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Coronavirus Updates

Aspen Public Radio will provide the latest news and updates regarding the coronavirus, COVID-19 in the valley and Colorado.

The Pitkin County Incident Management Team and Pitkin County Public Health Department are hosting a virtual community meeting on Monday, March 16 at 3 p.m. MST. 

Participants can watch the Community Meeting at https://zoom.us/j/571198559​ Meeting ID: 571 198 559.

It will also be streamed by Grassroots and Pitkin County.

You can also listen only to the meeting by calling (669) 900-6833 or (929) 205-6099, meeting ID 571198559# 

Courtesy of RFTA.com

The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) announced Sunday that reduced services will begin Monday, March 16. Affected routes include up and down valley express buses, direct buses to and from Snowmass Village, Hogback commuter buses and Snowmass, Buttermilk and Highland's skier shuttles. 

reid.neureiter / via Creative Commons

Vail Resorts is suspending operations at all of its North American mountain resorts and retail stores from March 15 to March 22. That includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Keystone. A statement from the resort company said it will be using the time to “reassess [its] approach for the rest of the season.”

 

Wiki Images

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or CDPHE, is restricting all visitors at skilled nursing, assisted living, and intermediate care facilities in order to protect the health of residents and employees. 

 

Whitcomb Terrace Assisted Living

COVID-19 is spreading in the Roaring Fork Valley, and older adults are particularly vulnerable. One assisted living facility is already taking steps to help protect their residents. 

Whitcomb Terrace Assisted Living in Aspen is implementing measures to keep residents and staff safe against the coronavirus outbreak, including monitoring staff and residents temperatures, and not allowing family members or volunteers into the building. 

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County officials are emphasizing the importance of a community mitigation strategy that includes closures and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“What we’re trying to prevent is explosive transmission,” said Pitkin County Public Health Director Karen Koenemann in a briefing Friday. “We don’t want to overwhelm our health care system.”

Pixabay

The Roaring Fork School District announced Friday all district schools will be closed until March 29 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19.

The two week closure, one week including spring break, will allow custodial teams to deep clean schools, and district officials to monitor the coronavirus outbreak with local public health officials. 

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen School District will be closed Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Interim superintendent Tom Heald said in a letter to parents and community members that school principals will meet Friday with staff to go over plans and expectations going forward.

C.S. Goldsmith and A. Tamin / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coronavirus control strategy at state and county levels is moving toward social distancing, a practice focused on limiting contact between people in efforts to stem transmission. 

That marks a shift away from the previous approach of contact tracing, which aims to identify people who have been in contact with known positive cases of the disease.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Mountain College announced Thursday all campuses will extend spring break until March 20 and hold classes online for three weeks starting March 23 as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority says it does not expect to completely suspend bus service amid concern over COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. RFTA is sanitizing buses, expanding sick leave for drivers and drafting contingency plans should a reduction in service prove necessary.

Molly Dove / Aspen Public Radio

The Roaring Fork and Aspen school districts are putting plans into place as coronavirus spreads. Sporting events are canceled, schools are preparing for conducting classes online and penalties for absences are being waived if they are related to COVID-19. 

Gov. Jared Polis appeared somber in his office on Wednesday as he said the number of suspected COVID-19 cases in Colorado was growing and the disease is likely spreading "stealthily" around the state.

"I can say with a high degree of confidence this is going to get worse before it gets better," he said. "Until there is a vaccine, until there is a cure, some incidence of coronavirus is here to stay."

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Across the country, events have been cancelled and people are pulling back on travel in response to the spread of COVID-19, or novel coronavirus. For more on how the disease is affecting the tourism industry here in Pitkin County, Jeff Hanle, communications director for Aspen Skiing Company, weighed in.

Hannah A Bullock; Azaibi Tamin / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

 


As of Wednesday afternoon, Pitkin County had the most presumptive positive coronavirus cases in Colorado. The total currently stands at nine, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. All of the cases are connected to a woman from Australia who visited Aspen and tested positive upon return to her home country. 

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Updated: March 11, 2:42 p.m. 

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed that six additional people who were in contact with the Australian visitor have tested presumptively positive for coronavirus.  

 

 

These additional positive results are in addition to the previous three positive tests that were announced earlier Wednesday.  This brings the number of positive tests in Pitkin County to nine. There is still one test outstanding. 

Updated 3/10/2020 at 10:52 a.m.

During a press conference at the governor's office Tuesday morning, Gov. Polis announced three more cases of COVID-19 in Arapahoe, Eagle and Gunnison counties and declared a state of emergency for Colorado.

Centers for Disease Control

Public health officials say it's likely more cases of coronavirus will be identified across the state in the coming days.

In a briefing Monday, Pitkin County health officials stressed the importance of staying informed with reliable sources of information. More information on their website addresses frequently asked questions, gives advice on preparedness and offers guidelines to those in industries from health care to hospitality. 

Tammy Terwelp / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County public health officials said Monday that 13 visitors to Aspen are currently under self-isolation after coming into contact with a 21-year old Australian woman who tested positive for COVID-19 in her home country after visiting Aspen.

Those 13 people, all of Australian nationality, traveled to the area with the young woman who developed the new coronavirus. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, or CDPHE, said Sunday afternoon that a woman in her twenties who was visiting Aspen returned home to Australia earlier this week, where she tested positive for COVID-19.

The individual had contact with Aspen residents and visitors at social gatherings; some of the people who had contact with the woman have reported experiencing respiratory symptoms.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Public Health and Environment is reporting the first positive case of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in the county. 

The patient is a woman in her 50s visiting the area and likely exposed during international travel. The patient was not hospitalized and is recovering in isolation. The patient is working with public health officials in the ongoing investigation to identify people that may have had close exposure. The case is presumptive positive, which means test results haven’t yet been confirmed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

 

Colorado has its first two "presumptive positive" cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the latest coronavirus. State health officials on Thursday confirmed an out-of-state visitor to Summit County has tested positive.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado currently has no confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but Pitkin County Public Health Director Karen Koenemann said officials are taking precautions should the illness arrive in the area. 

“We really do believe it's not if, it's when, we will have cases in Colorado,” Koenemann said. “We may have cases in Pitkin County. And so I think just being aware and being prepared for that is where we're at right now.”

 

 

Updated at 7:08 p.m. ET

Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, tied President Trump directly to conditioning a meeting with the Ukrainian president with "a public statement from President Zelenskiy committing to investigations of Burisma and the 2016 election."

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