Three years after the first COVID-19 case was reported in Colorado and Pitkin County, this week’s update of “Tracking the Curve” will be the last.
Over the past few months, the data has become less reliable as people rely more on at-home testing, resulting in fewer cases and positive tests being reported to the state and local public health departments. In addition to the issue with data quality, the number of weekly new cases reported in each of the three counties we cover — Eagle, Garfield and Pitkin — have remained stable in the past three months, as have the number of weekly hospitalizations across the state.
“Tracking the Curve ” evolved in the past three years as the pandemic unfolded. It started with a series of screenshots of local public health department’s web pages in the spring of 2020 before interactive charts became an integral part of this post in the summer of 2020. Through the efforts of Data Desk Editor Laurine Lassalle, who has faithfully kept “Tracking the Curve” updated with new information on testing, infections, vaccine uptake, hospitalizations and more, we believe we helped inform our community about the virus during this uncertain time. Lassalle updated the post five days per week until spring of 2022, at which point we cut publication frequency down to two days per week. In November of last year, we reduced the frequency to one post per week.
Since 2020, we have issued more than 500 “Tracking the Curve” updates, documenting a total of more than 44,000 reported cases in our region.
Rest assured that we will continue to follow this data internally and will pursue stories as they emerge.
Also at Aspen Journalism this week, we published Water Desk Editor Sackett’s latest on the convoluted process through which applications for funding through the System Conservation Program (SCP) are being reviewed. This has become a contentious topic in western Colorado, as the prospect of $125 million in federal dollars on the table to pay agricultural water users to cut back stirs fears about encouraging investment water speculation and undermining rural quality of life. Sackett has been “bird dogging” this issue (that’s newsroom speak for staying on top of it) as representatives of the Colorado River Water Conservation District increasingly feel as though they have been cut out of a meaningful review process, despite promises to the contrary from state officials. Keep an eye out for more next week as we continue to report out the story as it develops.
And don’t miss our Data Dashboard, which marks another important seasonal milestone this week: Lake Powell began its seasonal refilling as of March 19, with more water flowing in than flowing out in the week prior as an early spring warm spell boosted snowmelt. With unsettled weather patterns continuing, anticipation for peak snowpack and the transition into what’s sure to be an epic runoff is high.
Thank you for reading, and supporting, Aspen Journalism.
– Curtis Wackerle
Editor and executive director
Tracking the Curve
Eagle and Garfield counties have each reported over 18,000 COVID-19 cases since March 2020 when the pandemic started. Pitkin County has recorded about 8,000 cases since 2020.
By Laurine Lassalle | March 23, 2023
Eagle County has reported 18,873 COVID-19 cases since March 2020 when the pandemic started. Garfield County has added 18,069 cases, while Pitkin County has recorded 8,086 cases.
West Slope water managers will not review, approve applications for conservation program
River District criteria will not be used to evaluate projects
By Heather Sackett | March 17, 2023
Eight of the proposed projects are in the southwest corner of the state, within the bounds of the Southwestern Water Conservation District, and get their irrigation water from the Dolores Project.
Data dashboard: Lake Powell on the rise for the first time in months
Roaring Fork basin snowpack is still well above normal
By Laurine Lassalle | March 22, 2023
• Roaring Fork basin snowpack reached 136% of median on March 19.
• Lake Powell’s elevation increased for the first time in months from 3,520.5 feet last week to 3.521 feet on March 19.
• High air temperatures are on the rise as they gained about 10 degrees in four days.
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