El Paso County Public Health provides COVID-19 update to Colorado Springs City Council

El Paso County, CO – El Paso County Public Health provided a COVID-19 update today to the Colorado Springs City Council. 

As the Safer at Home phase progresses and El Paso County Public Health continues to monitor and assess the data, several key takeaways emerged from this presentation: testing, contact tracing, and epidemiological surge planning.  

 All of Public Health’s work continues to be driven by data. A team of data experts, medical experts, and epidemiologists are continuously monitoring and analyzing the data to assess progress, trends, and next steps. As the Safer at Home phase continues, Public Health will continue to use predictive modeling and data to identify triggers for continued forward momentum. For updated data, visit Public Health’s data dashboard.  

Testing 

  • An important component to the success of the Safer at Home phase is the ability to perform widespread testing.  
  • While local testing availability was limited during the early phases of the COVID-19 outbreak, El Paso County has since seen notable increases in testing capacity.  
  • Public Health and partners from health care, primary care, military, and others have put forth a tremendous amount of work to increase the availability of local testing.   
  • The gold standard is a goal of 152 tests per day per 100,000 people  
    • For a population the size of El Paso County, this is about 1,140 tests per day.  
    • In El Paso County, the present testing capacity approaches or exceeds 1,100 tests per day.  
  • As our partners have built capacity, they are looking at all of these factors to state the number of tests that they can project doing sustainably day after day.   
  • It is now critical for all individuals who are experiencing symptoms to get tested. 

Contact tracing and epidemiological surge planning 

  • A critical Public Health tool for prevention of the spread of COVID-19 is epidemiological investigation.  
  • Public Health has increased its team for contact tracing to assure they are able to identify any clusters, hot spots or potential spread of COVID-19. What started as a small Public Health team of communicable disease epidemiologists has now surged to dozens (with the help of partners), to be able to meet the increased demand. 
  • The goal of this approach is targeted isolation and quarantine. If there are more generalized trends of increased cases, the quarantine and isolation recommendations will also be more generalized. 

Recognizing that there is a large volume of new information to process in the Safer At Home Order, Public Health also provided a summary of key takeaways.  

Key takeaways for individuals: 

  • Encouraged to stay home as much as possible and avoid unnecessary interactions 
  • Urged to wear a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth whenever you leave your residence or property 
  • Public and private gatherings are limited to 10 
  • Vulnerable individuals are urged to stay home except to seek medical care and can’t be compelled to perform in-person work 
  • If you’re sick, you must stay at home except to seek medical care 

Key takeaways for businesses: 

Businesses have several operational requirements related to disease mitigation in the workplace, for employees, and for customers 

  • Social distancing – six feet of separation 
  • Disinfection 
  • Signage 
  • Employee and customer symptom screening 
  • Mask and glove requirements 

Key takeaways for recreation: 

  • Outdoor recreation is allowed, in groups no bigger than 10 
  • Must practice social distancing – keep six feet apart 
  • No team sports 
  • Travel for recreation should be limited to within your own county 
  • Gyms are closed – except classes or personal training sessions limited to members of the same household or a mixed group of four that complies with social distancing requirements 
    • Can’t share equipment unless with household members 
  • Campgrounds are closed 
Michelle Hewitt
Public Health Information Officer
(719) 578-3239
El Paso County, CO