YOUR COVID-19 UPDATE:  Death toll rises

• A second COVID-19-related death has been confirmed in Montrose County. The victim was a 72-year-old man with additional medical conditions.

The other confirmed COVID-19 death is that of a 61-year-old woman with an underlying condition who was receiving care at San Juan Living Center. The center said two of its residents had died due to the virus; the coroner did not confirm a second such death there. The official death toll here as of Monday was two, the 61-year-old and the 72-year-old.

• Gov. Jared Polis has extended the state's stay-at-home order until April 26. He stressed the importance of staying home for all but critical activity and asked Coloradans to "dig deep" for the resolve to carry on. At the start of the virus' appearance in Colorado, the number of cases was doubling every 1.5 days and it is now doubling every six days, showing its transmission is slowing. Polis has also urged members of the public to wear cloth masks when they are outside of their homes.

• As of Monday, 12 people were hospitalized in Montrose County because of the virus. There were 38 positive tests — 16 males and 22 females, with patients in their 20s through their 90s — of 413 tests conducted. Fifty-eight of those tests are pending; 308 were negative and nine were inconclusive.

The recent deaths sadden county public health officials who reiterate that people need to stay home and if they are sick, must self-quarantine. Call your doctor if you have COVID-19 symptoms, which broadly are cough, fever and difficulty breathing. Public health continues testing people who have medical orders for the tests, which are not available on-demand.

• Urgent need for Ziploc-style 1-gallon bags: The Montrose County School District needs the bags in order to continue serving meals to students during the pandemic. Deliver unused 1-gallon bags to Montrose High School (there will be a table set up at the student drop-off site on South Fifth Street) from 8 a.m. - noon through April 14. Questions: 970-293-7929.

• The county’s public information line for COVID-19 is 970-252-4545, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. The line is being staffed by Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse volunteers.

• The Montrose Police Department and Montrose County Sheriff’s Office are not conducting random traffic stops to enforce the statewide stay at home order.

• The Montrose Community Foundation has established a fund to help organizations that are helping area communities affected by the pandemic. Donate to the cause by visiting montrosecf.org.

• The City of Montrose is offering business relief package, including a 90-day sales tax deferral for all businesses with $2 million or less in gross annual sales, and interest-free loans not requiring repayment for 12 months to small businesses, plus a marketing cooperative grant program. Info: cityofmontrose.org/covid19.

• For West End business info, including a list of businesses that are open and delivering, visit www.choosewestend.org or email Deana Sheriff at dsheriff@choosewestend.org.

• The Center For Mental Health has added resources to its crisis line: 970-252-6220 or text TALK to 38255.

• The state and the county reiterate the importance of social distancing — maintaining at least 6 feet between each other when possible — and frequent, proper hand washing.

• Ways to help: The State Emergency Operations Center is coordinating donations and vendors who can provide supplies of personal protection equipment. Visit colorado.gov/cobeoc/business-members-and-vendors to begin helping. To donate or volunteer to those affected by the virus, visit www.helpcolorado.com. There is an urgent need for blood. Visit vitalent.org to sign up.

• The state Department of Natural Resources, the parent entity of Colorado Parks and Wildlife and other agencies, has shifted to remote operations. CPW is already conducting most business remotely, although the entrance fee to state parks has not been waived; at Ridgway State Park, it is $9 per vehicle. Other DNR entities now doing business online and by phone are: The executive director’s office in Denver; Colorado Avalanche Information Center; Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety; Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission; State Land Board; Colorado Water Conservation Board; Division of Water Resources; Colorado State Forest Service.

• The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are now distributing the state’s third allotment of personal protective gear from the strategic national stockpile. Gear received: N95 masks; surgical masks; face shields; surgical gowns; gloves and coveralls. The gear will be distributed to all county health departments and tribes based on the most need and using these factors: county population; portion of population older than 65, proportional to the state population; the number of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals; if the county or tribe has received supplies previously.

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