By Pam Zubeck

The second death in El Paso County attributed to COVID-19 was reported March 19, a male in his 60s who had contact with the woman in her 80s who died last week from the virus.

El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan expressed condolences to his family and stressed her team is “working around the clock to take proactive steps to help limit and slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

From the release:

Now more than ever, we want to remind our citizens to remain vigilant about protecting yourself, your family, and the community. Continue to practice social distancing by avoiding public spaces and social gatherings with more than ten people.If you are experiencing mild symptoms or suspect you were exposed, please stay home and avoid contact with others. Only call your health care provider if your symptoms become more severe, especially if you are experiencing shortness of breath. If at any time you feel you are having a medical emergency, call 911, and tell the dispatcher your symptoms.Testing will be prioritized for older adults and those with underlying health conditions, those who are hospitalized, and health care workers. At this time, not everyone with symptoms will be tested in an effort to protect our most vulnerable populations and health care workers.

The coronavirus continues to disrupt lives, but agencies and businesses are stepping in to ease those changes. Here’s a roundup of new local developments:

• The Colorado Division of Professions and Occupations under the Department of Regulatory Agencies will expedite licensing to increase workforce capacity to address this emergency. This includes the temporary suspension of the application of laws, rules and policies that will allow the state to expand its testing capacity for coronavirus and ensure ongoing business continuity in the delivery of healthcare services. The emergency measures include key provisions for renewal waivers, expedited licensure, waiver of supervision requirements, and expanded scope of practice for select health care providers such as physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and respiratory therapists.

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• The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Colorado small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). To apply online, click here. For information, call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

• The Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC is trying to compile resources for businesses who have scaled back or closed.

• Some businesses are creating special deals or services to try to help the community. One is Aspen Auto, which offers up to 25 percent off any service or repair, and another is ViewHouse Colorado Springs, which donated 50 boxed meals on March 19 Silver Key Senior Services’ Meals on Wheels program. Kangaroo Coffee is open at all its locations for drive-thru service and has discounted its whole/ground beans for brewing at home. Lots of other businesses are offering free delivery, discounts and other specials.

• The county’s Department of Human Services is shifting to limited in-person services at the Citizen Service Center building. Only people without internet access or other extreme circumstances can obtain services there. The Child Support Services kiosk in the building is accessible for payments, but all other business will be conducted by phone. The Center on Fathering is shifting to a model focused on phone calls and other tech tools to maintain social distancing protocols.

• The Colorado Public Utilities Commission urged residents to check with transportation companies that provide regular scheduled service in Colorado to be sure the service is operating as scheduled. Disruptions are occurring in some services due to the virus. Customers experiencing difficulty in getting in contact with a carrier may reach out to the PUC for assistance at 303-894-2000, option 4.

• The toilet paper fairy is at work. Several residents have reported packages of TP at their front door, unsolicited.

• PikeRide offers delivery service, delivery options and free bike share to community members during COVID-19 pandemic in Colorado Springs. Info@PikeRide.org.