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Otero County

Department of Public Health and Environment |

2020-09-04 08:16:27


The situations, numbers, website links, data, and etc. described below were current as of Friday 9/4/2020 at approximately 7:30 am.


9/4/2020 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 to all, below are some COVID-19 updates for you before we head into the Labor Day weekend:

What It Looks Like Today: Things are still looking really good right now! We had a surge in cases the last part of July and early August, but our cases since then have dropped significantly. Since my last report on Friday, 8/28/2020, Otero County has only added 1 case and Crowley has added zero cases. Our collective actions (i.e. isolation/quarantine; social distancing; face coverings; school/OJC disease control measures; careful, deliberate event planning; keeping groups small; etc.) can and do make a difference in suppressing this virus. Dr. Fauci agrees with this (see directly below)…

2. Good News from Dr. Fauci: Dr. Fauci is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and this week he was quoted as saying “"There is good news in the public health area. We see that when we have states, and cities and counties and areas that do abide by the public health mandates that I'm speaking about now with you today, they do turn around the surges and in fact blunt any surges. That tells me that we can do it. We've proven that you can actually control the outbreak.” You can read Dr. Fauci’s quote here:…/co…/h_91a517a313c10a09db144a4399a9917a

In late July/early August of this year, our area did see a surge in cases, but thanks to quick isolation/quarantine measures and continued adherence to public health orders that surge was stopped, or as Dr. Fauci put it, “blunted”. OCHD continues to receive for review many plans from organizations/event planners that are dedicated to abiding by current public health protective orders. And now, we have a vaccine on the horizon. I, for one, am finally “seeing that light at the end of the tunnel”. Keep up the good work, it is up to us.

3. Labor Day: After the 4th of July, Colorado cases of COVID-19 went up. COVID-19 doesn’t take a holiday. Enjoy Labor Day, but please wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands a lot, and avoid large gatherings. This is the kind thing to do for yourself, your family, and others. Please be careful.

Mask Study: A study on masks published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the Unites States of America (PNAS) stated the following in its conclusions section: “We conclude that wearing of face masks in public corresponds to the most effective means to prevent interhuman transmission, and this inexpensive practice, in conjunction with extensive testing, quarantine, and contact tracking, poses the most probable fighting opportunity to stop the COVID-19 pandemic, prior to the development of a vaccine.” You can find the article here:

End Game: Sometimes when an event gets complex and protracted, things can become convoluted and it may become difficult to focus on the end game. What is our end game with all of these public health orders (i.e. protective phases, social distancing, face coverings, etc.)? We are working hard to suppress COVID-19 to…
ü keep us all COVID-19 free, of course;

ü keep our hospital capacity adequate so that if somebody becomes critically ill we will have the ICU beds and ventilators available locally and regionally;

ü protect those that are most vulnerable and at highest risk (i.e., elderly, those with chronic disease(s)); &

ü allow for the development and distribution of a vaccine for mass inoculations. And speaking of a vaccine…

COVID-19 Vaccine: I attended a virtual meeting with CDPHE’s Immunization Program Wednesday of this week, and we are hopeful (please note my carefully chosen word “hopeful”) that a COVID-19 vaccine will be available in very limited quantities sometime during the last quarter of 2020, with more doses pouring in the first quarter of 2021. OCHD is now in the process of planning for mass vaccination clinics, and we are focusing on the drive-through types. More information to come, so please stay tuned.

Phase Matrix/Dial: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is working on a new system for moving between protective phases. This system will utilize a “dial” that will allow counties to move between phases (i.e. Stay At Home, Safer At Home, Protect Our Neighbors) when local circumstances permit (i.e. case rates, percent positivity, hospital capacity, etc.). A roll out date is still to be determined. You can read more about this at the following website: Slide Deck describing the matrix

a. CDPHE COVID-19 Data Webpage:

b. Crowley County (numbers are cumulative)

ü Total Cases: 73

ü Total COVID Related Deaths: 1

ü Change from last update: Zero cases added.

ü 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)

ü Total Cases: 82

ü Total COVID Related Deaths: 6

ü Change from last update: One case added.

ü 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 (lab confirmed): 3

§ Number of staff with probable COVID (NOT lab confirmed): 7

d. State of Colorado (numbers are cumulative)

ü 58,287 cases

ü 7,104 hospitalized

ü 63 counties

ü 725,095 people tested

ü 1,955 deaths among cases

ü 1,861 deaths due to COVID-19

ü 625 outbreaks (view outbreak data:

e. United States (numbers are cumulative)

ü Cases: 6,087,403

ü Deaths: 185,092

ü Website:…/2019-n…/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html

What can you do RIGHT NOW?
ü Read, understand, and comply with public health orders! Public health orders can be found here:…/public-health-executive-orde…

ü Limiting workplace violence:…/busines…/limit-workplace-violence.html

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

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

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 Colorado State Health Department:

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

ü 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)

Department of Public Health and Environment |


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