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Pitkin County

UPDATE: Judge Denies Restaurant Owners' Challenge to Pitkin County Ban on Indoor Dining

Jan 15, 2021
Eleanor Bennett/Aspen Public Radio News

UPDATED 7 p.m. Friday: A judge denied the request from the Pitkin County Restaurant Alliance, meaning the indoor dining ban will go into effect on Sunday as originally planned.

 

A group of Pitkin County restaurant owners are trying to block tighter restrictions set by the county’s Board of Health that would ban indoor dining. Court papers filed Thursday evening in Pitkin County District Court challenge that ban, set to take effect on Sunday, Jan. 17. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

A new health order in Pitkin County will ban indoor dining and tighten restrictions on hotels and rental units beginning Sunday. The new rules, voted into effect by the Board of Health on Monday, come as the county’s soaring coronavirus rates rank second-worst in Colorado. 

Courtesy of Aspen Valley Hospital

Roaring Fork Valley health leaders say high levels of local demand for coronavirus vaccines are outpacing new shipments of doses from the state. That is partially due to recent and sudden changes to the state’s priority guidelines, which made people 70 years of age or older eligible for the vaccine.

Courtesy of Dr. Brooke Allen

Throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, rates of new COVID-19 cases continue to rise. New cases transmitted over Thanksgiving are just beginning to trickle into county data, exacerbating virus rates that were already higher than any other point in the pandemic.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Coronavirus rates appear to have slightly slowed their breakneck rise in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties, but local health experts say it may only be a momentary blip amid virus levels that are still worse than any other phase of the pandemic.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Karen Koenemann, Pitkin County public health director, will spend her last day in the position on Friday, Dec. 4. She has held the position since the department's inception in early 2017. Koenemann spoke with Aspen Public Radio about the ups and downs of guiding the department through the pandemic. 


New Restrictions With Pitkin County’s 'Orange Plus' COVID-19 Rules

Nov 25, 2020
Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Surging rates of COVID-19 in Pitkin County pushed the area into the “orange” level of the state’s COVID-19 meter, a multi-tiered gauge used to impose restrictions on counties where the virus is worsening.

On track to move one level higher on the meter, Pitkin County is imposing its own set of rules – slightly stricter than the state requires – to avoid the mandatory shutdown of businesses that comes with the “red” level.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

New cases of COVID-19 continue to stack up in all three Roaring Fork Valley counties, making the pandemic more intense now than at any other point since it began. The area is creeping closer to new mandatory restrictions handed down from the state.

Garfield County Public Health

All three counties in the Roaring Fork Valley are experiencing their highest rates of COVID-19 since the pandemic began in March. Public health officials and hospitals are concerned about a grim winter ahead, with holiday gatherings and travel threatening to worsen already-unprecedented levels of the virus.

Pitkin County's Public Health Director Resigns

Nov 5, 2020
Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County Public Health director Karen Koenemann announced plans to resign, effective Dec. 4. She has served as director since the department’s creation in early 2017, and is leaving this job to work for a health nonprofit in her home state of Alaska.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County is seeing a slight uptick in new COVID-19 cases among residents, the first steady increase since a spike in late July. The county has recorded fourteen new cases in the past fourteen days. Aspen Valley Hospital posted a fourteen-day positivity rate of 3.11%, well below the hospital’s threshold for concern, but the highest positivity rate in over a month.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s COVID Emergency Relief Fund has distributed $2.28 million in assistance since the pandemic took hold in March. At the end of June, the program was suspended. Officials said it was designed as a short-term emergency program while other aid organizations built capacity for longer-term help. 

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.

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. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

When ski lifts in Aspen and Snowmass stopped spinning in March, so did the area’s economy. Pitkin County businesses went into an early offseason and have experienced a staggered reopening under new restrictions.

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.

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.

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

Fourth of July weekend promises to be a busy one at North Star Nature Preserve, a popular spot for people to paddleboard and tube a section of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen. On June 24, Pitkin County approved a new management plan for the preserve, ushering in some rule changes. 

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.

via United States Census Bureau

Only a third of residents in Pitkin and Eagle Counties have responded to the U.S. Census so far, putting them in the bottom 20% of all counties in Colorado. 

Courtesy of Pitkin County Public Health

Rates of positive COVID-19 tests are gradually rising in the Roaring Fork Valley. In Thursday’s Pitkin County Board of Health Meeting, officials said the rate of positive tests at Aspen Valley Hospital was increasing and that positive cases in neighboring Garfield and Eagle are being closely monitored. 

Colorado School of Public Health

As people flock back to reopened spaces and local governments unroll plans to resume some components of pre-pandemic life, health officials are keeping a close eye on COVID-19 data. 

In models from early June, the Colorado School of Public Health shows that high levels of social distancing are necessary to “avoid exceeding hospital capacity.” 

Screenshot from Pitkin County Board of Health

Pitkin County Public Health released a set of amendments to its standing public health order on Thursday. They will remain in effect until July 3. The changes provide updated timing and clarity to the particulars of industry-specific reopening plans. Below are the latest dates and rules. Full details can be found here.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Tourism is returning to Pitkin County, and short-term lodging, like hotels and condos, can operate at 50% capacity each day. In a recent Board of Health meeting, Snowmass Village Mayor and board chair Markey Butler said that isn’t the best fit for her town. She spoke with reporter Alex Hager about why she's pushing for a different plan.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Pitkin County’s gradual reopening is underway. Hotels and restaurants have plans to field guests at partial capacity, using guidance from county public health officials to help suppress the spread of COVID-19. Those plans rely heavily on personal responsibility, according to Jordana Sabella, manager of planning, prevention and partnerships for Pitkin County Public Health.

City of Aspen Climate Action Office

 

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission holds its first rulemaking hearing on May 20 and 21 to address greenhouse gas, or GHG, reporting and the phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons - powerful GHGs primarily used in cooling and refrigeration.

via Pitkin County Public Health

Pitkin County health officials said they are on track to move to phase two of a reopening plan as early as May 27. The county needs to see certain patterns in health data to enter that phase. In Thursday’s board of health meeting, county officials and Aspen Valley Hospital staff said they have not seen a new COVID-19 case since early April, neighboring counties are posting low case numbers and the staff at the hospital is almost entirely healthy.

via Pixabay

Kurt Dahl’s job as Pitkin County’s environmental health manager sometimes feels like detective work.

“You're trying to identify who could have gotten something from where,” he said. “And that really gets into that case investigation and that detective type of work.”

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