Routt County is hiring COVID-19 ambassadors |

Routt County is hiring COVID-19 ambassadors

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Routt County is looking to hire several COVID-19 ambassadors, bolstering its effort to slow the spread of the virus as cases are surging throughout the state.

The new ambassadors will work with the Routt County Public and Environmental Health Departments to do business monitoring and help educate and communicate with businesses to ensure compliance with local public health orders.

“Mostly, it is just an education and outreach effort, making sure they (businesses) have the information they need, making sure they are complying with public health orders,” said Scott Cowman, Routt County environmental health director. “That is the idea, that we get some more people out in the community and try to increase our oversight presence.”

County officials have been doing similar business checks throughout the summer utilizing both county and city of Steamboat Springs staff who were furloughed. As those employees return to work, the county hopes to replace them with these ambassadors.

“We have been doing this over the summer, but what we are trying to do is increase those efforts and get out and see more businesses,” Cowman said.

The new hires will not only check businesses for compliance, they’ll also reach out to businesses to make sure they understand the public health orders.

Ambassadors will work from a check list to ensure businesses are following their COVID-19 mitigation plans.

Cowman said ideally the county would like to hire four ambassadors to work alongside two other county employees who are already making calls to businesses.

“We want qualified people, and it takes some people skills to be able to go out and approach businesses, so we are looking for the right type of person to be able to do that,” Cowman said.

The need for additional help has been discussed at Routt County Board of Health meetings in recent weeks as something that could help increase communication and help with other efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Since then, county officials have put more restrictions in place, but they still are pursuing a communication strategy to get more people to practice proper social distancing, wear masks and limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people from two households.

Public health ambassadors have been used on several college campuses with students training, so they can properly educate and support their peers to follow health guidelines.

The job posting has been public for about 10 days. The position will likely work an irregular schedule of 10 to 20 hours per week and will be paid $23.50 per hour, according to the posting.

“That is the idea, that we get some more people out in the community and try to increase our oversight presence, try to make sure everybody understands what the public health orders are,” Cowman said. “It is really a continuation and ramping up of that effort that was already ongoing.”

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