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Dan Prellberg, owner of Overtime Sports Bar, views photos of his wife, Lori, at Overtime Sports Bar in Colorado Springs in January

. Dan lost his wife in December to COVID-19.

Officials in Colorado Springs and El Paso County are inviting residents to participate in a moment of reflection to honor those who have died of COVID-19 on the one-year anniversary of Colorado’s first case Friday.

At 6 p.m. fire stations across the city will light up their fire trucks in front of their stations for one minute to mark the moment of reflection. County and city officials invite residents and businesses to turn on their lights for one minute at 6 p.m. to participate in the statewide Day of Remembrance event, according to a joint news release.

Also on Friday, El Paso County Centennial Hall, Colorado Springs City Hall, the Colorado Springs Administration Building and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, all in downtown, will display the color magenta, “representing universal love, compassion and kindness to commemorate the lives lost to this pandemic,” the release states.

A virtual remembrance ceremony will begin at 6:30 PM and Gov. Jared Polis will then address the state of Colorado regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a state news release. Polis's address will be broadcast on television, digital platforms, and the Governor’s Facebook page

Next vaccine phase: Who's in it, where they can get it and who's next

As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 6,000 Coloradans have died of COVID-19, including 740 in El Paso County, state and county data show.

“This past year has brought enormous stress and challenges in many different forms for our community, families and individuals,” El Paso County Public Health Director Susan Wheelan said in the release.

County and city leaders recognized residents' efforts in trying to control the virus in the past year.

“We have demonstrated remarkable strength and perseverance through this adversity,” El Paso County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf said in the release.

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers pointed to medical professionals, teachers, frontline workers and first responders, who he said “especially have stepped up during trying times.”

Officials encouraged residents to continue wearing face coverings, washing their hands and practicing social distancing to prevent infection. The vaccine “is one of our strongest tools to combat the disease,” they said, but supplies remain limited.

As of Thursday, more than 142,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in El Paso County, meaning roughly 13% of the population has been vaccinated, data show. Nearly 6.5% of county residents have been fully vaccinated.

Residents 70 and older can call county's new call center to help schedule vaccine appointment

On Friday, the state will open vaccinations to those in Phase 1B.3 of the state’s phased vaccine roll-out. Eligible people in this category include those age 60 or older, frontline essential workers in grocery and agriculture jobs, and people between the ages of 16 and 59 with two or more high-risk conditions.

All spots for several pop-up vaccination clinics around El Paso County scheduled for Saturday and Sunday have been filled, Gazette news partner KKTV reported.

For more information on how to schedule a vaccine, visit the El Paso County Public Health website at elpasocountyhealth.org/how-will-i-get-the-vaccine. Colorado residents with questions about the vaccine can also call the state’s COVID-19 vaccination hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-877-268-2926.

 

Reporter

Breeanna Jent covers El Paso County government. She previously worked as the editorial assistant for the Pikes Peak Newspapers and joined their sister paper, The Gazette, in 2020.

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