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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.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) is reducing its service even further starting Monday due to the coronavirus health crisis. 

RFTA says it is making the adjustment due to fewer riders, staffing constraints and the need to disinfect buses throughout each day. 

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

The rolling ski hills under Buttermilk’s Tiehack lift are typically a popular spot for uphillers. But since the coronavirus outbreak, and Governor Jared Polis ordering the closure of all Colorado resorts through at least April 6, the route up to the top is even busier than usual with a steady stream of skinners and hikers going up daily.  

via United States Census Bureau

The census is underway across the nation, taking a headcount to determine how resources, funding, and congressional seats are allocated. Due to coronavirus, some in-person counting efforts will be put on hold, but online, mail and phone responses are still going on as planned.

To help slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jared Polis has ordered the suspension of in-person learning at all public and private schools across the state from March 23 to April 17.

Earlier Wednesday, Polis stressed that teachers would still use online tools to continue teaching classes.

Garfield RE-2 School District / Facebook

While the Garfield RE-2 School District is closed until April 17, at the earliest, due to COVID-19, the district has been working to still provide free breakfast and lunch to its students.

Thursday, March 18 is the last day for students in Rifle, Silt and New Castle to get those meals since spring break technically begins Friday. Local organizations LIFT-UP and the River Center will provide mobile lunch services during the break.

CreativeCommons

Recent orders from Gov. Jared Polis have shut down bars and restaurants and ski mountains in Colorado, schools are closing and health officials are encouraging people to stay home as much as possible. Many Roaring Fork Valley residents may be feeling anxiety and stress during this time of COVID-19.

Tammy Terwelp / Aspen Public Radio

Governor Jared Polis has issued a public health order with new, aggressive measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 Gatherings and events are now limited to no more than 10 people.  Retail stores are allowed to remain open with fewer than 10 people in the store at once. Restaurants can still have take-out service, but only five or fewer people can wait for food at a time.   The new order will run through April 17. 

Governor Jared Polis said Tuesday that all public schools will be closed until April 17. The executive order directs Colorado school districts and the Charter School Institute to work to provide alternative learning opportunities during this time.

Aspen Pitkin County Airport / Facebook

The Aspen Pitkin County Airport is a primary way residents and visitors travel to and from the Roaring Fork Valley. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the airport is taking steps to keep travelers and workers safe. 

via Pitkin County

Health officials and community leaders livestreamed answers to questions from residents about COVID-19 during a Pitkin County community meeting Monday. Local leaders emphasized the importance of social distancing to stem the spread of the virus, and they provided updates on topics ranging from testing for coronavirus to getting food to people who need it.

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. 

Aspen School District Closed Next Week...At Least

Mar 13, 2020
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. 

 

UPDATED: Nine Cases Of COVID-19 Now Confirmed In Pitkin County

Mar 11, 2020
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.

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