Tipton holds telephone town hall with updates to COVID-19 response

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 10:29 PM MDT
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On Thursday Congressman Scott Tipton along with statewide and local experts gave updates on the response to COVID-19.

Tipton says he has introduced a bill that aims to improve the federal response to mass emergencies.

“My bill will require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to share data with the Department of Health and Human Services to be able to identify hot spots with increased populations of elderly and homeless and where they reside,” says Tipton.

Tipton mentioned that in addition to the legislation passed recently in Congress they are working on details of a third package, saying it is likely to be voted on in the next week or two.

Director of Mesa County Public Health, Jeff Kuhr gave up-to-date numbers on pending tests within the area.

“In Mesa County we have collected 165 samples to be tested and of those I would estimate that only about 60 of the 165 have been tested,” says Kuhr.

He also explained a shortage on specimen kits that are necessary for testing.

“Right now in Mesa County we have about 50 swabs and we’re trying to conduct as many as 25 tests per day, so that’s how far behind we are. And based on the emails that I’ve received from across the state that’s the position that mostly everyone is in,” says Kuhr.

The state’s National Guard explained their primary mission: to support the Colorado Department of Health & Environment with a mobile COVID-19 testing site.

“We were in Telluride on Tuesday and we conducted testing in Pueblo today the same group will be in Buena Vista on Saturday and then in Montrose this coming Monday. This is a scheduled event. Each person who shows up must have a prior appointment and a doctor’s order,” says Greg Dorman, Resource and Legislative Director, Colorado Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

The small businesses administration says they are using their economic injury disaster loan program to help entrepreneurs across the state.

“The loan offers up to $2 million in assistance per small business. These loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that couldn’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact,” says Dan Nordberg, Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration.

Nordberg explained this program is what is traditionally used to respond in natural disasters. Congress gave them the authority last week to utilize this program The interest rate for the small businesses is 3.75%. This program also applies to private non-profits. The interest rate for private non-profits is 2.75%.

Nordberg says that all Colorado counties all across the state with small businesses are eligible to use the program starting now.

According to MCPH in Colorado 2,952 tests have been run.

277 have been positive and there 38 people currently hospitalized.