Alamosa County declares state of emergency

Emergency Manager Eric Treinen presents to the Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday. The board approved a state of emergency declaration as well as a public health order. (Courier photo by Stephen Jiron).

STEPHEN JIRON, Interim Editor

ALAMOSA — A state of emergency was declared Wednesday by the Alamosa Board of County Commissioners at a special meeting here after hearing presentations from different specialists within the county.

The board also approved a public health order limiting gatherings to 30 people or less. It is important to mention that the order does not include restaurants, homeless shelter or religious services, as long as these entities adhere to the requirements for social distancing. Currently restaurants are closed for all but take-out, per State Order.Also, the order also does not include schools. In the future, it may be determined that school closures are necessary. Schools, parents and employers should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of prolonged mandatory closures.

While being in a state of emergency sounds menacing, it will likely not affect most citizens on a day-to-day basis. The two main things it does are, it makes Alamosa County Public Health and Environment (ACDPHE), incident command and imbues the ACDPHE with the ability to issue orders and guidance to protect public health. And it charges Alamosa’s Sheriff with keeping order and enforcing ACDPHE orders.

Beyond that, the remainder of the declaration is focused on the County Administrator and Emergency Manager working to ensure a strong line of communication and an effective response for the public. All things that will be very helpful helping Alamosa get to May safely.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Public Information Officer Linda Smith presented first discussing the importance of public information during this trying time.

“We have been pushing out public information and doing everything that we can to support what the public health agencies are doing,” said Smith. She also discussed a federal government based program that could in the future provide personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves to the valley. However, Smith was sure to make it clear that that was just a possibility and was in no way concrete.

“That’s still very much in the air because we don’t know what that’s going to look like,” Smith went on to reaffirm the importance of information, stating that her office’s focus was shifting away from testing results and more towards paying the current situation the proper respect, adhering to advice coming from proper avenues meaning the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other reputable sources.

Fellow presenter Lilian Coll, Alamosa’s regional epidemiologist, also touched on the hot button issue of test results in Alamosa, confirming that as of press time that there have been five tests from Alamosa that have been sent out and of those one has come back negative. Smith pushed that despite the San Luis Valley still being free of positive cases, that the populace needs to remain vigilant in their hygiene and health practices because COVID-19 is likely present in the valley.

Though not on the agenda, Dr. Bill Brinton MD, internist-general, was in attendance and weighed in on some similar issues, first lamenting the sheer volume of information that is bombarding the public currently before discussing preparedness.

“I do think Alamosa county and the counties of the valley have an advantage,” said Brinton, “Because we had established plans in place both for bioterrorism starting in 2001 and pandemic influenza starting in 2005, and the planning was well in place by the time the pandemic came in about 2008. We also exercised our plans for the Alamosa Salmonella outbreak around that same time.”

Brinton presented an opportunity to the medical professionals of the valley stating that since we have yet to be infected that we could use this time to look to other counties similar to ours and come up with an effective response. He closed his comments on the current situation by addressing a need for PPE among healthcare workers and ill persons.

Smith addressed the PPE supply chain issues and spoke on a prioritization matrix for that, which the state seems to be doing at the that level as well, which would suggest a possible relief in the future.

Also presenting to the board was Emergency Manager Eric Treinen. Treinen discussed the transition from an operations center to a Unified Command Group (UCG). He suggested that the UGC would offer more resources, personnel and would allow the county staff to focus on local issues.

Among the changes, Treinen addressed the addition of a second Public Information Officer to help work alongside Linda Smith who has been working tirelessly to keep the public abreast of any changes on Coronavirus.

“I’ve been sharing a lot of information with Gigi (Dennis) and the board to how best help our county and what is the best we can do for our county,” Treinen said.

For information on the virus and other health concerns in relation to the illness, citizens are urged to visit Slvemergency.org as well as the associated Facebook page and the  Alamosa County Public Health webpage. Those looking to get in contact with Public Health can email [email protected]

State of emergency declaration 

BEFORE THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF ALAMOSA COUNTY

RESOLUTION NO: 2020 - G - 2

RE: DECLARING COVID-19 A LOCAL DISASTER IN ALAMOSA COUNTY,

COLORADO.

Commissioner Sigmond moved for the adoption of the following resolution.

Commissioner Allen seconded the motion.

WHEREAS, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, Governor Jared Polis declared a state

of emergency due to the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19) outbreak; and

WHEREAS, on Friday, March 13, 2020, the President of the United States

declared a National Emergency due to COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, there are currently 131 presumptive cases throughout multiple

counties in Colorado; and with more cases being confirmed on a daily basis; and

WHEREAS, more cases of COVID-19 are being confirmed on a daily basis

and are likely to continue to spread across the state; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to C.R.S. § 24-33.5-709(1) “A local disaster may be

declared only by the principal executive officer of a political subdivision. It shall not be

continued or renewed in excess seven days except by or with the consent of the

governing board of the political subdivision.”; and

WHEREAS, the Alamosa County Administrator has consulted with the Board

of County Commissioners and recommends the adoption of this declaration; and

WHEREAS, “The effect of a declaration of local disaster emergency is to

activate the response and recovery aspects of any and all applicable local and

inter-jurisdictional disaster and emergency plans and to authorize the furnishing of

aid and assistance under such plans.” C.R.S. § 24-33.5-709(2); and

WHEREAS, defining clear roles for and direction to those responding to the

local disaster emergency and operating under Alamosa County’s emergency

operations plan will allow a more effective response.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Commissioners of

Alamosa County, Colorado:

THAT, the Alamosa County Board of County Commissioners confirms,

determines, and declares that the likelihood of the number of COVID-19 cases

occurring within the State of Colorado and spreading to Alamosa County is high,

and that such likelihood constitutes a local disaster emergency which warrants an

emergency response and furnishing aid and assistance to affected portions of the

community.

THAT, the Board recognizes that Alamosa County Public Health and

Environment (“ACDPHE”), by and through its director and in coordination with

the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which is leading

the statewide response to COVID-19, is currently incident command for the

response to COVID-19 within Alamosa County. ACDPHE has authority under

state law to issue orders and guidance, and take other actions as necessary

to protect the public health, safety, and welfare. The Board directs county staff

to take such actions to effectuate the orders and guidance of ACDPHE as

necessary, in consultation with the Board where appropriate.

THAT, the Board recognizes the Sheriff of Alamosa County is a

constitutional officer charged with maintaining public order within Alamosa

County and is authorized under state law to enforce the orders of ACCDPHE

as well as other governmental directives related to disasters and emergencies, all

as reasonably necessary to protect the safety of the public. The Board

requests the Sheriff to enforce the orders of ACDPHE and continue taking

other actions as necessary to ensure the safety of the public during this local

disaster emergency.

THAT, the Emergency Manager for Alamosa County is coordinating the

countywide response to the disaster, including with partners of Alamosa County

such as the towns within the county; first responders; human services,

healthcare and emergency medical services providers; providers of critical

infrastructure for the community; and other providers of important and

necessary services to the public. The Board directs that the Emergency

Manager will continue to work closely with these partners to ensure a coordinated

response throughout the county, and to continue to utilize Alamosa County staff

and other resources as necessary for an effective response, in consultation

with the Board as appropriate.

THAT, the Alamosa County Administrator manages the general

operations of the county and serves as a liaison to municipalities within the

county and others. The Board directs the County Administrator to continue

coordinating with internal and external partners and to direct county staff as

appropriate and necessary to address the local disaster emergency. The

Board also directs the County Administrator to work with directors and

managers within the county to address staff illness, sick time, working

remotely, and similar topics to ensure the continuity of operations within the

county in consultation with the Board as appropriate.

THAT, this local disaster emergency will continue until April 22, 2020, unless

sooner amended, extended, or rescinded by the Board.

THAT, this Resolution and Declaration shall be promptly filed with the Alamosa

County Clerk and Recorder and with the Office of Emergency Management.

THAT, this Resolution and Declaration is necessary for the public health, safety

and welfare of the citizens of the County of Alamosa, State of Colorado.

Public Health Order

Pursuant to Section 25-1- 506 (2)(a)(I), Colorado Revised Statutes, this Order is effective

within the entirety of Alamosa County, including all towns within the county, until April

22, 2020.

On March 10, 2020, the Governor of Colorado declared a state of emergency related to

the presence of COVID-19 in the State. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed that COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the State of

Colorado.

On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a National Emergency

due to COVID-19.

On March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance to

cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States for 8 weeks.

On March 16, 2020, the President of the United States issued a statement including

recommendations to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.

The age, condition, and health of a significant portion of the population in Alamosa

County places it at risk of serious health complications, including death, from COVID-19.

Although most individuals who contract COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, persons

with mild symptoms and asymptomatic persons with COVID-19 may place other

PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT

vulnerable members of the public at significant risk. A large surge in the number of

persons with serious infections can compromise the ability of the healthcare system to

deliver necessary healthcare to the public.

The limitations on large gatherings and the use of social distancing decrease the risk of

COVID-19 transmission to our most vulnerable populations, and is especially

important for people who are over 60 years old and those with chronic health

conditions due to their higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19. This Order

will reduce the likelihood that many individuals will be exposed to COVID-19 at a single event, and will, therefore, slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

This Order is adopted pursuant to the legal authority set forth in sections 25-1-506 and

25-1-508, Colorado Revised Statutes. Under these laws, the local Public Health Director

has the duty to investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable

diseases and conditions affecting public health and to establish, maintain, and

enforce isolation and quarantine, and in pursuance thereof, and for this purpose only,

to exercise physical control over property and over the persons of the people within the

jurisdiction of the agency as the agency may find necessary for the protection of the

public health. All events must follow the requirements stated herein.

DEFINITIONS

For purposes of this Order:

An “Event” is a group gathering that takes place indoors or outdoors with a capacity of

30 or more persons and that have 30 or more persons present in one room or

continuous space.

“Event” does not include activities that are primarily individual or occur in small groups

or in non-congregate settings, such as places of employment and restaurants, as long as

persons present are able to maintain adequate social distancing, as well as hygiene and

sanitization recommendations as defined below. At this point, this order also does not

pertain to schools or homeless shelters or religious services.

ORDER

A. All events 30 people or more are prohibited.

B. Events with fewer than 30 attendees should follow the following steps to mitigate

risks:

1. Older adults (age 60 and older) and individuals with underlying medical conditions that

are at increased risk of serious COVID-19, including employees, are encouraged not

to attend.

2. Social distancing recommendations should be met. These include limiting contact of people within 6 feet from each other for 10 minutes or longer, and any

other applicable guidance. See Section Ill, below.

3. Individuals who are sick should stay home.

4. Proper hand hygiene and sanitation should be readily available to all

attendees and employees.

5. Environmental cleaning guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC) should be followed (e.g., clean and disinfect high touch

surfaces daily or more frequently).

FURTHER GUIDANCE

Further guidelines for social distance are available at:

https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019 -novel -coronavirus

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR ALL PERSONS AFFECTED BY THIS ORDER

Alamosa County Public Health is tasked with protecting the health and welfare of the citizens of

Alamosa County, Colorado by investigating and controlling the causes of epidemic and communicable

disease. This Order is necessary to control any potential transmission of disease to others. See section

25-1-508, Colorado Revised Statutes. Immediate issuance of this Order is necessary for the

preservation of public health, safety, or welfare.

Any person aggrieved and affected by this Order has the right to request judicial review by filing an

action with the Alamosa County District Court within 90 days of the date of this Order, pursuant to

section 25-1-515, Colorado Revised Statutes. However, you must continue to obey the terms of this

Order while your request for review is pending.

This Order is in effect until midnight Mountain Standard Time April 22, 2020, and is subject to

continuing review by the Public Health Director consistent with recommendations from the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We will not be actively searching for violations, but if we receive reports of events contrary to

this order, we will reach out to the organizer to educate, provide guidance, and enforce the

provisions of this order, if necessary.

Advertisement


Video News
More In Home