Observers of the AVH Capacity Matrix will have noticed we have moved our Daily Visits indicator back to “Comfortable” from “Cautious.” However encouraging, this status remains highly tenuous as we have averaged just less than the 16-visit threshold in our COVID testing center for the past 14 days. Also, we are seeing small but notable increases in visits to the Emergency Department by patients with COVID symptoms. Meanwhile, admitted patients and the number of essential workers out ill remain “comfortable,” which we are very pleased to see as we enter our fourth week following the 4th of July holiday weekend.
What does this mean?
We believe that we have so far avoided the spike in acutely ill patients that we anticipated, at least for now. How have we accomplished this? Without question, our community is reaping the benefits of our overall strong compliance with our Five Commitments to keep our distances, cover our faces, wash our hands, stay home when we don’t feel well, and get tested when we have COVID symptoms.
Can it really be that simple? We and the science that support these measures would absolutely attribute our manageable hospitalization rates to these efforts as well as the Pitkin County Health Department’s hard work and contact tracing (boxing in the virus). Special credit also goes to our business community for doing its part to adapt and contribute to the compliance. Bravo Aspen and Pitkin County!
However, this doesn’t mean that we can let down our guard or become complacent. Quite to the contrary, why would we change our tactics when they are achieving the desired results of not stressing our healthcare system? Instead, we need to double-down on our efforts, keep our collective foot on the containment gas, and continue to maintain a culture of caring for one another. We can see a clear path through the continued pandemic until treatments and vaccines ultimately lift the clouds and we can then begin to breathe our fresh mountain air without filtration.
Here at AVH, our dedicated staff and physicians continue to be there for those afflicted, including in our Respiratory Evaluation Center, in our Emergency Department, and when our patients require hospitalization or transfer. We continue to provide essential testing for our community, in cooperation with Pitkin County Public Health and with the support of the 2020 Rescue Fund. Now, as a part of a three-county regional testing strategy, all four hospitals, from Rifle to Vail, and Glenwood Springs to Aspen, are working with each other and our public health departments to provide testing in a consistent and effective manner, while we all contend with the same testing capacity limitations that are being experienced across the country.
And of course, you can continue to expect the same extraordinary care that you have come to expect from all of our AVH services in a COVID-Clean environment.
CEO, Aspen Valley Hospital