5/29/2020 Pikes Peak Regional Joint Information Center Brief

El Paso County, Colo.-- As a coordinated response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, El Paso County Public Health, El Paso County, and the City of Colorado Springs will provide updates from a variety of local agencies responding to this health emergency. Media are encouraged to share the below information with the public and media interviews are available. This communication will go out between noon and 1 p.m. 

“Ring in Summer” today at 3 p.m. 
The City of Colorado Springs is joining a statewide effort, organized by Great Outdoors Colorado’s Generation Wild campaign, for all Coloradans to “Ring in Summer” today from 3:00-3:01 p.m., in a symbolic end to the school year and as a thank you to health care workers and first responders. Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers will ring the bell at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and the community is encouraged to step outside wherever you are and ring a bell, honk a horn or make some noise.
Media should RSVP for the Pioneer’s Museum event by emailing [email protected] or calling 719-491-0363. Visual campaign assets (photos and video): Ring in Summer toolkit

New version of Data Dashboard released
The El Paso County Public Health Data and Analytics Office has released its second version of the online data dashboard. The data dashboard presents local COVID-19 data using maps, graphics, and illustrations to make it easier for viewers to visualize complex data and relationships, leading to better understanding and improved decision-making. The new dashboard includes: 
• a map showing cases by zip code and accompanying charts showings cases by zip code and by municipality; 
• a rolling average of cases, to better show cases over time; 
• more explainers, including some that pop-up as you hover over fields; 
• El Paso County PCR* testing data (including total tests, test result and positivity rate); 
• an “onset” page which charts the difference between when a case was reported and when symptoms began; 
• and an “incidence” page to show incidence metrics.
PCR tests check for the virus, not antibodies, and identify those who are currently infected.

Colorado SNAP recipients can now make purchases online
The Colorado Department of Human Services has launched an online purchasing program for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and support programs such as Colorado Works and Old Age Pension. Participants will see an “EBT” icon on the websites of authorized retailers (currently Amazon and Walmart) and will be able to add their EBT card in the payment method. Delivery fees, tips and non-eligible purchases such as alcohol or tobacco cannot be paid using SNAP benefits.
More information on the SNAP program can be found here.

Colorado Springs businesses may apply to waive penalties for late payment of sales tax
The City of Colorado Springs will waive penalty charges for late payment of February and March sales and use taxes for businesses that are unable to meet these due dates due to impacts of COVID-19. The February and March sales and use tax payment deadlines will remain in place and waivers will be granted on a case-by-case basis. For more information and to request a waiver, businesses should contact (719) 385-5903 or [email protected].
*Please note that the waiver is not automatic and businesses must contact Sales Tax to request a waiver.

City of Fountain Announces Business Impact Assistance Program (BIAP)
The Fountain City Council has approved a city-facilitated $1.4 million grant program to help small brick-and-mortar businesses (including locally owned franchises but excluding home-based businesses) that are located in Fountain and have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, businesses must have had 20 or fewer full-time employees on March 10, 2020. Grants are available, based on available funds, for up to $3,000 per employee, not to exceed $15,000. The grant funding is from the CARES Act, via El Paso County.
Business owners wishing to apply can visit  www.fountaincolorado.org, starting June 1.
Media Contact: John Trylch, Fountain City Communications Manager, at [email protected] 

Reliable Information Sources

Please continue to remind your viewers and readers to always rely on credible and official news sources and agencies. 

Current information on the number of COVID-19 cases in El Paso County

El Paso County Health: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) 

City of Colorado Springs: Coloradosprings.gov/covid19  

State of Colorado: https://covid19.colorado.gov/ 

Kim Melchor, Michelle Hewitt, Natalie Sosa
Public Information Officers, Joint Information Center
(719) 299-7700
El Paso County, CO