The city of Durango and local organizations offered step-by-step guidance for those seeking mental health services and food insecurity support because of the coronavirus pandemic during a city update video released Friday.
Durango has entered its eighth week since Colorado reported its first COVID-19 cases. Since then, 12,256 Coloradans have contracted the illness as of Friday. Of those positive cases, 59 people live in La Plata County and eight are in Archuleta County, as of Friday. In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order, which began March 26,is set to end Sunday. The safer-at-home order, which offers a phased reopening for businesses, will begin Monday.
In a short update about the safer-at-home order, San Juan Basin Public Health emphasized that more information will come from the governor’s office next week – in the meantime, people need to wear face coverings and stay at home, said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH.
“It seems like safer-at-home is going to look a whole lot like stay-at-home for most people,” Jollon said during Durango’s sixth city update video. “We’re still waiting to get the guidelines.”
The only change for Monday is curbside pickup will be allowed for retail stores and real estate agents will be able to conduct one-on-one home showings.
“If there are businesses that we can bring back in small ways to get people back to work and get a little bit of normalcy returned, that’s the right thing to do,” Jollon said. “The larger issue is controlling the virus and not killing people.”
Across Southwest Colorado,communities face two prominent battles – the health and economic impacts of the crisis – and service providers are trying to make support services easier to access.
“Our team is able to help, just pick up the phone,” said Haley Leonard Saunders, Axis Health System spokesperson.
Axis Health, a nonprofit health care organization serving five counties in Southwest Colorado, offers mental health services, substance abuse withdrawal management, integrated primary care and other resources to community members, Saunders said.
“Staying at home is a completely different reality for many in our community,” said Amber Blake, interim city manager of Durango. “It can have significant impacts on behavioral health, mental health.”
If community members need support, they can call the 24/7 Axis Health Crisis Care Line at 247-5245 – but they don’t need to be in a crisis to call. The free service offers resources and guidance in addition to assistance during a mental health crisis. If it’s a medical emergency at the same time as a mental health crisis, call 911, Saunders said.
Axis Health is accepting new patients at all locations, and people can pay using Medicare, Medicaid and most types of insurance. The provider also offers sliding-scale payment for those who are uninsured or under-insured.
The economic impacts of the crisis are deepening, and they might affect how much food families have to put on the table. Manna soup kitchen in Durango has bagged lunches to help.
The soup kitchen’s dining room is closed, but it is serving meals between 9 and 11 a.m. every day of the week.
“Our chefs are putting together some really delicious and creative meals every day,” said Marissa Hunt, program services specialist at Manna. “We really encourage anyone who can use that little extra hand right now to come by.”
The free meals include a hot entree, salad, chips, dessert and fresh fruit, as supplies are available. When people arrive, they pass the hand-washing station, check out the menu board then grab a meal – no questions asked, no need to sign up. There is also no limit on meals.
“We encourage folks to take enough meals for their household for the day,” Hunt said.