COVID-19: State’s first death in El Paso County and 72 cases in Colorado as of 12 p.m. March 13


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was counting 72 presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 as of 12 p.m. March 13. The state’s first death tied to the novel coronavirus occurred March 13, when an El Paso County woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions passed away.

“While we were expecting this day, it doesn’t make it any less difficult to hear and share this news,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement announcing the woman’s death. “As a state we are in mourning and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the Coloradan we lost.”

COVID-19 is a member of the coronavirus family of viruses, named for the crown-like spikes on their surfaces. Some coronaviruses lead to the common cold, while others — such as SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and COVID-19 — can lead to more serious symptoms in some people.

So far, two of Colorado’s presumptive positive COVID-19 cases have occurred in El Paso County, according to CDPHE.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever, runny nose, cough and breathing trouble. For most people, the symptoms are mild, but those with other medical complications are at higher risk of developing more severe symptoms such as pneumonia.

CDPHE advises people having symptoms to first call a health care provider, clinic or hospital. A provider can help you figure out whether to get tested for COVID-19.

For the duration of Gov. Jared Polis’ emergency order, the state Division of Motor Vehicles has authorized counties to waive late fees on vehicle registration renewals.

The DMV offers many services online, including driver license renewals, records requests, ticket payments and more.

Silver Key Senior Services, which serves seniors in the Pikes Peak Region, announced a temporary change to its lunch programs in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For the time being, Silver Key will allow seniors to pick up “grab-and-go” lunches from normal community locations.

However, according to a March 13 statement from Silver Key, seniors will be allowed to lunch at the normal Connections Café locations if they so desire.

“This elective option was made after careful contemplation and discussion with experts and health officials to find the best solution to senior food insecurity needs as well as to avoid excessive social isolation,” the statement explains. “Those who choose to dine at the Café, will be met with signage and informed staff who will advise about the need to be mindful of best practices in illness prevention including social distancing. Moreover, we will be increasing our cleaning protocols above and beyond our normal high-quality practices.”

A list of lunch sites is available here.

Silver Key has suspended non-essential group gatherings, which include most Active Living meetings, the statement says. However, the nonprofit plans to continue services such as home-delivered meals, Reserve & Ride transportation, and food assistance, with extra safety protocols.

View Silver Key’s full response plan online

Seniors in need can call Silver Key Senior Services’ Silver Line at 719-884-2300.

Meanwhile, the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department announced March 13 that the Deerfield Hills, Meadows Park and Hillside community centers will suspend their programming starting March 16, until March 30. The facilities will undergo a deep cleaning during this time.

Youth and adult recreation services and activities will also be suspended until April 6, the Parks department said.

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum remains open for now, but hands-on exhibits have closed.

To reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, health experts urge people to:

  • Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, or use your inner elbow or sleeve.
  • Avoid directly touching frequently contacted surfaces, such as elevator buttons or door handles, in public spaces. (Use a tissue to cover your hand or finger if you have to touch something.)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you’re sick, and keep your children home if they are sick.
  • Clean surfaces in your home, and personal items such as cell phones, using regular household products.

Helpful resources:

For the latest COVID-19 information from CDPHE, visit

For updated case totals, visit CDPHE’s Fast Facts page.

If you have general questions about COVID-19, call the CO-HELP call line at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911, for answers in many languages, or email for answers in English.