Public Health Weekly Updates

Thursday May 19th, 2022

Good morning to all,


Coming in July: New 988 Dialing Code for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Continuing with our focus on Mental Health Awareness Month, an important development for the nation broadly — and for the mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention fields in particular, will soon go live. In July 2022, our country will enter a new era of more equitable and accessible crisis services, marked by the adoption of 988 as the easy to remember three-digit dialing, texting, and chat code for anyone experiencing a suicidal or mental health related crisis. As the U.S-based universal dialing code connecting to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — a network of local crisis centers throughout the country — 988 will increase the accessibility and use of life-saving interventions and resources.


The transition to 988 across the country will be effective July 16, 2022. Until 988 is available nationwide and systems are ready to handle potential increases in call, text, and chat volumes, you should continue to use the existing Lifeline number (1-800-273-8255).


988 FAQ:

  • What is 988? In 2020, Congress designated 988 as the new dialing code to operate through the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) network of local call centers, which are staffed by trained crisis counselors. 988 is more than just an easy-to-remember number — it is a direct connection to compassionate, accessible support for anyone experiencing mental health related distress, including thoughts of suicide, mental health or substance use crisis, or any other kind of emotional distress. People can also dial 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need these types of crisis supports.
  • Why do we need 988? There are urgent realities driving the need for crisis service transformation. Simply put, too many people living in the U.S. are experiencing suicidal cries or mental health related distress without the support and care they need. And, sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only made a bad situation worse when it comes to mental health and wellness in America. 
  • What is the vision for 988? In the short term, the goal is to strengthen and expand the current Lifeline call center infrastructure and capacity to ensure trained crisis counselors are available to quickly respond to 988 via call, text, or chat. In the longer term, the vision is to build a robust crisis response system across the country that links callers to community-based providers who can deliver a full range of crisis care services, if needed (like mobile crisis teams or stabilization centers). This more robust system will be essential to meeting crisis care needs across the nation.


Water Quality Update: Upcoming Lead and Copper Rule Revisions for Water Systems

Lead has long been recognized as a toxic metal that can be harmful to multiple body systems, even at low exposure levels. Lead is particularly harmful to the developing brain of small children and can result in functional impairment. Lead can enter drinking water through the corrosion of lead-containing plumbing materials such as pipes, faucets, and fixtures. On December 16, 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR), which further strengthen the protections against lead in drinking water. The LCRR requires water systems to meet a number of new requirements, including: 

  • Water systems must develop a system-wide lead service line inventory and lead service line replacement plan by October 16, 2024.
  • Compliance with a lead “trigger level” of 10 parts per billion (ppb) that triggers additional planning, monitoring, and treatment requirements.
  • Lead testing in schools and childcare facilities.
  • “Find and Fix” at any individual tap above the 15 ppb lead action level to quickly investigate and potentially remediate the source of the lead.
  • Strengthened corrosion control treatment, lead service line replacement, lead sampling, and public education measures. 


The lead service line inventory (LSLI) and lead service line replacement (LSLR) plan are key elements that support the LCRR’s overarching goal of proactive lead service line removal and more equitable public health protection. 


What is a Lead Service Line Inventory?

The LCRR requires all water systems to submit a lead service line inventory by October 16, 2024 of every service connection in the distribution system to classify the material, of both customer-owned and utility-owned portions of the service line, as one of the following:

  • Lead: All or a portion of the service line is lead.
  • Galvanized requiring replacement: Galvanized iron or steel service line that is or was at any time downstream from a lead service line or is unknown to have ever been downstream from a lead service line.
  • Non-lead: No portion of the service line consists of lead or galvanized requiring replacement.
  • Lead status unknown: Service line is not known to be lead, galvanized requiring replacement, or non-lead.


Water systems must take steps to verify service line materials to ensure a complete and accurate inventory. Systems should verify as many “lead status unknown” service lines as possible since unknown service lines are treated as lead service lines unless proven otherwise. Most suppliers should be able to use a combination of knowledge of prohibitions, such as the federal lead ban in 1986, and local ordinances, records review, physical verification, and/or statistical modeling to determine service line materials without physically verifying each line. Only when there is a lack of records and great inconsistency in identified materials during physical verification would a system need to physically verify a large number of their service lines. 


The LCRR aims to expand customer awareness, and as such, water systems must make their lead service line inventory available to the public, and systems serving greater than 50,000 people must also make their inventory available online.


Who needs to complete the LSLI?

All community and non-transient, non-community water systems must complete and submit a LSLI to CDPHE. The department is requiring that water systems submit an inventory summary with the total number of service lines in each material category (e.g. lead, non-lead, lead status unknown). Systems with lead or galvanized requiring replacement service lines must also submit a detailed inventory of each lead or galvanized requiring replacement service line with a location identifier (i.e., address or block) and the material classification. 


For more information on these changes, please refer to CDPHE Drinking water Lead and Copper Rule & Revisions. ECPH encourages local water systems to begin working on the LSLI and LSLR plan as soon as possible, as these will require substantial resources to complete.


COVID-19 Updates

Cases, percent positivity, wastewater detections, and hospitalizations continue to increase in Colorado. The 7-day moving average number of cases currently stands at 1,566, up from 1,062 last week. CDC Nowcast modeling estimates 48% BA.2.12.1 in the U.S. (up from 43% last week), and 44% in HHS Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming), up from 36% last week. BA.4 and BA.5 variants continue being detected in the U.S. and Colorado. 


Elbert County cases continue to show an elevated incidence of growth that began in mid-April. Since the last local update on May 12 there are 47 cases of COVID-19 infection to report from the following zip codes: 

  • 80107: 31 cases
  • 80138: 10 cases
  • 80117: 3 cases
  • 80105, 80808, and 80835: 1 case each.


24 of the cases represent current infections, while the remainder are more than 10 days old. Test dates for the reported cases range from January 5 to May 18, 2022. Ages for the cases range from 2 months to 86 years. A total of 311 tests have been reported in the past week. There are no fatalities to report. There are two new hospitalizations to report: a female in her 20s, and a male in his 80s. 


As of this morning, our two-week cumulative rate stands at 171.84 cases per 100,000 population, or 45 known and confirmed new cases. Our one-week cumulative incidence is currently 99.29 cases per 100,000, with 26 known and confirmed new case. This figure ranks 23th-highest among the state's 64 counties. Our two-week average positivity is currently 9.50%, while our one-week average positivity is 10.65%. The statewide one-week average positivity is 8.68%, with 11 of the last 14 days showing an upward trend in the 7-day moving average of newly reported cases. As with previous updates, the figures reported above do not include at-home test results that have not been reported to the state. 


SAVE the DATE: June 29 Community Blood Drive

Summer is a time of year when kids are out of school, families go on vacation, and people are more active. As a result, the number of traumatic injuries skyrockets. This includes car crashes, bicycle falls, sports injuries, incidents on construction sites, outdoor maintenance fails, and more. During this peak period, hospital emergency departments treat higher volumes of patients for serious injuries, many of whom will need a blood transfusion.


ECPH will be hosting a blood drive on June 29 in the Exhibit Building at the county fairgrounds in Kiowa (exact time TBA). We are urging eligible donors to help ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients with traumatic injuries and other serious medical needs by donating blood or platelets. Of note, O negative red blood cells and AB plasma can be transfused into any patient, regardless of blood type, making donors with these universal blood types an important need. Less than 7 percent of the population has type O negative blood, and only about 4 percent of the population has type AB blood. Platelets may also be needed to help with clotting in cases of massive bleeding. Because platelets must be transfused within five days of donation, there is a constant – often critical – need to keep up with hospital demand.


Please Participate in the Community Health Assessment Survey

To date more than 160 people have completed the Elbert County Community Health Assessment. Log on to to share your perspectives on the current and future health needs of our county. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and is compatible with mobile electronic devices via the QR code option. 


The survey is confidential. The information you provide during the survey will be combined with answers from other people and will be compiled in a summary report. Individual responses will not be shared with anyone. At the end of the survey participants will have the opportunity to enter contact information for inclusion in random drawings for $25 gift cards to local businesses and restaurants.

Dwayne Smith, MEd, MCHES®, CPST

Director, Elbert County Public Health

75 Ute Avenue

Kiowa, CO 80117

(303) 621-3202