It is appropriate that I share with you why my column has been absent the last several weeks. Debi and I flew to Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Counties (NACo). It was a conference filled with information and learning, along with an opportunity to talk with our US Senators and Representatives. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference. In addition to the conference, there were evening opportunities to explore the sites (I never tire of the monuments) and taste incredible seafood. Yet, we were ready to get back home.
We flew back on a Thursday, Uber’d home and were anxiously awaiting our comfy beds. This is where our vacation abruptly ended. I found myself falling, fracturing several ribs and extending my vacation in the MedCenter of Aurora. I am currently at Spaulding, waiting to be released to home. I am healing, recovering and ready to be back at work. There has been little time to focus on my column.
While in the hospital, the COVID-19 crisis hit in Arapahoe County. Practicing social distancing, Arapahoe County commissioners and staff, Tri-County Health and state officials and staff met to assess options. It became clear that this virus needed our immediate attention to minimize health risks and potential deaths. As this virus exponentially increases, Arapahoe County residents will continue to be at risk.
Our first action was to work with the Governor to approve a declaration for Arapahoe County. This declaration will allow access to much needed funding for medical supplies and other services during this crisis.
We then closed Arapahoe County programs that would allow a reduction of the number of residents exposed to potential carriers. We began to “flatten the curve.”
We will continue to monitor and readjust our decisions throughout these unsettling times. The keys to our success will be with our residents following these guidelines from Tri-County Health:
Cough or sneeze into your sleeve, or if you use a tissue then discard the tissue and promptly wash your hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if hands are not visibly soiled.
I wish to thank all the county employees, first responders, the sheriff’s department and Tri-County Health for the collaborative efforts in stemming the spread. It is through this collaboration and continued work with state health organizations and the Governor that allows Arapahoe County to be poised to aggressively attack this virus.
On a personal note, I want to thank Aurora’s first responders, MedCenter of Aurora staff, and Spaulding Rehabilitation staff for their commitment in providing exceptional care. I am most grateful.
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