Glenwood mayor, Valley View emergency physician discuss COVID-19 during online forum Friday

Glenwood Springs Mayor Jonathan Godes and Valley View Hospital Dr. Ben Peery address viewers during a previous online community forum. Matthew Bennett / Post Independent

During Friday’s online community forum, Valley View Hospital Emergency Medicine Physician Dr. Ben Peery stressed the critical need for self-distancing.

“If there is one strategy that is going to slow the spread of this virus and keep people safe it is people avoiding public places, avoiding each other (and) really trying to isolate,” Peery said.

At the community forum that was hosted by the city of Glenwood Springs and Valley View Hospital, it wasn’t long before one participant asked about COVID-19 testing availability.

“The unfortunate reality is that testing facilities in the state are overwhelmed. The turnaround for most of the testing resources that we have is about five days,” Peery said. “We don’t have any sense of when a more rapid and more available testing service is going to come online.”

“This is a statewide problem,” he added.

Peery said COVID-19 testing was being conducted largely on hospitalized patients and those in the higher risk category like immunocompromised individuals and symptomatic patients over the age of 65.

“We are treating every patient with respiratory symptoms as a COVID patient,” Peery said. “It also means for the community — stay home — because our assumption is that’s everywhere.”

During Friday’s forum Mayor Godes also announced that beginning Monday, the city would temporarily suspend Ride Glenwood and all, non-critical flights at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport.

“The airport will maintain all critical emergency medical, search and rescue and fire emergency services,” Godes said. “Classic Air Medical, the fueling, the helicopter pad — they’re all going to be staying open.”

The public transit system, Ride Glenwood, services the community center, the Glenwood Meadows, the West Glenwood Mall, U.S. Highway 6 and 24, downtown and the Roaring Fork Marketplace.

Individuals with a disability that would like to discuss their travel options due to Ride Glenwood’s absence can contact RFTA at 970-945-9117.

According to a news release, RFTA accesses many of Ride Glenwood’s pick-up and drop-off locations.

Godes, like Peery, emphasized how community members must adhere to social distancing and all of the safety guidelines and mandates associated with COVID-19.

“Take this seriously,” Godes said. “We have to be resolute in this.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.