Since March, when the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Colorado, we have often reminded ourselves and each other that “we are all in this together.” As we conquered online grocery ordering, streaming meetings, stay-at-home orders, and homeschooling while finding ways to stay connected despite social distancing, the solidarity was comforting. It connected us and helped us carry on.
There was also comfort to be found in the fact that Mesa County had been spared the loss of life due to COVID-19 that so many communities have experienced, until now.
The first death of a Mesa County resident due to complications of COVID-19 occurred on July 21, a potent reminder that COVID-19 is in our community and it’s up to us to limit the spread by staying the course together. We can thoughtfully unite against COVID-19 by being supportive, careful, alert, and kind.
As our essential health care workers and community agencies work around the clock to respond to COVID-19’s effects in Mesa County, we have come to understand that the pandemic will require endurance. We are running a marathon and that demands ongoing support for each other. As we adjust our pace from a sprint to an endurance run, ask yourself: How can I help a neighbor, friend, family member or coworker? It could be something as simple as swinging by with a cup of coffee and donuts, popping a note of encouragement in the mail, or making a telephone call to let them know you are there for them. It’s not always obvious who is struggling, and small acts or words of encouragement may have monumental positive impacts.
Mesa County has seen a recent uptick in positive cases, especially among young adults, who tend to be at lower risk for hospitalization themselves but pose a high risk of unknowingly infecting someone else. It’s important to be mindful that if we do not consistently wear a mask, wash our hands, avoid touching our face, and stay at least 6 feet apart, we may also unintentionally infect someone who is more at risk. Our choices impact others in our community, and those most likely to be severely impacted by COVID-19 rely on the rest of us to help minimize the spread of the virus.
We need to be alert to the symptoms of COVID-19 and quickly take steps to slow the spread by isolating if we have been exposed or have symptoms. These include fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, loss of taste, and loss of smell. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been exposed, call your healthcare provider or the Mesa County Public Health hotline to be screened for testing: 970-683-2300.
This pandemic has impacted everyone, and in many different ways. Showing empathy and kindness to one another acknowledges that we are all going through our own, often difficult, journey. For some, it has taken an emotional toll, others have experienced extreme financial hardship, and others struggle with the isolation that comes with a positive result or the desire to stay away from gatherings and public places. Each of us deals with stress and hardship in our own way, and kindness and empathy should be expressed without reservation. How can you show kindness today? Pass it on.
Stay the course for our community by being supportive, careful, alert, and kind. We’ll get through this, together.