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Otero County

Department of Public Health and Environment |

2020-08-14 11:08:42



8/14/2020 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, here are a number of COVID-19 updates for you:

Belligerent Customers: We have received reports of local businesses encountering belligerent customers, and the problem starts with the businesses asking customers to simply wear a mask. To the businesses that continue to comply with the public health orders, an enthusiastic thank you! You are setting a great example, please keep up the good work, you are part of the solution. To customers, please be kind to businesses and their employees. If they ask you to mask, and if you can medically tolerate a mask, then please simply put on a mask. Please do not use this as an opportunity to berate the employees and business for their compliance with public health orders. Please be kind, not confrontational.

Verify Source: If someone contacts you claiming to be an employee of OCHD, and you have reason to doubt this, please ask their name and tell them that you need to verify this. To verify this, call our La Junta office at 719-383-3040 and ask to speak with that staff member. If you were talking to an imposter, then this is a quick, simple, and easy way to determine this. Let us know if this happens.

What’s It Look Like Today: I just finished looking at a CDPHE-generated graph for Crowley/Otero counties (8/14/2020 at approximately 10am), and the good news is I am seeing a definite downward trend in cases. Based on the most recent numbers, our cases peaked around the last part of July/first part of August, and then began a noticeable downward trend. This can reverse in a short amount of time, though, so let’s keep trending downward by doing our part!

Frequency of Crowley/Otero COVID-19 Updates: I will plan on releasing these updates on Fridays. However, as it states above, this is subject to change so please be flexible and patient.

Protect Our Neighbor Certification (PON) Status: According to CDPHE (as of 8/14/2020 at approximately 10am), our 2-week cumulative incidence rate is currently characterized as high, at 57.80 cases/100,000 population (excluding residents of congregate care facilities, see #6 below). PON certification requires a rate of 25 or fewer new cases/100,000 in the past 2 weeks. Adjusting for our population, the 3 county region of Bent, Crowley, and Otero needs to maintain 8 or fewer new cases in the past 2 weeks. Let’s do our part so that we can get and stay PON certified. It’s up to us.

Congregate Care Facility Residents and Variances/PON: COVID-19 cases of residents of congregate care facilities (i.e., prisons, nursing homes) do not factor into the case numbers used for our variance and PON certification. However, COVID-19 cases of the staff of those facilities are included. The logic behind this is that the residents will have limited exposure to the general community (especially in the case of prisoners), while the staff of these facilities will have much more exposure to the general community.

Variance Status: As of the time of this writing, our variance is still in place.

Wear a Mask. Protect Others: Here is where you can find some CDC information about masks (as of 8/14/2020 at approximately 10am):…/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wear-clot…

Test Result Timing: Please remember that it takes time for a sick person to get to their medical provider to get tested, and then it can take several days (depending upon the work load at the labs) to get those test result back. It then takes time to tabulate these numbers and get the numbers published on the CDPHE website. This is, most definitely, not an instantaneous process.

Thank You: A HUGE thank you to my staff, our partners, our healthcare workers, CDPHE, and those of you that are doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19!

Be Kind: Please be kind to each other during this very difficult, unprecedented time. It’s OK to have your own opinion, but certain ways of expressing that are not OK (i.e. hostility, belligerence, aggression, unfriendliness, rudeness). We are in this together.

Masks At School: My entire family will be at various schools soon, and they will be wearing masks to protect others. If age and medically appropriate, please make sure masks are worn to protect them and others. Thank you.

Do Our Part: Now is the time to be united in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please don’t let all of the misinformation, false reasoning, insensibility, indifference, politics, anger, and frustration that is so very rampant cloud your good judgement. Please wear your face covering when appropriate, socially distance yourselves, avoid large groups, delay travel if possible, stay home if you are sick, and wash your hands a lot. Take this seriously, because it is. This is a collective responsibility of us all to protect each other and keep our local businesses and schools open. It’s up to us.

Summaries: The data below was taken directly from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) website on 8/14/2020 at approximately 10am. Remember, this data will change after the website is updated. For Colorado (including Crowley/Otero Counties), this summary only includes data through August 12 and does not reflect cases since then. Additionally, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 includes data through Saturday, August 8, and does not reflect cases since then.
a. Crowley County
ü Total Cases: 73
ü Total COVID Related Deaths: 1
ü Facility Outbreaks (Data available on the following website as of 8/14/2020 at approximately 10am:
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
b. Otero County
ü Total Cases: 78
ü Total COVID Related Deaths: 6
ü Facility Outbreaks (Data available on the following website as of 8/14/2020 at approximately 10am:
§ Pioneer Healthcare Center
· Status: Active
· Number of residents positive for COVID (lab confirmed): 19
· Number of staff positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed): 11
· Number of staff with probable COVID (NOT lab confirmed): 1
· Number of COVID related deaths (lab confirmed): 5
§ Lewis Bolt and Nut
· Status: Active
· Number of staff positive for COVID (lab confirmed): 3
· Number of staff with probable COVID (NOT lab confirmed): 5
ü CDPHE case count website:
o Scroll down until you see the Colorado map, and then select “Case Counts” from the dropdown box on the upper right side of the map.
c. State of Colorado (
ü 52,219 cases
ü 172 patients currently hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19 (view hospital data:
ü 63 counties (view incidence and epidemic curve data:
ü 609,824 people tested
ü 1,882 deaths among cases
ü 1,763 deaths due to COVID-19
ü 536 outbreaks (view outbreak data:
d. United States (as of the time of this writing on Friday, 8/7/2020 at 1:00 pm)
ü Cases: 5,176,018
ü Deaths: 165,148
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 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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