Sad News – and Smoke – on The Doorstep
Second COVID Death Reported In Lake County
On Saturday, July 21, 2021, officials with the Lake County Public Health Agency (LCPHA) confirmed a second known death of a Lake County resident associated with a positive COVID-19 infection. The male was in his 70s and unvaccinated.
“We send our deepest condolences to all who are impacted by this loss,” shared LCPHA Director Colleen Nielsen. “As we mourn this loss, we also take this opportunity to urgently plead with each member of our community to consider the proven methods to protect yourself and those you love from COVID-19, including vaccination and social distancing precautions,” Nielsen added.
The most effective ways to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus are to get a Covid 19 vaccine, to stay home (away from work, school, child care, and activities) when you are not feeling well, get tested as soon as possible, and wash your hands often. Unvaccinated individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces.
The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost, and identification or insurance is not required. Everyone 12 years of age and older is eligible to be vaccinated. The COVID 19 vaccine has been shown to be effective against the Delta variant and other variants at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death.
Rafting Death on Arkansas River
According to a media release distributed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on Saturday, July 24, 2021, rangers responded to a 911 call about a river incident after a commercial raft flipped near the Numbers Recreation Site on the Arkansas River. The Numbers is a steep and rocky 5-mile section of the river within CPW’s Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), north of Buena Vista. The Numbers section is known for technical and challenging rafting.
AHRA rangers responded and when they arrived on the scene they learned a raft flipped in what is known as rapid No. 5. A commercial rafting company downstream of the incident rescued a non-responsive man from the river and a commercial guide immediately began performing CPR on the victim.
AHRA rangers were joined at the scene by Chaffee County Sheriff’s deputies and Chaffee County EMS personnel. AHRA rangers along with Chaffee EMS took over CPR from the guide and deployed an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, on the victim but were unable to revive him. Emergency personnel declared the victim deceased and the body was turned over to the Chaffee County Coroner for identification and determination of the cause of death.
The AHRA is a linear state park following the 152-mile corridor of the Arkansas River from its confluence just below Leadville to Lake Pueblo State Park.
The Homestake Arkansas River Diversion Project
On The Other Side: Where There’s Smoke
That old faithful backbone of the American West known more formally as the Colorado Rocky Mountains is likely most responsible for Lake County’s air quality report remaining in the green, “good” zone. Yes, according to sky-watch experts, the Continental Divide is creating a natural block from a lot of the smoke and haze from wildfires in the region and throughout the west. Other areas are not so fortunate as northwestern Colorado continues to battle a number of blazes as reported by the Bureau of Land Management.
With so many air quality websites available these days, it can be challenging to know which one to use for information – especially during a wildfire. Use this document to learn more about using key parts of the AirNow website: the Fire and Smoke Map, the Dial, and the Interactive Map.
During wildfire season, sky-watches recommend using the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map. That’s because they’ve been able to add data from low-cost air sensors to the map as part of a pilot project between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The goal of the pilot, launched in August 2020, is to provide additional information on air quality during wildfires, especially in areas where AirNow monitors or Forest Service temporary monitors may not exist. In addition to sensor data, the map features fine particle pollution (also known as fine particulate matter, or PM 2.5) data from the regulatory grade air pollution monitors that report to AirNow and from temporary monitors deployed by the U.S. Forest Service, along with information on large fire incidents, satellite-detected fires, smoke plumes and special smoke statements.
As for the weather, the days ahead will see a consistent monsoonal flow keeping the daytime temperatures in the mid to low 70s while nighttime readings dip into the low 40s. So any flatlander visitors should be prepared for cooler weather; this is summertime in Leadville. Enjoy the welcome, wet weather!