Listen Live

Mental Health & Health

via Pixabay

When local health staffers are alerted to new cases of coronavirus in Pitkin County, they work with infected people to figure out where they might have picked it up. 39% of cases in the county are considered “community spread,” meaning the infected person does not know where they were exposed to the virus.

A vaccine against the virus behind COVID-19 offers the only certain return to normalcy. Even so, misinformation and conspiracy theories abound – and a vaccine hasn’t even been developed yet. It’s an issue people have been trying to combat for other vaccines that do exist. Colorado researchers are taking an interesting approach to bridge the gap.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

For Dr. Lori Drumm, the trouble began after she cancelled a rodeo in rural Deer Lodge, Mont.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County is using a study of cell phone data to figure out who is most likely to spread COVID-19 within the county. 

The numbers are a combination of how many people from a specific place are in Pitkin County and how prevalent the virus is in their home region. 

Kirsten Dobroth/Aspen Public Radio

Governor Polis, Treasurer Young Urge For Additional State Funding In Stimulus Package

Tuesday, August 4 - Governor Jared Polis and Colorado Treasurer Dave Young today sent a letter to the state's congessional delegation advocating for additional funding for Coloradans in the next stimulus package. Governor Polis and Treasurer Young stressed the importance of additional federal funding for essential services in the state as Colorado continues to mitigate the public health and economic effects of the pandemic. Areas highlighted by Governor Polis and Treasurer Young in need of financial assistance include food programs for children and families, support for child care and early childhood education, families experiencing homelessness because of the pandemic and assistance for ranchers and farmers.  The letter comes as leaders in Washington D.C. continue to debate what will be included in the next federal stimulus package.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A physician based in Missoula, Mont., has a message for libertarian-minded skeptics of the pandemic – cowboy up and mask up.

 


A Utah-based company called Domo is showing public health agencies in the Mountain West where their COVID-19 transmission risk is coming from. Among other things, the service uses cell phone location data to identify which counties and states visitors are coming from, and pairs it with data about how bad the local COVID-19 outbreak is there. Public health officials in Southwest Colorado say the tool has shown that at the moment, the most active people in the area are people normally based in Texas, followed by people usually based in Arizona. 

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

You can find an English-language version of this story here. 

Hace un mes, Annell, que trabaja como ama de llaves en el Valle de Roaring Fork, dio positivo por COVID-19 después de haber estado expuesta en el trabajo. Aspen Public Radio sólo usa su nombre para proteger su identidad debido a su estatus migratorio. Annell era asintomática, pero aún así luchó durante sus dos semanas de cuarentena porque no podía trabajar.

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

 Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui.

About a month ago, Annell, who works as a housekeeper in the Roaring Fork Valley, tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed at work. Aspen Public Radio is only using her first name to protect her identity because of her immigration status. Annell was asymptomatic, but still struggled during her two-week quarantine because she could not work.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

LIFT-UP Food Pantry Continues Distribution Into August

LIFT-UP will continue to distribute food via mobile distribution using drive-thru sites in Carbondale, Glenwood, New Castle, Parachute, DeBeque and Rifle.  Some sites will be moving locations as schools begin to re-open.  The schedule will continue as one-day-a-week per community, with longer distribution times while rotating each week between mid-afternoon and early evening.

The American conversation around masks and COVID-19 has taken a dizzying turn. For months, wearing masks has been politicized as a sign of liberal leanings. But in recent days, ever more governors — many of them Republican — have moved to mandate masks. This week President Trump — arguably the nation's most visible mask un-enthusiast — started referring to wearing them as "patriotic."

COVID-19 cases are still increasing around the Mountain West, and wait times to get test results are getting longer for many.


A large group of outbreak specialists say there’s been a problematic silencing of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during this pandemic. 

Imagine if your state health department put out a press release specifically naming your family, and listing the number of your family members with COVID-19. 

That, says Ken Lucero, is exactly how it felt in April when New Mexico announced a coronavirus hotspot in his community, the Pueblo of Zia. 

Creative Commons

Los condados de Pitkin, Eagle y Garfield conjuntamente, hicieron una transición a un análisis estratégico para ayudar a entregarle a los pacientes los resultados de los exámenes de COVID-19 de una manera más rápida y en definitiva reducir la propagación del virus en la comunidad. Para lograr esto, los tres condados sólo realizaran pruebas a las personas que muestren síntomas, tengan más riesgo, hayan estado en contacto con alguien positivo o hayan sido hospitalizados.

Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

Aspen Valley Hospital’s COVID-19 testing operation has been a key part of upvalley virus control plans. Dave Ressler, Aspen Valley Hospital CEO, explained how testing people without symptoms fits into those plans during Thursday’s livestreamed community meeting.

Alex Hager/Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County May Be Forced To Forfeit Public Health Variance

Friday, July 25 - Trends in the local spread of COVID-19 may threaten Eagle County’s ability to maintain its public health order variance from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Last week, the state health department notified the county that local disease rates were outside the levels allowed by the variance. 

Courtesy Sue Sharpe

Governor Jared Polis announced a statewide mask order on Thursday, directing Coloradans to wear a face covering while indoors.

The statewide mandatory mask order requires anyone over the age of 10 to wear a face covering over their noses and mouths when entering or moving within any public indoor space. It also mandates face coverings while using or waiting to use public transportation or taxis, car services and ride shares.

Aspen Public Radio

Counties and local fire departments are preparing plans for how to handle peak wildfire season during the COVID-19 pandemic. One local fire official said departments must strike a balance between controlling fires, and keeping the community safe from the coronavirus.

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Cases of COVID-19 are steadily rising in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties. In a livestreamed community meeting Thursday, public health officials from Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties discussed increasing case counts and the hurdles they face in tracking and controlling the spread of the virus.

Colorado is the latest state in the Mountain West to issue a mask requirement, joining Nevada and New Mexico. 

Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Pitkin County posted its highest single-week total of positive COVID-19 cases in the week ending July 12. Testing identified 28 new cases in the county. The two previous weeks held the old record, with 16 new cases each. 

Creative Commons

Pueden encontrar la versión en español aqui

Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield Counties transitioned to a tri-county testing strategy to help get COVID-19 test results to patients faster and ultimately reduce community spread of the virus. To do that, the three counties will only test people who show symptoms, have a greater risk, have been in contact with someone who tested positive or are hospitalized. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Updates Public Health Order

Friday, July 17 - Eagle County updated its public health order effective immediately Friday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Under the new order, only ten people are allowed at private gastherings, indoor public gatherings are reduced to 100 people and indoor public gatherings will allow 175 people or less. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Adds Demographic Data To COVID-19 Statistics

Friday, July 10 - Eagle County has added demographic data to its publicly viewable COVID-19 monitoring dashboard. New data includes the age, gender and ethnicity of confirmed cases. The county said it is including this information to "better inform the public of the impact of the disease in particular on the local workforce, Latino community, older adults, and youth and young adults."

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the nation to figure out something it's tried to do for years: increase access to telehealth.

That’s true across the nation and in rural Western states like Idaho. 


Screenshot / Garfield County

After Memorial Day weekend, Garfield County officials said they saw a spike in COVID-19 cases, about 101 positive tests since June 1. Now heading into Fourth of July, officials are emphasizing the importance of social distancing and wearing face coverings for residents and visitors in order to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Garfield County.

This post was updated June 29, 2020 to include comments from Alexis Kalergis. 

A Colorado team says their work on a COVID-19 vaccine is progressing. Other vaccines are much further down the testing pipeline, but none have crossed the finish line yet. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Graphic by Alex Hager (Aspen Public Radio) / Data from Pitkin County, Eagle County, Garfield County

Cases of COVID-19 in the Roaring Fork Valley are on the rise, and many of the new infections are in young people. Health and government officials say the uptick in cases among those under 30 could be a harbinger of increased hospitalizations and halt the rollout of reopening plans.

Pages