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Who has local e-Commerce retail options?

e-commerce

Chambers of Commerce representing Garfield and Pitkin counties along with the Post Independent and Aspen Times are working with local retailers to compile a list of merchants who are selling their goods online. Continue to check back for an updated list.

Click on the name of the business below to go to its e-Commerce page.

Aspen

Aviator Nation
Brecken Gold Hemp
Sandy’s Office Supply

Basalt

Bookbinders Basalt

Glenwood Springs

Homsted
TreadZ
The Silver Bead and Yarn Shop
Sandy’s Office Supply

Rifle

Whitt & Co Clothing

Chambers of Commerce participating include:

If you want to add your business to the list, fill out this form or contact you’re local chamber of commerce. You do not need to be a chamber member to take part in this, but in the interest of healthy business climate, they are helping with this project.

Q&A: Mental Health and Covid-19

This week’s live webinar features mental health professionals and advocates to talk about some of the issues surrounding mental health in the current conditions. Our panelists are: Dr. Matt Wong, a clinical psychologist in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.; Deanna Rhodes, executive director of CONNECT Summit County in Park City, Utah; and Phebe Bell, Director of Behavioral Health for the Nevada County Health Department in Grass Valley, Calif.

Garfield County hospitals release COVID-19 treatment data

A total of 11 patients have been treated for the new coronavirus at Valley View Hospital since the beginning of the outbreak, according to new data released from Garfield County hospitals.

Grand River Hospital has not admitted any patients with COVID-19 since the outbreak began.

The data provides a clearer look at the pandemic situation in Garfield County than what was previously available. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment manages the testing, and releases daily data about confirmed cases and deaths attributed to COVID-19 by county, but does not release county-specific numbers on hospitalizations.

“Valley View recognizes the importance of information during this COVID-19 pandemic. It will therefore start to share regular COVID-19 statistics with the media and our community,” the hospital said in a statement.

“These statistics will hopefully affirm the collective importance of following public health guidance to best protect ourselves, our loved ones and fellow community members.”

Between Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and Grand River Hospital in Rifle, 312 people have been tested for COVID-19, and 29 of those results have come back positive. There were 33 pending results between both hospitals as of the news release Thursday.

To date, one person who tested positive for COVID-19 in Garfield County has died. It’s unclear how many people in the county have recovered from the disease.

Valley View has discharged some patients treated for COVID-19, but tracking recovered patients has been a problem for health officials statewide.

Many people with COVID-19 may not be tested due to the limited availability of tests. Only patients who are at high risk of severe complications and death, or those who require hospitalization, will receive testing.

“Not all positive patients require hospitalization. For patients with mild symptoms, his/her doctor may recommend that they recover at home with specific instruction,” Valley View said in a statement.

Valley View plans to release updated data on hospitalizations twice a week.

Garfield County Public Health is also hoping to gain useful data from the Aspen to Parachute community survey.

“We hope to also include more data from our symptoms self-report and our social distancing feeling self-report forms and encourage the public to continue to fill these out so that we have a better picture of what is occurring in our region,” the Public Health department said in a statement.

Both Grand River and Valley View hospitals are open for non-coronavirus emergencies, and encourage people to continue seeking medical care for ongoing issues.

“It’s important that individuals with serious chronic health issues like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and the like, do not forgo medical attention during this time of COVID-19 with their primary care providers,” Dr. Kevin Coleman, chief medical officer at Grand River Health, said in a statement.  

Conditions that need frequent monitoring can often be addressed over telehealth calls, Coleman said.

“We cannot stress enough how important it is to not delay or neglect your health in any manner during this time,” he added.

Community spread of COVID-19 happens primarily by person-to-person contact, prompting social distancing guidelines and stay-at-home orders. The goal is to reduce the initial spike of cases that could overwhelm hospital resources. 

The peak of cases could be weeks away, according to the health department.

“It’s too early to see if the curve is flattening as we are only a week in to (Gov. Jared Polis’) stay at home order,” Garfield County Public health said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, we don’t expect to see diminishing cases for 4-6 weeks.”

tphippen@postindependent.com

What a face mask can do against COVID-19 and what it can’t

The federal government may recommend people wear masks in public, but the surgical and homemade masks gaining popularity offer only limited protection.

“I think there is a lot of benefit, but it’s really important that people understand what the benefit is, and also what the limitations are,” said Sarah Gordon, a Glenwood Springs native and consultant with Intrinsic Environment, Health & Safety.

According to Gordon, the greatest benefit to face masks isn’t that they keep out viruses, but that they stop people from touching their face as much.

Unlike the N-95 respirator used by health care professionals, which is in short supply, cloth masks and even surgical masks won’t keep out tiny viruses.

“The face masks don’t filter out the particle size of the virus. Viruses are tremendously tiny, and standard fabric is not going to filter out the virus,” Gordon said.

If someone lined up 1,000 microscopic COVID-19 virus particles end to end, it would be about the width of a human hair.

The novel coronavirus is the cause of the current pandemic, which breeds in the upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and mouth) and attacks the lungs.

While most facemasks won’t protect the wearer from contracting the disease, it can help an unwitting carrier of the virus from spreading it to others.

One of the ways wearing a mask could help slow the spread of disease, according to Gordon, is that people won’t touch their face as frequently.

“The benefit in wearing the facemask, for the general public, is that hopefully now that sneeze or sniffle or whatever it is, didn’t end up on their hands where they’re now going to touch a grocery cart, or a doorknob, or an elevator button,” Gordon said.

That is important since it’s possible someone might have the new coronavirus and spread it before showing symptoms.

And some who get it might not exhibit symptoms at all.

As many as 25 percent of people with COVID-19 might not have any symptoms, but could still spread the disease, CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield said Tuesday in an interview with a National Public Radio affiliate.

While wearing a mask might help, it is not a complete solution to avoiding COVID-19.

In Gordon’s work, which involves advising laboratories on protecting researchers from pathogens and other hazards, personal protective equipment is only part of how people stay safe.

“If you’re going to wear a homemade mask, you cannot let your guard down for all the other hygiene practices we all need to be doing,” Gordon said.

Those include frequent hand washing, avoiding going out in public, and maintaining 6 feet of distance.

Any viruses that are aerosolized in a sneeze or cough will get through the mask, Gordon said.

Even if the mask was made from a tightly weaved material, was sealed well to the face, it wouldn’t stop all particles from getting through.

“In a perfect scenario, you may have a mask that can slow down 60 percent of the viruses,” Gordon said.

Still, the masks can be beneficial because people won’t be touching their face as often.

The CDC so far has not advised the general public to wear facemasks. But it has recommended that people who are sick wear masks.

Others, including Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, have begun urging the government to advise Americans to don homemade masks.

To gain all the benefits of wearing a homemade mask, using tightly-knit materials that isn’t frayed is important.

Some do-it-yourself mask patterns have an outer layer, an inner layer and a pocket for disposable filters — Gordon says putting a HEPA vacuum filter in a mask pocket could help, as long as it’s not too difficult to breath through it.

Another important factor in homemade masks is what’s called cheek fit, or how well the mask seals to the skin.

To ensure that air doesn’t flow between the mask and the skin, it should be as tight as possible. That’s why elastic bands aren’t ideal, since it can lose its tautness. 

It’s also a good idea to sew wire in the mask where it goes over the nose, to squeeze it into a shape that fits the face.

Gordon advises people store masks in a plastic bag, until they can be washed with soap and water. Having two masks so that one can be laundered while another is available for use is a good idea, Gordon said.

tphippen@postindependent.com

Editor’s note: This post has been updated for clarity.

Carbondale calls for volunteers

The Carbondale Emergency Task Force is looking for volunteers to help out with the community’s work supporting seniors and others who have to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The task force wants volunteers who can deliver meals to at-risk individuals and the elderly, through either the Carbondale Recreation Center or Valley Meals and More, a nonprofit partner.

Currently, Valley Meals delivers 27 meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Carbondale, but with more people stuck in quarantine, they expect demand to increase.

Other volunteers could help by making care calls to check in with high-risk individuals over the phone.

The Carbondale Rec Center is providing a number of services to those in quarantine, including assistance obtaining medications, dog walking, meal delivery from restaurants with takeout, and emotional support.

Those in need should call the Rec Center’s hotline at 970-510-1292.

The task force also is looking for volunteers who can contribute their expertise in areas of health, economy, strategic communications, human capital, finance, technology, advocacy, and crisis response.

To sign up to volunteer, visit the task force website.

Glenwood Springs City Council to look at possibly restricting vacation rentals during stay-at-home order

Despite a statewide stay-at-home order, some vacation rentals in Glenwood Springs remain available.

Thursday, at its regularly scheduled meeting, city council will look at possible restrictions for VRBOs (vacation rentals by owner) during the stay-at-home order.

“If people flee big cities and come here, I don’t think that’s a good idea until we know how bad this is going to get,” said Councilor Tony Hershey. “We can’t have people coming here and getting sick, or bringing COVID(-19) from other places.”

According to Public Information Officer Hannah Klausman, Glenwood Springs has 99 vacation rentals on the grid – 88 short-term rentals and 11 accessory tourist rentals.

Short-term rental owners can rent out an entire residence whereas those operating accessory tourist rentals can only offer a single room.

The city has not limited any vacation rental owner’s ability to rent out  property to guests at this time.

“All of this has to boil down to common sense,” Councilor Rick Voorhees said. “I hope the short term rental people haven’t been booking new reservations.”

Some vacation rentals in Glenwood Springs still show availability on sites like vrbo.com. whereas others will not accept any reservations until the end of April.

Many area hotels and motels have also elected to close their doors temporarily and voluntarily.

The state’s standing public health order identifies “Hotels, and places of accommodation” as a critical business exempt from Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order.

“Every exemption that we make just seems to allow another loophole for somebody,” Voorhees said. “At some point self-responsibility has to take over.”

At last week’s special city council meeting, councilors did not vote on a resolution that would have adopted the city’s own public health order.

Many of the restrictions in Glenwood’s public health order were already instituted in Gov. Jared Polis’ executive order declared shortly before council’s own special meeting.

However, the city’s own public health order would have placed stricter regulations on short-term lodging businesses including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and short-term rentals.

“We do not have enough ICU beds, we do not have enough ventilators to accommodate an influx of people from other areas,” Mayor Jonathan Godes said. “Any venue that contributes to, potentially, the transportation or transmission of infected people from one community to the next – we got to shut it down.”

Had it been approved as written last Thursday, the city’s public health order would have prevented short-term lodging businesses from taking new reservations from March 26 until an unspecified date in April.

The city’s order would have also forced short-term lodging units to vacate their premises with some exceptions; local workers, individuals experiencing symptoms of illness and anyone under a quarantine or isolation order from Garfield County would have been permitted to stay.

Whether or not council decides to adopt any of those additional measures remains to be seen at Thursday’s meeting.

“I just want to have the discussion,” Hershey said.

mabennett@postindependent.com

Garfield County reports first death of person with COVID-19

A woman in her 70s who tested positive for COVID-19 died Saturday, a news release from Garfield County Public Health reports.

The release states the woman “had other significant health conditions” and that the county “extends deep condolences to the family members of the woman for their loss.”

No other information about the woman was available Saturday.

County public health urged people to continue practicing social distancing and to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19.

Garfield County’s first confirmed case of COVID-19 came March 14. As of Saturday, there were 23 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The total number of positive cases is unlikely to represent how widespread COVID-19 is in Garfield County, as testing is being made available only for those who are critically ill in a high-risk group where diagnosis would benefit treatment.

Q&A: COVID-19 and the Economy

This week’s live webinar focuses on common questions about COVID-19 and its impact on the economy. Our panelists are Martin Shields, professor and Director of the Regional Economics Institute at Colorado State University, and Kat Papenbrock, Rural Opportunity Representative for Western Colorado with the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

UPDATED: 33 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Garfield County

This post will be updated daily.

Garfield County now has 33 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

To date, only one person has died after testing positive for COVID-19 in Garfield County.

Due to the limited availability of testing, not every potential case of COVID-19 will be tested, so the number of actual cases is likely higher.

Across Colorado, 509 people had been hospitalized Monday, and there have been 69 deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19 since the outbreak began. Those figures were not broken down by County.

Previous update Thursday, March 26:

Garfield County had 16 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus as of Thursday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Due to the limited availability of testing, not every potential case of COVID-19 will be tested, so the number of actual cases is likely higher.

Across Colorado, 184 people had been hospitalized by Thursday, and there were 24 deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19. Those figures were not broken down by County.

County health officials ask people to assume that the new coronavirus is spreading through the community, but the county will not release the town where persons have tested positive to protect the private health information of COVID-19 patients.

The state health department is counting cases where patients with COVID-19 symptoms and contact with other confirmed cases as positive, even if there hasn’t been a formal test done by the state.

“This new format, which will initially show a jump in COVID-19 cases in Garfield County, assumes that symptomatic individuals who have had close contact with people that have lab-confirmed COVID-19, also have COVID-19,” the Garfield County Department of Public Health said in a press release.

UPDATED: Gov. Polis issues statewide stay-at-home order

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday he is issuing a statewide stay-at-home order in an attempt to stem the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

Polis said he is taking this “extreme measure,” effective Thursday until April 11, because the restrictions taken to date haven’t been enough to reduce the spread of the virus.

“If we don’t take these actions that we are taking today, and frankly, if you don’t stay home, this will create a much worse economic disaster with greater disruption, greater loss of jobs for a longer period of time,” he said at a news conference.

People should only leave home when they absolutely must, he said, for grocery shopping, to seek medical care or to care for dependents, for example.

Polis said state officials have measured the effect of social distancing restrictions by tracking people’s cellphone location data, real-time traffic information and other such metadata sources.

“The bottom line is, I don’t have the comfort level that the existing extreme measures that we’ve taken to date are enough to buy us the time we need to save lives here in Colorado,” he said.

The order comes after six Colorado counties issued stay-at-home directives affecting nearly 3 million people to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients. The Denver, Aspen and Telluride areas had previously issued stay-at-home orders.

As of Wednesday, 1,086 people in Colorado have tested positive for the coronavirus and 19 have died. The number of people hospitalized by the disease doubled overnight, and about 15% of people who were tested after showing symptoms have the coronavirus, said Polis, who has submitted a formal request for President Donald Trump to declare Colorado a major disaster area.

The governor also said he supported the $2 trillion economic relief deal that was moving through Congress, which would be the largest in U.S. history. The measure would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits and help small businesses pay employees who are forced to stay home.

“When Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump agree, you know that it’s important,” Polis said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

People did not seem to be taking previous warnings and actions, like the closure of restaurants, seriously, and false information, such as COVID-19 being akin to the flu, has persisted, Jefferson County Public Health executive director Mark Johnson said. He hopes the orders help make people realize how serious the outbreak is.

“This is truly the greatest public health crisis this nation has seen at least since 1918,” he said.

Read the list of critical businesses and operations that may remain open, and other FAQs related to the order here.

Enforcement FAQ

How will this order be enforced?
This order is an executive order, which means it’s the law of Colorado. It’s illegal to break the law.
Will the Colorado National Guard be enforcing this order?
No. The Colorado National Guard will be supporting logistics, transportation, and medical response efforts. The Guard will not be enforcing this order.
Residents who suspect that someone is violating the order should first contact their local public health agency to report any concerns. Residents may also file a report with the Attorney General’s Office at
covid19@coag.gov if local law enforcement or a local public health agency is unresponsive.
For more information about public health orders and how they are enforced click here.

How does this impact local municipalities that have already taken steps to enact stay at home orders?
● Any local jurisdiction can put in requirements that are more restrictive and anything that was in place stays in place.

Source: Governor’s Office FAQ regarding the stay-at-home order

Meanwhile, medical staffers based at Colorado’s Fort Carson are being deployed to Washington State to back up doctors and nurses treating coronavirus patients in one of the nation’s hardest-hit areas. More than 300 members of the 627th Hospital Center will head to Washington to provide supplemental routine and emergency medical care to help free up Washington providers to focus on detecting and treating patients believed to have been exposed to COVID-19, Fort Carson announced Tuesday.

Within hours of deploying, the unit is capable of establishing a 148-bed full-service hospital even in the most austere conditions, according to The Colorado Springs Gazette. The hospitals can be in customized tents or repurposed civilian buildings.