The Pitkin County COVID Incidence Rate is now below the 700 threshold, and our community is able to move back to Orange Level restrictions. This is good news for our restaurants and our community that have sacrificed and suffered greatly. For Aspen Valley Hospital, we are like the castle on the hill, in which case the lower incidence means there are now far fewer “enemies” amassed outside our gates, reducing the likelihood the virus can breach our defenses at any time and overwhelm our resources with afflicted patients. Fortunately, we have not been inundated and have been able to meet the needs of all patients who need us, and the falling incidence rate, along with increased vaccinations, gives us all hope.
Every reader has likely known somebody who has been impacted emotionally by these difficult times, resulting in deep despair, often depression, and sometimes substance abuse and overuse. This is why AVH partnered with Aspen Strong to create a virtual event last week, called Failure to Launch?, during which multiple panelists spoke openly and honestly about the immense strain our community has been under and the various ways that help is available. The most important part is we all understand that nobody is immune and the suffering is real during this pandemic. If you missed the event and would like to learn more, please view a recording of the event on our website or check out Aspen Strong’s COVID-19 Mental Health Resources.
Now back to our path out of this mess! Pitkin County Public Health and the Incident Management Team, in partnership with AVH and other agencies, have demonstrated we have the will and the ability to get shots in arms just as fast as we receive them. Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have likewise committed to getting the vaccines distributed to the vaccine providers as soon as they get them. Meanwhile, just this past Friday, they have also updated the priority list to include our schools, child care workers and persons aged 65 to 69 starting on February 8th, subject to availability. It is frustrating for our anxious community to wait, we know, but you can rest assured that the Pitkin County Incident Management Team, AVH and our partners are doing everything we can to keep the shots flowing.
You can also count on AVH and our physicians to be there for whatever your health and wellness needs require. Our services remain open and COVID clean across our network of care. While we, unfortunately, can’t welcome guests and visitors into our facilities, we encourage our community not to delay or avoid necessary screening and diagnostic services, therapies and evaluations. You can also visit with our AVH and community physicians either in person or via telemedicine; access after-hours care in Basalt; receive urgent services at the Snowmass Clinic; or bring more serious concerns to our Emergency Department at AVH. In fact, February is Heart Health Month, and we are proud to share more information about our heart-related services at AVH, including our Cardiac Rehabilitation program, and the expertise of our cardiologists, Drs. Gerson and Schuller, in this issue.
As your community hospital, and your network of care, our physicians and our staff are proud to be there when our patients need care, and we are thankful for the outpouring of support and appreciation that has been shown to our front-lines throughout this pandemic. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but it is never too soon to be thankful for our community and the partnerships we have forged and reinforced during trying times.