Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) continues to see relatively small numbers of patients with respiratory conditions related to COVID-19. This is good news. In the three plus weeks since the first cases were identified, it is clear we would otherwise be seeing a greater surge if not for your efforts to help slow the spread.
Unfortunately, we are beginning to see more severe symptoms and critically ill patients, a reality related to the life-cycle of the virus. The small percentage of affected patients who require intensive care for their condition (5-12% in the U.S.), often do so at around 10-12 days from the date of onset. These may be the patients we are beginning to see. Tragically, we have already had two deaths in the community. The lesson is that each unnecessary exposure to this virus represents a threat to the life of a community member; the stakes are clear. Thankfully, the community has overwhelmingly responded and is abiding by, if not embracing, the painful lifestyle changes to fight this battle.
As your community hospital, it is most essential now, as always, that our community knows we are here for you when you need us. We have postponed elective procedures and services, in the interest of hospital readiness and social distancing, for which we greatly appreciate our community’s understanding and patience. It was simply the right thing to do. And we have closed the Snowmass Clinic in order to redeploy resources to our Respiratory Evaluation Tent. But to be clear, the hospital remains open and prepared to manage your urgent and emergency needs, of any kind and variety.
Even during a global pandemic, injuries and illnesses still occur, and diseases are not suspended. We are here for all of these needs, just as we always have been. With careful planning and extra processes, we are able to separate respiratory patients from our general patient population and maintain a safe environment for all.
For those in our community with respiratory symptoms, we and your local physicians want you to ask questions, stay informed, closely monitor your condition, report your symptoms to the Pitkin County COVID-19 Symptoms Tracker, and seek assistance for managing your symptoms when they become more difficult, or severe. Or critical. Your hospital and healthcare community are ready today and are continually preparing for tomorrow, to meet the needs of our patients with the COVID-19 virus. To help you understand all of the resources that are available to support you, we have provided the information you need in this newsletter. We hope you find it useful, and we invite you to visit our website for more information and resources.
During these uncertain and dark times, particularly when our community is separated and often alone, our lights will steadily shine from the hill up Castle Creek Road.