Happy New Year!
OK, so 2022 is stumbling right out of the gate, with the explosion of Omicron in our valley. As I write this, Aspen Valley Hospital, like all local employers, is struggling greatly with maintaining our minimum staffing levels in the face of Omicron. We are making operational adjustments on a daily, if not hourly, basis, but our staff are once again rallying together to maintain our high-quality services to the community. At the same time, we have seen a concerning increase in the number of patients presenting to our Emergency Department with Omicron, or at least with symptoms thereof. Fortunately, these cases have been generally mild among those who are vaccinated, and in particular boosted, and we have not had a noticeable increase in admissions to the hospital. However, we can’t let down our guard. We continue to ask our community to do what we know works – get vaccinated/boosted, wear masks indoors, avoid large groups and practice social distancing.
This next year is a marathon and not a sprint, and we will have plenty of time to recover and finish strong. The experience of the countries that have been impacted before us suggests a shorter timeline for the virus to run its course and for the incidence of illness to decline as fast as it had risen. Also, the mounting scientific evidence is pointing toward a brighter future of increased population immunity against COVID following the wave of Omicron infections, combined with improving vaccination rates. It is not a stretch to optimistically consider that, while we will be living with COVID from now forward, we can still achieve a degree of normalcy that we have not seen in two years.
Looking back on 2021, we are filled with gratitude for our community that has remained resolute in our collective commitment to fight the virus. Our vaccination rate is among the highest in the state, including boosters, and our elected officials, agencies, schools, businesses and our public health and healthcare professionals were united in a manner that is uncommon even among small communities. In September, our Board of Health’s decision to require masks indoors was effective at limiting the spread of the Delta variant in the fall.
AVH is very fortunate and privileged to serve a community that takes its health seriously, that abides by the science of defending against COVID, and that places a high priority on protecting others. Our healthcare team is grateful to our community for standing strong together.
There is continued cause for hope for a successful winter season and a fantastic year in 2022. To help you get started on a healthy new year, this issue includes some ideas for how you can “reboot” yourself mentally and through nutrition and exercise.
We wish you all the best in 2022. We at AVH, our physicians and staff, are committed to your health and wellbeing, and we look forward to being there for you when you need us.