After a hiatus due to COVID-19, expect a different experience
Aspen Valley Hospital is planning to host its popular annual health fair over two weekends this fall, for the first time since the onset of COVID-19.
“We’re grateful to be able to bring this important event back to the community,” says event organizer Jennifer Slaughter. “It has taken a lot of diligent planning to ensure the timing and format support the safety of our staff and the community as we emerge from the pandemic.”
For those familiar with health fair, the format is going to look and feel a little different this year than in years past:
- The 2021 health fair will be spread out over two four-day sessions in late September and October. The first is planned for Sept. 30-Oct. 3; the second from Oct. 21-24.
- Appointments will be required. No walk-ins will be allowed.
- Only blood draws will be available; no additional screenings will be offered.
- Following CDC guidelines for healthcare facilities, all participants will be temperature screened upon entry, and all will be required to wear masks regardless of vaccination status.
“We had to completely rethink this event because of COVID,” says Slaughter. “But there are silver linings. By offering blood draw appointments only, and over more days, people have the flexibility to find a day and time that works for their schedules,” Slaughter explains. “It also makes it possible for the Hospital to offer enough appointments to meet anticipated demand.”
The health fair will take place in two locations: at Aspen Valley Hospital, in the Oden Conference Center, and at the El Jebel Community Center, where it has been hosted in the past. Appointments will be available in Aspen on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and they are planned for Sundays in El Jebel.
In recent years, the old emergency room at the Hospital has served as the site for health fair blood draws in Aspen, but that space is no longer available because it is being used as the COVID-19 Respiratory Evaluation Center. So, the team had to get creative due to space restrictions and available resources.
“We are able to use the Hospital’s conference room space this year, which was inspired by the successful model we implemented in our COVID-19 vaccination clinics,” Slaughter says. “We should be able to get people in and out quite efficiently.”
When people show up for their appointment, they will be screened for COVID-19, then follow a quick registration and payment process before having their blood taken. All appointments, regardless of day or location, will fall between 8-11 am as some of the tests will require fasting. The familiar screenings from past fairs, such as vision, body mass index and blood pressure, will not be available due to the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created.
Also new this year, Aspen Valley Hospital is working with a new vendor, It Starts With Me Health, to manage the health fair appointments and send out results packets. Participants will still have the opportunity to opt in to an online results sharing platform, Quality Health Network, making it easy to share test results with their physician.
What can you do now? Simply save the dates on your calendar. In August, health fair organizers will post more information about appointment booking and the tests available. Stay in the know by checking the health fair page of the Aspen Valley Hospital website at aspenhospital.org and in announcements via local media.