July 31, 2020 – El Paso County Public Health is partnering with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), El Paso County Board of Commissioners, City of Colorado Springs, and the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC to develop strategies to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Over the past few months, CDPHE has approved several variances for the county, allowing larger gathering sizes for indoor and outdoor events, personal recreation, restaurants and more. The variances, which were approved at a low threshold of disease burden, included the need for a mitigation plan should case numbers pass certain thresholds. Throughout the entire process, Public Health and community partners have used the data to guide informed decision making. Most recently, El Paso County has been experiencing a steady increase in cases. When El Paso County’s case numbers exceeded the variance disease transmission thresholds and the test positivity rate, county public health officials immediately notified CDPHE and began collaborating closely to develop targeted strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Together, they identified solutions and committed to implementing the following measures:
- Public health, city, county and business officials have agreed to temporarily reduce their indoor capacity to 100 people, except for houses of worship. Prior, they were allowed to have up to 175 people.
- Officials have agreed to collaborate to explore options for a free drive-through community-based testing site.
- County, City, and business officials have made a commitment to advocate for increased teleworking.
“We appreciate the support from CDPHE and all of our community partners,” said Susan Wheelan, El Paso County Public Health Director. “First and foremost, our priority is to protect the health and well-being of our residents. We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss realistic and actionable mitigation measures we can implement as a county, and we remain committed to utilizing all of the prevention tools available to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
This will be a temporary suspension of only those variances affecting indoor spaces for two weeks, at which time we will reassess. Public health, city, county and business leaders are confident these stepped up mitigation efforts will help slow the spread of the virus. Public Health, along with community partners are grateful for the tireless efforts of residents to help fight COVID-19 and are optimistic that the community can work together to bring the numbers back down.
“Colorado’s success in crushing this virus, saving lives and preventing more economic damage is connected to people doing the right thing, and to a strong response from the state, local governments, and public health departments,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, CDPHE’s executive director. “The State applauds El Paso County’s public health officials, county commissioners, Mayor Suthers, and business leaders for finding proactive ways to protect the community and taking the steps needed to reverse the negative trend in El Paso County. “
For more information and local data on COVID-19 in El Paso County, please visit the El Paso County Public Health website.