Your COVID-19 Update for March 24

This wry sign hangs on the door of Chow Down Pet Supply in Montrose, reminding people about the importance of "flattening the curve" of disease spread, so that COVID-19 does not overwhelm health care resources. (Original artist unknown)

Here is a summary of coronavirus-19 information for the day. You can find all of our COVID-related content, for free (no paywall) at montrospress.com.

Current data:

The state reports: 11 deaths; 912 cases; 84 hospitalizations; virus confirmed in 35 counties (at last report, four in Montrose County); 7,701 people tested; seven outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities. Note: Data reflect information available as of 4 p.m. the day prior. The information is subject to change, as more tests take place.

Closures/restrictions/aid/info:

• Montrose Memorial Hospital has moved outpatient lab procedures to Mountain View Therapy Pediatric Rehabilitation, 645 S. Fifth St., across from the San Juan Cancer Center; operating hours are 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Outpatient procedures include INR draws for patients on blood thinners, thyroid tests, complete blood count tests and other tests ordered by providers. The hospital has also canceled non-urgent elective surgeries until at least April 14.

• The Montrose Community Foundation has created the Montrose Emergency Relief Fund to provide help to nonprofits in the county that are being affected by COVID-19 and the economic consequences. Grant applications open March 30; email grants.montrosecf@gmail.com. To donate, visit montrosecf.org or mail a check made out to MCF, P.O. Box 3020, Montrose, CO 81402.

• The state of Colorado discourages open burning during the COVID-29 response, as the virus is of particular threat to those with heart or respiratory illness.

• Montrose County Clerk and Recorder’s Office is now available only by appointment, 970-249-3362.

•The Montrose County Treasurer will not collect additional fees or interest on 2019 property taxes due April 30, if paid in May. If more time is needed, contact 970-249-3565 or email etreasurer@montrosecounty.net.

• The Montrose Community Recreation Center is closed, as is the Field House.

• The City of Montrose buildings and facilities are closed. The municipal election will take place as scheduled on April 7, but by mail or ballot-drop into the secure box outside of the Montrose County historic courthouse on South First Street.

• Montrose County buildings are closed to the public.

• Montrose Regional Library District, including the bookmobile van, are closed. More: montroselibrary.org.

• Valley Symphony Association has suspended its season.

• Hot lunches served Monday - Friday at United Methodist Church, through Shepherd’s Hand, are suspended, as the church has halted in-person gatherings there. Shepherd’s Hand founder Garey Martinez says he will be making additional food available through his commodities distribution at Cedar Creek Church at 222 S. Townsend Ave. This is available Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., with Saturdays recently added. Homeless individuals can also pick up packs of foods that do not require cooking.

• The Mexican American Development Authority is closed to foot traffic.

• The Town of Olathe has locked its public buildings and is conducting business by phone. Employees are still working and Olathe police officers remain on patrol. Payments can be placed in drop boxes. Reach the town at 970-323-4357 or dispatch, 970-249-9110.

•The Gunnison Ranger District of the Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Grand Mesa National Forests closed March 20 to walk-in traffic and will not hold in-person meetings until further notice. Inquiries may be made by calling 970-641-0471.

• Delta-Montrose Electric Association closed its offices to public traffic and suspended all residential, small commercial and agriculture service disconnections for non-payment. That is also the case for DMEA’s subsidiary, Elevate Fiber. Members experiencing financial hardship need to contact DMEA immediately. Its offices are closed to the public. Reach DMEA at 877-687-3632.

•Uninsured Coloradans can enroll in Connect For Health Colorado’s public health exchange for a special two-week period due to the outbreak; this enrollment period ends April 3. The exchange is where people can sign up for coverage in the marketplace and see whether they qualify for subsidies. See ConnectforHealthCO.com or call 855-752-6749.

•Energy Outreach Colorado has released additional funds to help agencies across the state that assist people who have trouble paying their energy bills or heating their homes. Call 1-866-432-8435 or visit www.EnergyOutreach.org.

•The Small Business Administration is able to make loans to small businesses and nonprofits for purposes such as making payroll and satisfying bills; loans come with repayment options of up to 30 years. Visit sba.gov/disaster for more information.

• By state order, all bars, restaurants, coffeehouses and gyms are closed. Many Montrose eateries and coffeehouses are making pick-up window options available and residents are encouraged to support local businesses. Additionally, nail and hair salons, tattoo parlors, spas and similar businesses have been ordered to close.

• All schools are closed.

• Risk reduction: Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick. Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.

•For more information about COVID-19, visit montrosepress.com/news/coronavirus/ and check out the “CONTACT INFORMATION” box on the right side, which lists official websites, a link to the CDC, frequently asked questions, and the state hotline, 1-877-462-2911. There are also links to more localized information from Montrose County, the City of Montrose and the school district.

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