Pitkin County Board of Health to discuss mask advisory during special meeting Monday | AspenTimes.com

Pitkin County Board of Health to discuss mask advisory during special meeting Monday

Volunteer Arabella Beavers carries a tray of cupcakes to a waiting car during the Aspen Family Connections food drive at the middle school on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The line of cars wrapped around to the high school to receive food. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

The Pitkin County Board of Health will host a special meeting Monday to discuss the specifics of a face mask advisory for the community, officials said Sunday.

Although Gov. Jared Polis on April 3 asked all Coloradans to begin wearing cloth-based, non-medical masks when they leave their homes, Pitkin County Board of Health Chair Markey Butler said much of the volunteer board is in support of issuing a mask advisory at the county level, too.

“Even though we’ve seen a lot of compliance locally, this is just another line of protection,” Butler said Sunday.

She went on to say that the advisory is anticipated to be more of an education-driven initiative versus a formal public health order, recommending Pitkin County locals to wear face masks when visiting essential businesses, including grocery stores and post offices.

She said county locals would not be asked to wear masks on area trails, so long as they maintain 6 feet apart from others and do not gather in groups of more than five people.

If issued Monday, the county’s mask advisory would join Glenwood Spring’s public health order requiring face coverings for essential activities outside of the home issued April 6 and the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s face mask requirement for every person boarding a bus, which goes into effect Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain” as a way to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, namely by helping people who may have the virus and don’t know it from transmitting it to others.

At the national, state and county level, people are encouraged to make cloth masks out of items they may have at home, like old T-shirts or scarves, and to wash them after every trip out of the house.

Butler, who also is the mayor of Snowmass Village, said town officials are looking at distributing buffs to village residents in need of a face covering this coming week, and that the city of Aspen is expected to pursue something similar.

Do-it-yourself ideas for mask making also are available at the Colorado Mask Project website, and locals interested in joining the local mask making efforts spearheaded by a handful of Roaring Fork Valley sewers should email Claudia Cunningham at sixangels@comcast.net, as previously reported.

The specifics of the expected Pitkin County mask advisory will be hashed out at the Board of Health’s special meeting Monday, which will be open to the public to watch via Zoom at 3 p.m. There will not be an opportunity for public comment during the meeting.

The Board of Health also will convene during a regular meeting Thursday, when it is expected to discuss construction during the COVID-19 crisis, the opening of area golf courses and a strategy for the distribution of the county’s 1,000 COVID-19 antibody tests.

As of Sunday afternoon, Bill Linn, spokesperson for the Pitkin County Incident Management Team and assistant Aspen police chief, said there were no major updates from the IMT in regards to the COVID-19 response. Through Saturday, there have been 49 confirmed cases in the county and two deaths, according to state data.

The COVID-19 antibody tests and their community distribution will be the “number one topic of conversation” Monday, Linn said, and the incident management team is expected to host its Thursday community meeting in conjunction with the regular Board of Health meeting.


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