SLV Emergency Daily Update


SAN LUIS VALLEY — Today brought sad news of the first COVID-19 related fatality in the San Luis Valley, a resident of Alamosa County. Hearts go out to the family and friends who have been impacted. This sobering news comes as a reminder to all that this difficult journey has not yet reached its conclusion. 

As of today, there have been 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the San Luis Valley. Hospitalization has been required in 8 of those cases. These confirmed numbers do not reflect those who were not sick enough to meet the criteria for testing. It is expected that the numbers will continue to grow as pending test results are returned. The numbers seen today are a reflection of those who were exposed to the virus 2-3 weeks ago, and were confirmed by testing or identified through a public health investigation. 

Steps that have been taken over the past few weeks (such as social distancing and the stay at home order) have had a positive impact on slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our area. While the spread has slowed down, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe to return to a normal way of life. Through the self-reporting survey, it is clear that there are still many in the area experiencing symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. Most people who are exposed and develop symptoms are not tested, but still need to complete self-isolation at home. 

Now, more than ever, community, strength, and resilience are being tested in new ways that force everyone to rethink how to support one another. People want to help. And they are helping, in amazing ways, whether it be by sewing masks, helping those at risk get groceries, or other ways that prioritize staying at home. This is the best contribution that most can make right now. 

In addition to the public health orders from the state, there may be more restrictive orders in place within counties. Make sure that you understand the current public health orders for the county in which you live and work in. Check your county website for these local orders. SLV Emergency will be posting links to these orders at SLVEmergency.org on Thursday. 

What else can people do? 

The SLV Business Group Response Team would like to present SLV SUPPORT LOCAL, a new website dedicated to promoting local businesses in the San Luis Valley. A great team of folks including local lenders, Economic Development teams, Chambers of Commerce, Colorado Housing & Finance Authority, Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Small Business Development Center have consolidated to provide links to local businesses who are STILL providing online services, classes, meetings, and takeout orders. There are also opportunities to purchase tickets, gift cards, and tours to be used later. Jason Medina, Director of San Luis Valley Small Business Development Center said, “We thank you for continuing to support local! Have a little extra to give? Consider sponsoring a local business.” All of this great information and more can be found at https://slvsupportlocal.com/

The Rio Grande National Forest announced an order on 4/7/2020 to temporarily close developed recreation sites and to implement fire restrictions. Developed recreation sites are temporarily closed while dispersed camping, hiking and river uses are allowed as long as people are maintaining social distancing and staying aware of how they may impact local EMS services. Closed developed recreation sites include campgrounds, day-use areas, picnic areas, and any other constructed facility amenities – such as potable water stations, fire rings/grills, picnic tables, restroom facilities with flush or vaulted toilets, trash cans and trash collection services. Parking facilities, trails and trailheads remain open. Dispersed camping includes camping on a national forest or grassland where recreation facilities or services are not provided. The Fire Restrictions are as follows: 

Fire Restrictions

Effective immediately until rescinded, the following is prohibited:

  1. Igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves.
  2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.

The following persons are exempt from fire restrictions:

  1. Persons with a Forest Permit, Form FS-7700-48, specifically exempting them from the effect of this Order in the areas listed above.
  2. Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty is exempt from Prohibitions.
  3. Persons using pressurized liquid or gas devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) with shut-off valves in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials are exempt from Prohibition #1.
  4. Residents, owners or lessees within the areas listed above who are using a fire in a permanent dwelling with an effective and properly installed USDA- or SAE- approved spark arrestor, are exempt from Prohibition #1.

Fire restrictions enhance public safety, protect natural and cultural resources and help prevent human-caused wildfires. Several criteria are used to determine when to implement fire restrictions, including fire activity levels, current and predicted weather, fuel moisture and the availability of emergency and firefighting resources. Additional restrictions may be required if conditions warrant.

Entering upon closed areas or igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or smoking on national forests and grasslands is a violation of Federal law and may result in consequent fines and possible jail time. 

For more information on the closures or restrictions, visit the source at Rio Grande National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/riogrande/news-events/?cid=FSEPRD721777 

This is a stressful time for all. If you are experiencing a crisis, please call 719-589-3671 or call the crisis hotline 1 (844) 493-TALK (8255). For after business hours assistance, please call 911 or the crisis hotline 1 (844) 493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to receive mental health crisis support.

SLV COVID general questions 719-480-8719 for English, or 719-315-5019 for Spanish. You may also email your questions to [email protected]

CO HELP line 1-877-462-2911 (English and Spanish) for Colorado general information.

Colorado updates and guidance: https://covid19.colorado.gov 

CDC updates and guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus

Small Business Resources - www.choosecolorado.com

Volunteer or Donate - www.helpcoloradonow.org 

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