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Dear Editor,

After a year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic and having it take over almost every aspect of my personal and professional life, I am ready for it to be over.  My hunch is that I am not alone.  And while we are getting closer and closer, day by day, to seeing light at the end of a very challenging and emotional year, there is still considerable work to be done.

Chaffee County Executive Director of Public Health Andrea Carlstrom.

While reaching herd immunity through a comprehensive vaccination program is the ticket out of this pandemic, continuing the public health strategies that have proven to protect us and the people we care about while we reach this milestone is critical.  The past year has proven that Chaffee County is truly a special place to live and serve, and I am grateful that we continue to shine despite adversity.  Our county would not be where it is at without the support and sacrifices of so many.

To that, I would like to express my sincerest appreciation:

  • to the amazing Chaffee County Public Health team for its unwavering dedication, professionalism, and perseverance,
  • to the Chaffee County Fairgrounds staff for welcoming our team as we continue to expand capacity for vaccinations,
  • to Chaffee County EMS for standing by and jumping in whenever needed,
  • to Solvista Health for expertise and willingness to work in all weather conditions to help us pull off the greatest public health feat in recent history,
  • to our county’s school districts and independent schools that have fought for in-person learning and activities since last summer,
  • to our county and municipality leadership team members who have walked alongside our public health response providing insight and perspective since the beginning of our local response,
  • to our business community for being patient, understanding, and creative to maintain a healthy economy while keeping people safe from the virus,
  • to the many nonprofit organizations that have provided food, shelter, and funding to those most in need,
  • to Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center and healthcare providers that have been flexible and nimble to meet community healthcare needs, including testing and vaccinations,
  • to our general public for doing the right thing even though it hasn’t always been easy, and to anyone I might have forgotten.

We should be proud of our successes over the past year and humbled from many lessons learned along the way.  One thing I know is for certain, there is no other place I would want to be during a pandemic than Chaffee County.

Andrea Carlstrom, MBA

Director, Chaffee County Public Health