Otero County Health Department Covid Update October 23rd

Description: The Latest Covid Update from the Otero/Crowley County Health Department.

Published: 10/23/2020
Byline: Hart


The situations, numbers, website links, data, and etc. described below were current as of Friday 10/23/2020 at 9:35 am. 


10/23/2020 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:

  1. Colorado Increase In Cases:  COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Colorado.  On Tuesday, 10/20/2020 the Governor’s Office wrote the following:  “These numbers underscore the ongoing and increased responsibility of Coloradans to follow coronavirus restrictions and make a concentrated effort to get the state back on track to conquer this virus.  If transmission control practices relax during the upcoming holiday season (as they did during the 4th of July and Labor Day holidays), the consequences will be dire. Coloradans will need to be extra vigilant in following coronavirus guidance over the coming weeks to ensure that we can maintain safe virus levels through Thanksgiving.  We cannot be complacent. The status quo is simply not acceptable.  The Governor knows that Coloradans are all tired of this virus, but as he has said before, this virus is not tired of us. The state only has a short window of time to get this back under control, and it’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to make that happen.”  It’s up to us.
  2. New Local Cases:  Unfortunately, our corner of the state is not immune to this increase.  Currently, both Crowley and Otero’s two week cumulative incidence rates crossed the threshold into Safer At Home Level 2.  While our numbers have crossed that threshold, we have not been officially moved to Level 2.  Please go to the COVID-19 Dial Dashboard website (https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial/covid-19-dial-dashboard) and look at Crowley and Otero counties, we are still designated as blue, which corresponds to Safer At Home Level 1.  If you click on a county, it will show you what level corresponds to that county’s most current data.

Movement between levels on the Dial is not instantaneous, it is a 4 week process that includes the following:

ü  Close communication between CDPHE, Local Public Health Agencies (LPHA), and county officials.

ü  Daily monitoring of case incidence, percent positivity, hospitalizations, etc.;

ü  Reviewing and readying the next level’s disease mitigation strategies; &

ü  If COVID-19 incidence rates do not drop back to the previous less-restrictive level, then this process culminates in officially moving to the more restrictive level.  We DO NOT want this to happen, so please do your part to help return our numbers to Level 1, and then we will work on getting Protect Our Neighbor (PON) certified.  It’s up to us. 

  1. 10/28/2020 Crowley County Prison Meeting:  There will be a very important meeting regarding the potential closure of the private prison outside of Olney Springs.  This meeting will be on Wednesday, 10/28/2020 beginning at 5:30pm at the Crowley County High School gym, located at 1001 Main Street in Ordway.  OCHD staff, Commissioner Arbuthnot, Michael Trujillo (Crowley County Schools), and Gabe Preston (consultant) met at the gym on Wednesday, 10/14/2020 to plan for the meeting.  Even though Crowley County is still officially in Safer At Home Level 1, out of an abundance of caution we will be adhering to Safer At Home Level 2 guidelines.  There will be overflow rooms available to accommodate more people if the gym capacity is reached, and we are planning on an FM radio transmitter to broadcast the meeting to those that may remain in their cars.  COVID-19 precautions are a TOP priority!  Please be aware of the following:

ü  Mask are required unless a person cannot medically tolerate them.  Please remember to bring and wear your mask.  If you forget it, we will have some available.  Remember, wearing a mask not only protects you, it protects others.  Wearing a mask during this pandemic is a very practical way to show others that you care.

ü  Social distancing of at least 6 feet between immediate household members is required.  That means you can stand closer to those that live in the same house as you, but others must be at least 6 foot away.

ü  All those attending will be asked to provide names and phone numbers to facilitate COVID-19 contact tracing if the need arises.

ü  All that are planning on attending in person, please do a fever/symptom check before you leave home. 

ü  If you are under isolation/quarantine, or if you are feverish and/or experiencing COVID-19/flu-like symptoms,  you must not attend in person.  Please go to the Crowley County’s website (https://crowleycounty.colorado.gov/) for more information on how you can provide feedback if you are unable to attend the meeting. 

We need to balance having this essential meeting with necessary, common sense COVID-19 precautions.  Please do your part to protect you, your family, and others.  If you can make it, I will see you on Wednesday evening! 

By the way, Bent County has a private prison outside of Las Animas that could also potentially be affected.  The Bent County Commissioners will be hosting a similar public meeting on Tuesday, 10/27/2020 at the Bent County Community Center located at 1214 Ambassador Thompson Blvd in Las Animas.  The meeting is from 5:30pm-7:00pm, and similar COVID-19 precautions will be observed.  Read more about the Bent County meeting here: 


  1. Colorado COVID-19 Vaccination Plan:  Colorado has submitted its COVID-19 vaccination plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for review.  Read all about it here:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/press-release/colorado-submits-covid-19-vaccine-plan

Want to see a copy of the draft plan?  Check that out here:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bxacXFm3ZsdXVG9RQavew1ck5W7D52bt/view

  1. OCHD COVID-19 Vaccination Plan:  OCHD staff is planning for Crowley/Otero COVID-19 mass vaccinations.  We just had a couple of very smooth, successful drive-through flu immunization clinics, and if the weather allows, we will use this similar format for COVID-19 vaccinations when the vaccine becomes available.  Please stay tuned for more information! 
  2. Bent, Crowley, and Otero (BCO) Counties Protect Our Neighbors (PON) Application Submission:  Our PON application is currently on hold until we see a decrease in local cases and meet the PON criteria.  Read more about PON here:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/protect-our-neighbors
  3. Halloween COVID-19 Guidance:  Halloween is coming up quickly, and we want our trick or treaters to stay safe!  Before heading out for treats, please make sure to take a look at this information first: 

ü  CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html#halloween

ü  CDPHE:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/halloween-tips-and-tricks

  1. School Webpages:  Please visit these websites for school-specific information and updates regarding COVID-19:

a.       Cheraw:  https://www.cheraw.k12.co.us/

b.      Crowley County:  http://www.cck12.net/

c.       Fowler:  http://www.fowler.k12.co.us/

d.      La Junta:  https://www.lajuntaschools.org/

e.       Manzanola:  https://www.manzanola.k12.co.us/

f.       OJC:  https://www.ojc.edu/

g.      Rocky Ford:  https://www.rockyfordk12.org/

h.      Swink:  https://www.swinkk12.net/

  1. Colorado Exposure Notification Technology:  On Sunday October 25, CDPHE will launch its statewide COVID-19 exposure notification system, previously announced by Governor Jared Polis in partnership with Google and Apple. On Sunday, Coloradans will receive a notice on their Android and Apple phones with instructions about how to opt-in.  Learn more about this here:  https://addyourphone.wpengine.com/
  1. Summaries

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

b.      Crowley County (numbers are cumulative)

ü  Total Cases:  83

o   Change from last Friday’s update:  5 cases added.

ü  Total COVID Related Deaths:  1

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:  122

o   Change from last Friday’s update:  8 cases added.

ü  Total COVID Related Deaths:  6

ü  Facility Outbreaks

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):  11

o   Pioneer Healthcare Center

§  Status:  Resolved

§  Number of residents positive for COVID (lab confirmed):  20

§  Number of staff positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed):  14

§  Number of COVID related deaths (lab confirmed):  5

o   Swink High School

§  Status:  Active

§  Number of staff with probable COVID-19 (NOT lab confirmed):  1

§  Number of attendees who are positive for COVID-19 (lab confirmed):  2

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

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

ü  90,222 cases

ü  8,478 hospitalized

ü  64 counties

ü  1,113,799 people tested

ü  2,198 deaths among cases

ü  2,070 deaths due to COVID-19

ü  1,028 outbreaks (view outbreak data:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/outbreak-data)

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

e.       United States (numbers are cumulative)

ü  Total Cases:  8,312,667

ü  Total Deaths: 221,438

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

o   Website:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/cases-in-us.html 

f.       Global (number are cumulative)

ü  Confirmed Cases:  41,332,899

ü  Deaths:  1,132,879

ü  Data Source:  Who Health Organization (WHO)

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

  1. What can you do RIGHT NOW?

ü  Read, understand, and comply with public health orders!  Public health orders can be found here:  https://covid19.colorado.gov/prepare-protect-yourself/prevent-the-spread/public-health-executive-orders

ü  Prevent the spread of COVID-19: https://covid19.colorado.gov/prevention 

ü  Limit workplace violence:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/business-employers/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   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/

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

ü  And remember, “This too shall pass.”

Well, now I am off to Swink where my resolute staff are defying the colder weather to host a drive-through flu shot clinic.


Until next time, enjoy your weekend!

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)