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El Paso County Commissioner says a plan is in the works to open the county beyond Colorado’s ‘safer at home’ order

Dr. Leon Kelly speaks to El Paso County comissioners

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- El Paso County health officials say the community is ready to open back up and is prepared for an influx of COVID-19 cases.

"We can open the businesses tomorrow, open them all. It does not matter if people are too scared to go to those restaurants, if they're too scared to go to those shops. Our job is to prove we are ready. El Paso County is ready to go," said El Paso County Deputy Health Director, Dr. Leon Kelly to county commissioners on Thursday morning.

KRDO asked Governor Jared Polis at his remote press briefing today if a measure like the one suggested by Dr. Kelly is possible and what steps the county should take to move forward.

"We have a process where counties that have a handle on it and are able to do the testing and the tracing and early warning systems. There are two counties that have already received that," said Governor Polis, "certainly we have not yet received any requests from El Paso County about any different timeline but they are opening stores in El Paso County today and salons."

El Paso County Commission Chair Mark Waller told KRDO, the health department is working on a variant to send to the Governor's office.

Waller explained the plan would open the county up beyond the Governor's 'Safer at home' order, but it first needs to be signed off by the health department, local hospitals, and then commissioners before it goes to Polis.

Polis said Eagle and Mesa counties are the only two who have been through the approval process so far.

There are 995 cases of COVID-19 in El Paso County according to the county's interactive dashboard. 208 people are hospitalized and 71 people have died.

Kelly explained to the county leaders, the virus isn't going anywhere.

"It will continue to be with us. We have to be able to live with it and manage it in a way that doesn't have all the other negative fallouts we have experienced," he said.

Watch the full story on KRDO Newschannel 13 at 5p.m.

Colorado Springs / Coronavirus / Local / News / Video

Krystal Story

Krystal is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Krystal here.



  1. He’s the county Coroner. Isn’t that a conflict of interest?

    “The Grim Reaper says ‘We can open the businesses! Open them all!’ “

    1. You can always stay home; have you thought of that? But yes it’s much better to force people into something they don’t want to do than give them options!

    2. Last Thursday I watched the corner haul off 2 dead people. neither one was covid related. One elderly lady in a car reck . One was my neighbor of a OD. No worries the Corner is plenty busy with out the covid.

  2. Hell yeah! People can start going back to normal. I’m in construction and havnt missed a day of work. Same with my wife in optical. Neither one of our employers think we’re anything special working out in this world. No one is doing their immune systems any good couping themselves up at home also.
    We can play numbers all day long what you could die from at any given time. Anyone that is afraid of this, build a nuclear bomb shelter, order 2 years worth of freeze dried food, water, and a deck of playing cards and I’ll see you when I see you…

    1. Agreed, I to work Construction. Everyone is showing up every day, no one is dead. Why do you ask. Because us in the construction industry are strong, and healthy their for immune. In my opinion that’s why the entire economy is resting on are backs. While the unhealthy, and elderly hide in the home waiting to die. We as workers face it head on and live…

  3. “There are 995 cases of COVID-19 in El Paso County according to the county’s interactive dashboard. 208 people are hospitalized and 71 people have died.” This out of a population of 720,000 people. Certainly, not to mention the 127,000 jobless claims as of three weeks ago.
    These are the numbers:
    720,000 residents
    127,000+ jobless (21.4 % of the population)
    995 cases of COIV-19 (0.00138% of the population)
    71 deaths

    Is the El Paso County Deputy Health Director really out of line here? I don’t think so.

    1. Why should we all suffer because old people are dead, weren’t they going to be dead soon anyway?

    2. Thanks for those numbers Jim-ski. Seems alot feed into the doom, gloom and constant projections of death if we dont stay locked up until we this virus ‘goes away’. How do we develop a immunity? Or do we have to do this every year now? Or everytime a new virus comes out?

  4. Finally, out of the fog of covid comes common sense. Peoples right to live in fear does not trump my right to live!!

  5. By The Percentages,People dying of the Chinese Wuhan Novel Corvid 19 virus Is NOT EVEN 1%, Any Where! The ‘actions’ of ‘the government’ Are NOT Justified!! Hysteria, Over-Reaction, Snitching, and DICTATING how ‘the people’ May behave is Over-reaching! If you subscribe to all this, please feel free to move to a More Restrictive country such as China or Cuba! Otherwise, Recall or Vote OUT the leaders who WON’T follow the Will Of The People. Any person uncomfortable with being among the masses, No one is Forcing You to leave your cave, but don’t expect anyone ELSE to support you with food, money, or entertainments that you haven’t earned by the work & sweat of your own-self!

  6. This is not what he said. You have edited it to serve your purposes. You KRDO will have Covid deaths on your hands.

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