Moffat County is reporting two new cases of COVID-19 this week. One is a male in his 30s and the other is a woman in her 40s. That brings the total number of confirmed cases to 37 with two now active. The number of tests administered in Moffat County is 2,518. Moffat County is one of five counties in Colorado that has been approved to move into the final recovery phase of Protect Our Neighbors with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The statewide mask order issued by Governor Polis is still in effect.
Moffat County has been given Protect Our Neighbors status from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. It means the county can move back to 50 percent capacity of what residents and businesses were doing before the pandemic hit. Moffat County Public Health Medical Officer, Dr. Allan Rieshus says the state has a lot of criteria that a county has to meet to move into the Protect Our Neighbors phase.
Dr. Reishus also says contact tracers are up to speed and the numbers are down and very low in Moffat County, which are all factors that were important for Moffat County to be approved. The request was also supported by Craig Police and the Moffat County Sheriff’s office, Memorial Regional Health and Moffat County Public Health. Moffat County is still required to operate under the mask order from Governor Jared Polis, despite the new status.
A 15-year-old girl from Hayden has been missing since Aug. 18. Her name is Luzmia Verastica. If you have any information, call 911, or the Hayden Police Department.
Colorado Department of Transportation is considering adding a new bus route that would start in Craig, go through Steamboat, and on to Kremmling, Winter Park, and then Denver. It’s one of four new bus routes in the state that would provide mobility options. Those with the project plan to speak with Moffat County and Craig officials to get their feedback. Julie Skeen is working with CDOT on the project. They spoke with Routt County Commissioners Monday.
The new Bustang route would be paid for by CDOT using federal and state funds. Each bus would hold 35 passengers. There would be one round trip per day, five days a week. The cost from Craig to Denver would be $34 dollars one way, Craig to Kremmling would be $16, and Craig to Hayden would be $3. CDOT will be reaching out to stakeholders in communities along the route. They hope to start the program in January.
The Covid-19 case count for Moffat County remains at 35, which puts the count at a low risk of transmission. Moffat County Public Health Medical Officer, Dr. Allan Rieshus says he thinks the residents of the county are doing very well.
Dr. Reishus has been a physician in Moffat County for 45 years and was recently retired before coming back to work with Moffat County Public Health.
Moffat County has a new Medical Officer for Public Health. Moffat County Commissioners asked Dr. Allan Reishus to come out of retirement and help out with the job.
Dr. Reishus has maintained his medical license and still lives in Craig since retirement. The job as Moffat County’s Medical Officer for Public Health is a part-time, volunteer job. He’ll be an advisor and consultant to the Public Health Department.
Moffat County is reporting no new cases of COVID-19 in the community this week. The number stands at 34. Moffat County Public Health has applied to the state to move into the Protect Our Neighbors phase.
Rio Blanco County has 21 total cases with one active case. Rio Blanco County is one of three Colorado counties that have been approved to move into the Protect Our Neighbors phase, after making progress to contain the virus. Mesa County which is where Grand Junction is located is another county, as is Gilpin County, which is where Black Hawk and Central City are located.
Wind, Rain, Snow, Smoke, and more wind pounded Steamboat Springs Tuesday. The winds were howling throughout the valley. Unconfirmed reports have them at over 100 miles per hour up at Steamboat Resort.
Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B5jPZLIXgk&feature=youtu.be
Trees were snapping and are down all over town. The sound of chainsaws could be heard throughout neighborhoods into the evening. City crews were out early to help clear downed trees from the roadways. Here’s Public Works Director Jon Snyder.
Snyder says cleanup of the trees will take quite a while.
Power also went out in Moffat and Routt Counties. Many also many lost internet service. Rabbit Ears Pass closed for a while because of icy conditions and blowing snow.
Monday was a smoky day in Northwest Colorado. The Middle Fork Fire is burning in Routt National Forest bringing a lot of smoke to the Yampa Valley. It’s in the Middle Fork of Mad Creek in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs. Aaron Voos with Routt National Forest says they think it started from lightning Sunday, but grew quickly Monday, burning over 3,500 acres.
Then Monday, the fire headed east, toward a small system of lakes.
Snow in the high country will certainly help the Middle Fork Fire.
Helicopters are helping dump water buckets on the fire. A Multi-Mission Aircraft from Colorado is flying over the region and getting a more accurate map of the fire using infrared and color sensors which is better for more mapping at high altitudes. No firefighters are on the ground. But more teams have been ordered in to help.
The area of the fire will be closed today for hunters, campers, and hikers. That will include a portion of the Continental Divide Trail, and over the border into Jackson County.
Because of all of the fires, the air quality last night started reaching levels where healthy adults could experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Levels were very high in Steamboat Springs, also along the I-70 corridor, and over 100 in Meeker and Rangely. Routt County officials asked residents to please try to remain indoors if possible. Check the air quality conditions at www.PurpleAir.com
A convicted felon who shot at local law enforcement while trying to get away in an allegedly stolen truck last week, got caught and is still in the Routt County Jail. 38-year-old Benjamin Neighbors is being held on a $250,000 cash surety bond set by Judge Garrecht on Friday. His driver’s license says he’s from Oregon. The chase started near Clark and headed down to Highway 40 and west toward Moffat County. Colorado State Patrol put out stop strips and the truck was stopped when the tires blew. Neighbors has multiple felony charges but more charges are expected to be added before his next court date which is this Wednesday afternoon.
A small fire started in a remote area north of Hayden last night. It was in the Sugar Loaf Bears Ears area, about two miles from Routt County Road 80. Craig Dispatch sent a helicopter out, with help from West Routt Fire and other state firefighters. It was only about an acre, and they got it out, and then kept an eye out for spot fires on the perimeter. Mo Demorat with the Routt County Office of Emergency Management wants to remind everyone, especially hunters, that no campfires are allowed.
Both Routt and Moffat Counties are in Stage Two Fire Restrictions.
There are no new cases of COVID-19 in Moffat County this week. The county has had 34 positive cases since testing began in March. Because of those low numbers, Moffat County Public Health is applying for the Protect Your Neighbor phase of recovery with the state of Colorado. Moffat County Public Health Director Kari Ladrow says it is good news.
If Moffat County moves into the Protect Your Neighbors phase, it means the county will be allowed to return to activities at 50 percent of pre-pandemic capacity with at least six feet between non-household members and no more than 500 people in one place at any time. Moffat County Board of Health is expecting to hear back from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 10 to 14 days.
The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office says United States Marshals have arrested Rick Barnes of Craig. He was arrested in Oklahoma Tuesday morning after more than a month on the run. Sheriff’s Office investigators have been working with the U.S. Marshals since an arrest warrant was issued last month, and that’s what led to the arrest of Barnes. He is facing 20-25 years in prison after a plea deal on felony charges of sexual assault, and sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. Barnes has a court date scheduled for Sept. 16 and then again in mid-October. Barnes will be sent back to Moffat County very soon.