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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. 


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Matt Greenlund / Thimble Fox

 

To help stop the spread of coronavirus, some Roaring Fork Valley residents are doing more than just wearing masks themselves. They're making them for frontline workers and the community. 

 

Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

Novel coronavirus, a respiratory illness, has been making headlines around the world, leading to fears about its spread. Pitkin County health officials say risk of contracting the virus is low, especially for those without a history of travel to areas where it is being spread.

Koenemann takes helm at PitCo Public Health

May 17, 2017

This spring, Karen Koenemann was hired as Pitkin County’s first public health director.

courtesy photo / Pitkin County

Pitkin County has a team ready to set up a temporary public health facility if an outbreak were to occur in the valley. And now, a reorganized medical surge trailer is user friendly for anyone who that task might fall on.

When it comes to health, communities in the Midvalley struggle with binge drinking and, just slightly, with obesity. Public health officials are sharing results of a survey with local governments. Jordana Sabella is the Public Health Planner for Pitkin and Western Eagle Counties. She spoke with Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen.

Jordana Sabella is Public Health Planner for Pitkin and Western Eagle Counties. 

Your Morning News - February 5th, 2015

Feb 5, 2015

Calls Come for Increased Vaccination Rates

Pitkin County’s public health clinic is seeing a rise in the number of people requesting vaccinations for measles. The majority of calls are from parents checking on their children’s vaccine history and adults seeking vaccinations.

The local spike in interest comes after a measles outbreak started in California and spread to fourteen states. Pitkin County Public Health Director Liz Stark says she’s happy to see the uptick in interest.

“We are definitely being impacted by what’s going on in the country. And, the positive thing is that the calls we’re getting are from people interested in making sure they’re vaccinated and up to date on their vaccines.”

She thinks the Roaring Fork Valley is generally in favor of vaccines. Five percent of students in Aspen’s School District are not vaccinated.

“That means that only five percent of the children have opted out of vaccines for either religious or personal exemption. That’s really good compared to other communities around the country.”

But, Colorado as a whole has a low vaccination rate. The Denver Post reports, the state is dead last for vaccinating kindergartners for measles, mumps and rubella. The Roaring Fork School District with schools in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs did not respond to a request for vaccination rates.

Marci Krivonen

When it comes to how to regulate recreational marijuana, there are more questions than answers. That was the conclusion at a Pitkin County Commissioner’s meeting Tuesday, where officials discussed public safety and environmental health surrounding pot. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

It’s been nearly nine months since recreational marijuana shops in Colorado started selling pot to adults 21 and older. Now, Pitkin County is examining problems and concerns that have cropped up.