Public officials host panel discussion to answer health questions about coronavirus
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — City of Steamboat Springs and Routt County officials will host a panel discussion on Friday, March 20, to address people’s health questions regarding the outbreak of a novel coronavirus.
The virtual discussion starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday and features professionals from the medical community. The list of panelists includes Routt County Public Health Director Kari Ladrow, Routt County Public Health Officer Dr. Brian Harrington, Dr. Laura Sehnert with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center and Interim Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli.
Steamboat Pilot & Today Editor Lisa Schlichtman will moderate the panel discussion, which will be available as a live video on Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Facebook page, on the local news station Comcast TV6 and on the city’s website. It also will be posted on SteamboatPilot.com.
Steamboat City Manager Gary Suiter said the discussion is a way to answer commonly held questions regarding the dangers of and responses to COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has killed thousands of people across the world.
Among the most prevalent concerns are questions about who should be tested for the virus, what to do if people think they have been exposed and the capacity of local health care centers to treat patients.
For many in Routt County, these concerns heightened after public health officials announced that seven visitors to the area tested presumptive positive for COVID-19 after returning to their native Australia.
“We are getting a lot of questions,” Suiter said, adding that, in many cases, no clear answers have emerged about how to most effectively deal with the pandemic.
At the city level, Suiter has been working with staff to ensure people have the capacity to work safely from home. In cases where it is necessary for staff to work in city buildings, people are maintaining the recommended 6 feet of distance from one another to limit social contact.
Suiter wants to organize more panel discussions next week, covering topics such as what schools and businesses are doing amid the pandemic and how to maintain mental health during social isolation periods.
“I would just like to keep these going while we work through this crisis,” Suiter said.
In a news release, Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan emphasized the importance of public discussion and government transparency.
“We’re all in this together and by sharing as much information as possible, we’ll all be in a better place to make decisions moving forward,” Corrigan said in the news release.
Despite the uncertainty that surrounds the pandemic, Steamboat Springs City Council President Jason Lacy urged the public to remain optimistic and to remember that this is a temporary situation.
“This is going to be tough for a certain period of time, but we are going to get through this. Steamboat always does,” Lacy said.
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Twenty months after the South Routt School District announced it would close because of a burgeoning coronavirus, COVID-19 is more prevalent in South Routt than ever before.