protect Our Neighbors application for Bent, Crowley and Otero counties this afternoon. Our team will begin reviewing it for completeness as well as verifying data this week, and we should have a response back to you by the end of next week at the latest.” Yesterday, Thursday 9/24/2020, I received (and answered) a few questions from CDPHE regarding our application. As of the time of this writing, we still qualify for PON. However, as mentioned in #1 above, we have had a recent increase in cases that, if it continues, could make us ineligible at this time. Please, please, please do your part (i.e., social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, staying home if sick, etc.) to suppress the spread of COVID-19 so that we can move forward. It’s up to us.

6. Summaries

a. CDPHE COVID-19 Data Webpage: https://covid19.colorado.gov/data

b. Crowley County (numbers are cumulative)

Total Cases: 73

o Change from last update: Zero cases added.

Total COVID Related Deaths: 1

Facility Outbreaks

o Crowley County Correctional Facility

Status: Resolved

Number of prisoners positive for COVID (lab confirmed): 66

Number of staff positive for COVID (lab confirmed): 4

c. Otero County (numbers are cumulative)

Total Cases: 93

o Change from last update: 7 cases added

Total COVID Related Deaths: 6

Facility Outbreaks

o Pioneer Healthcare Center

Status: Active

Number of residents positive for COVID (lab confirmed): 19

Number of staff positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed): 13

Number of COVID related deaths (lab confirmed): 5

o Lewis Bolt and Nut:

Status: Active

Number of staff positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed): 3

Number of staff with probable COVID-19 (NOT lab confirmed): 9

d. State of Colorado (numbers are cumulative) (https://covid19.colorado.gov/data)

67,217 cases

7,454 hospitalized

64 counties

858,108 people tested

2,033 deaths among cases

1,935 deaths due to COVID-19

724 outbreaks (view outbreak data: https://covid19.colorado.gov/outbreak-data)

COVID-19 Dial Dashboard: https://covid19.colorado.gov/.../covid-19-dial-dashboard

e. United States (numbers are cumulative)

Total Cases: 6,958,632

Total Deaths: 202,329

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

o Website: https://www.cdc.gov/.../cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

f. Global (number are cumulative)

Confirmed Cases: 32,110,656

Deaths: 980,031

Data Source: Who Health Organization (WHO)

o Website: https://covid19.who.int/

7. What can you do RIGHT NOW?

Read, understand, and comply with public health orders! Public health orders can be found here: https://covid19.colorado.gov/.../public-health-executive...

Limit workplace violence: https://www.cdc.gov/.../bus.../limit-workplace-violence.html

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

Wear an appropriate mask if you must go out for an essential activity.

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

Cover your cough and/or sneeze.

Keep your fingers and hands away from your face.

Wash your hands a lot.

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

o Otero County Health Department (OCHD): https://www.oterogov.com

o Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov

o Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE): https://covid19.colorado.gov/

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

And remember, “This too shall pass.”

It is up to us.

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)

rritter@oterogov.org