Life on corona quarantine: Everything is changing, even the way we do government in the era of COVID-19

by Bill Knowles


LAS ANIMAS — Following President Trump’s March 13 declaration of a national emergency in the face of the growing numbers of people in the country being diagnosed as having COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close down in an effort to protect the public health. The order also targets gyms, theaters, and casinos across the state to close on March 16.

The World Journal was curious how this is working out for Trinidad and Las Animas County.

Public safety is the primary concern of governments, the reason the order was issued in the first place. When someone calls 9-1-1, they will hear the dispatcher ask questions of not only the nature of the emergency but about the health of individuals in the area of the emergency; questions about fevers, headaches, shortness of breath.

If someone in the area of the emergency has those symptoms, the emergency responders are immediately notified so they can put on masks and gloves to protect themselves. This helps protect the responders to the possibility of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Whether the responders are sheriff, police, fire, or ambulance they will be wearing masks and gloves if there is a positive response to the questions on fevers, headaches, shortness of breath.

Schools throughout the county went on spring break early with classes slated to resume by the end of the month. Trinidad School kids and their parents or caregivers can go to a designated place to pick up a meal if they’re on the lunch program and to pick up assignment packets.

The World Journal was unable to contact the other schools in the county because phone service is in high demand and some calls just couldn’t get through.

Businesses in the city that aren’t under the close or restriction order are grocery stores, markets, convenience stores, pharmacies, drug stores, and food pantries.

Room service in hotels and motels, healthcare facilities, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenal care facilities don’t fall under the Health Department’s order.

Trinidad City Hall is closed to the public. If permits are needed customers can apply online at the city’s website. Other city operations such as the library, both the Community and Senior Centers are closed along with the Welcome Center and Municipal Court.

At the county, the driver’s license office was closed by the state for 30-days, but everything else is open.

Another problem encountered is with the phone systems as noted above. People are staying home and doing their work on computers and their cell phones. This is causing a heavier than normal load on the infrastructure. Phone calls can’t get through because all circuits are busy or they’re being dropped as the load grows during the course of the day.

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