COVID-19 update for April 15: Grant funding announced for downtown businesses


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Some protective measures to limit the spread of the virus, like masks, could be in place for a while. - ALISSA SMITH
  • Alissa Smith
  • Some protective measures to limit the spread of the virus, like masks, could be in place for a while.

As of April 15, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was reporting 8,280 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in the state. There have been 1,636 hospitalizations and 357 deaths in Colorado. That data is current through April 14.

El Paso County has had 668 cases and 43 deaths.

At a news conference April 15, before that data was released, Gov. Jared Polis said it's possible the state is seeing a plateau — the "flattening of the curve" that health officials hoped to accomplish through the stay-at-home order. However, the increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths from April 13 to April 14 was slightly larger than the day-to-day increase over the past few days.

Whenever the current public health orders are lifted, Polis said, some protective measures will remain in place to ensure social distancing and limit the spread of the virus until there's a vaccine, which could take a year or longer.

The Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority (DDA) announced a new fund with $400,000 in grants available for small businesses like restaurants, retailers and art galleries.

Downtown businesses must apply by 5 p.m. April 22 to be considered for grants ranging from $2,500 to $25,000, according to a statement issued by the DDA. Grant applications will be evaluated by a review committee made up of community members, and the DDA Board of Directors will make the final funding determinations, which will be announced in May.

"COVID-19 has proved especially devastating to restaurants, retailers, salons, galleries and other storefront businesses that are the heart and soul of our city center," Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of Downtown Partnership, said in the statement. "Our goal is to provide near-term financial relief to these businesses that contribute so much to our vibrancy."

The DDA is funded by a 5-mill tax levy (about $75 annually for a $150,000 property) within the downtown district, as well as Tax Increment Financing. TIF, the increase in property tax revenues created by development in the district, is deposited in a special fund that can be leveraged for projects like the COVID-19 relief grants.

For more information or to apply, visit

Individuals, businesses and organizations interested in contributing to the fund may contact Edmonson at

El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Hopkins, who died April 1 after suffering from COVID-19 symptoms, was "more likely than not" infected with the virus while in the line of duty at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center, where he worked as an intake and release officer, according to a statement from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

That determination was made through an epidemiological investigation performed by El Paso County Public Health.

The investigation "identified that Deputy Hopkins had direct contact during his work shift with other Sheriff Office employee(s) who were symptomatic and subsequently had laboratory confirmed COVID-19 disease," the statement says, quoting El Paso County Public Health. "Investigation did not identify a reasonable or known alternative contact as the source of his infection."

The sheriff's office says it will provide a full police honors service for Hopkins "once the all clear is given to do so."

Donations to will benefit the family, the sheriff's office says.

The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) released new data on the daily number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19, which Gov. Polis says includes around 90 percent of hospitals.

"Colorado hospitals report early signs of a leveling off of patients being hospitalized with COVID-19," Dr. Darlene Tad-y, CHA's vice president of clinical affairs, said in a statement.

According to the CHA, the number of hospitalizations had grown steadily from mid-March until this week.

Here's a graph of the data for the past week, which was all that CHA provided in its April 15 statement:

In total, the state has seen 1,636 people hospitalized from COVID-19. (The data above shows the number of people in hospitals on any given day.)

So far, the CHA reports that hospitals have had sufficient ventilators and critical care beds to support COVID-19 patients, but "hospitals must continue to carefully manage their personal protective equipment (PPE) and some medications, as the supply chain for those materials has been disrupted and is currently unreliable."

"Coloradans are doing an extraordinary job of social distancing, leading to this flattening of our curve," Dr. Tad-y said. "We urge all Coloradans to continue this important work, just as our health care providers will continue their important work caring for our patients. We're all in this together and doing our part – and we hope we can continue to report numbers heading in the right direction."

The Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center is holding a community diaper drive at 530 Communications Circle on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations of diapers, baby formula, wipes, Pediasure and baby food will be collected for local families.

Donations of cleaning supplies, gloves and toilet paper for child care facilities can be dropped off at Early Connections Learning Centers, 104 E. Rio Grande St., through April 17 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

For those in need, Pikes Peak United Way can make referrals for food, housing, utilities, home repair, emergency shelter, clothing, transportation, military assistance, taxes, mental health, senior issues, medical care and more. Call 2-1-1 or visit

People who need support for any mental health, substance use or emotional concern can call 1-844-493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255 to speak with a trained professional from Colorado Crisis Services.

The Colorado Springs Airport is set to receive more than $24 million from the coronavirus relief bill, out of nearly $10 billion in total relief funding for eligible U.S airports.

"These are unprecedented times for the aviation industry," Greg Phillips, director of aviation for the Colorado Springs Airport, said in a statement announcing the funding. "This relief package will not only provide financial aid to families and businesses across the community that are impacted by COVID-19, but to COS and to airports across the country, with the goal of ensuring that we continue to operate safely and efficiently and that we are well prepared to support American travel again after the crisis ends."

The funding is calculated based on each airport's percentage of enplanements (the number of people who boarded an aircraft) during calendar year 2018, debt service in fiscal year 2018, and the 2018 ratio of unrestricted reserves to debt service.


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