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Updates: Coronavirus

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

Support for Updates: Coronavirus comes from Penney Evans Carruth with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty, opening doors for buyers and sellers in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Pitkin County Incident Management Team

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Governor Jared Polis discussed lifting the stay-at-home order on April 27. He also discussed next steps as health and safety restrictions change in the coming days and weeks.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

During the first week of April, new unemployment claims across Colorado were up 3836% from last year’s average. According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, nearly 200,000 new claims have been filed statewide since the coronavirus pandemic began.

In the tiny mountain town of Ophir in southwest Colorado, residents riding out the coronavirus pandemic at home are sending another round of thank you notes to Brian Morgan, who worked tirelessly to get the community connected to high-speed internet just two years ago.

Creative Commons

  

Roaring Fork Valley non-profit MANAUS is giving financial support to immigrant families to help them make it through the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Friday, the organization had ensured $1,000 to 377 immigrant families in the Valley.

There’s been too much oil on the market since well before the coronavirus outbreak. But a recent agreement to cut production won’t be enough to prevent states in the Mountain West from taking a big hit.

 


Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Garfield County Asks Businesses To Complete Social Distancing Plan

Saturday, April 25 - In order to reopen on May 4th, 2020, businesses and agencies in Garfield County should determine if they are high, medium, or low risk, and complete and submit the “Garfield County Business Social Distancing Plan.”

Leah Aegerter

When health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and ski resorts across the state in mid-March, Leah Aegerter suddenly found herself in a similar place as most everyone else in Colorado—at home.

Courtesy of Pitkin County Incident Management Team

Pitkin County is running a small-scale pilot program of its COVID-19 antibody testing on Friday at Aspen Village fire station. Testing is not yet open to the public; the county says Friday’s trial run will be used to gauge the accuracy of its blood tests and the efficiency of its mobile testing operation.

Eleanor Bennett / Aspen Public Radio

A group of 40 mid-valley volunteers have started the “Corona Helpline” pickup and delivery service. Outgoing Basalt Mayor Jacque Whitsitt is the lead organizer. 

“I think folks will initially ask their friends or family to help them, but not everybody has that,” Whitsitt said. “We’ve had a great response from the people that we have helped.” 

 

There was the hiker who broke his leg, then refused to put on a mask before the alpine rescue team helped him down the mountain. There were the snowboarders and skiers packing together into cars to drive up to a closed ski area. Or the people howling at the full moon, over open flames.

Bruce Snelling, undersheriff with Clear Creek County in Colorado, said all of these incidents have happened in recent weeks. And until Saturday, there wasn’t too much he could do about it. But now, the county’s public health order lays out some harsh penalties for non-residents using county roads to get to the backcountry: a fine of up to $5,000 or up to 18 months in the county jail.  

Valley View Hospital

In crises like the Coronavirus pandemic, Roaring Fork Valley residents turn to first responders for help. But healthcare workers and emergency response teams need support too. 

As a nurse in the critical care unit at Valley View Hospital, Gail Rounce knows the anxiety of caring for COVID-19 patients firsthand. 

 

Pitkin County Announces Mobile Testing Lab

Apr 14, 2020
Aytu Bioscience

Pitkin County incident management team announced Tuesday the county will establish a mobile COVID-19 testing lab. The lab will be set up in the county's incident command trailer. 

Courtesy of Two Leaves and a Bud

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Basalt-based tea company Two Leaves and a Bud started thinking about how they could help. CEO Rich Rosenfeld said the decision was easy.

 “We thought, well, who needs tea? Well, healthcare facilities, senior centers, doctors offices, people who are stuck where they are, and can use a really good cup of tea,” Rosenfeld said. 

Courtesy of Valley View Hospital

Listener Jody Guralnick said she has a sewing machine and asked if there’s a way to help make protective clothing and masks for local hospitals. Below are some ways you can help Aspen Valley Hospital in Aspen and Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Colorado Mountain College / Facebook

Alexa Vorhees, 20, graduates in May from Colorado Mountain College’s Glenwood Springs campus with an associates of arts degree after working hard for several years to maintain all A’s. 

Vorhees looked forward to having her grandmother fly in from out-of-state to watch her walk across the graduation stage, but all in-person Colorado Mountain College graduation ceremonies were canceled

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County Asking State For Partial Relief From Stay-At-Home Orders

Saturday, April 18 - Eagle County is seeking exemptions from certain portions of Colorado's stay-at-home orders. If approved, it would allow Eagle County Public Health and Environment limited flexibility to start implementing plans to slowly reopen the community.

As the nation continues to lag behind on testing for the new coronavirus, Utah and New Mexico rank among the states that have administered the most tests per capita. 

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Glenwood Springs’ Annual Strawberry Days Cancelled

Saturday, April 11- The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association has announced that the Annual Strawberry Days Festival will be postponed to 2021.  The event was scheduled for June 19-21 of this year.

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Pitkin County has received its shipment of 1,000 new COVID-19 blood tests. Officials said they “still have a bit of a process” before the tests are released for use by the public and did not specify who will be eligible for testing. In Thursday's online community meeting, the county said does not plan to charge for the tests and will use them to gather data about the presence of the virus in the community.

A new study has found that long-term air pollution increases COVID-19 mortality rates.

 


Courtesy of Aytu Bioscience

Pitkin County placed an order for 1,000 COVID-19 tests from Colorado-based startup Aytu Bioscience on Wednesday. The county does not yet have an estimated date for when the tests will arrive, nor does it have a formal plan for who is eligible to be tested.

Colorado's economic forecast is growing increasingly gloomy as a record number of residents file for unemployment during the coronavirus pandemic. The state's ski areas and other major businesses remain closed. While lawmakers are staying away from a dark and empty Capitol building, they still need to write a budget before June 30.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET, April 20

As COVID-19 surges in places throughout the country, Americans are left to wonder, "When will my state hit its worst point?"

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Aspen Valley Hospital sends its most critical COVID-19 patients to other hospitals at lower altitude. Doctors say that's partially because treatment is easier outside of Aspen’s thin air.

Janie Joseland Bennett

Last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act was signed into law. The $2 trillion COVID-19 rescue package includes what are called Small Business Administration, or SBA, loans. 

Screenshot from GrassRoots TV

Aspen Valley Hospital is only seeing a “slight volume” of patients with symptoms of COVID-19, according to an update from CEO Dave Ressler in Thursday’s Pitkin County virtual community meeting. Since the beginning of the outbreak, the hospital has admitted 18 patients. One is still in the hospital, and “all but two” of the other patients were discharged to recover at home.

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

Last week, a backcountry skier was critically injured in an avalanche near Ophir, Colorado, about 20 minutes south of Telluride. More than 50 people were involved in the rescue. Local health and ski industry officials have urged backcountry adventurers to take extra caution so as to avoid putting an extra burden on already-strained first responders and healthcare facilities.

Roaring Fork Schools / Facebook

Students in the Roaring Fork School District will begin online learning April 20. District officials said they are working with students, their families and teachers to assess their needs until then.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Travel restrictions and social distancing requirements have left many local businesses closed, with some staying shut through the spring offseason. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association expects that the impact will last into summer and the cancellation of Aspen Ideas Festival and the Food & Wine Classic will deal a blow to the summer economy.

Just being homeless puts you at greater risk for getting and spreading COVID-19. And several homeless residents have tested positive for the disease around the Mountain West, from Denver to Las Vegas. That’s forcing community leaders and shelter owners to take precautions.

 


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