Pitkin emotional check-in data helps officials ‘take the temperature’ of the public

People enjoy the Rio Grande Trail in Basalt on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “I’m freaking out” and 10 being “I feel awesome,” how are you feeling?

For most people who took Pitkin County Public Health’s “emotional check-in” survey, it’s somewhere in the middle.

On Thursday evening, county officials released the current data collected via the self-reported emotional tracker survey, which was launched March 24 with a similar survey asking county residents to self-report any suspected COVID-19-related symptoms they may be experiencing.

As of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, about the same number of locals had responded to both surveys, with 222 people taking part in the emotional check-in (about 1.2% of the Pitkin County population).

When asked to choose from a list of emotions that may align with how people are feeling about the COVID-19 outbreak, 45% of emotional check-in respondents said they are feeling hopeful, 32% said they are feeling doubtful, 10% said optimistic and 10% said they are feeling hopeless.

When asked to define how they are feeling in general — this time using the 1 to 10 scale — the survey data show the largest numbers of respondents are at a “4,” “5,” “7,” and “8.”

The survey data also shows respondents are generally having a “very easy” or “somewhat easy” time fulfilling social distancing-related requirements like proper hand hygiene, staying home when they have potential COVID-19 symptoms and disinfecting surfaces.

According to Bill Linn, spokesperson for the Pitkin County Incident Management Team and assistant Aspen police chief, county officials will continue to look at response data collected through the emotional check-in survey, which is still open to participate in, to get a sense of how the community is doing, how county officials can better frame their messaging on the COVID-19 outbreak and overall how they can better support Pitkin County locals. All emotional check-in data will also be shared with county mental health providers, Linn said.

“The whole idea is to take the temperature of the public and use it as a way to guide our messaging toward the community,” Linn said. “We want to know how everybody is doing and do our best to help the community through this.”

Right now, Linn said the county incident management team is pushing out information on the COVID-19 crisis through all popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and even TikTok.

Linn also said the incident management team is looking at other survey prompts it can put out to the public to better understand how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting the Pitkin community and what information locals want more of.

“We’re talking internally about what else we can survey the public about, because this survey method has the ability to provide a lot of information in a relatively short period of time,” Linn said. “We do need this information to help guide us.”

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