Letter: Grand County Commissioners have failed us with COVID-19 so far
Grand County is at a level 3 high risk category for COVID-19. Winter is going to force us inside, where our ability to keep ourselves safe will diminish. We are alarmed that the Grand County Commissioners appear to perceive the current pandemic as a hoax, not the critical public health crisis that it is.
Cases of COVID-19 are spiking due to active outbreaks across Grand County including among firefighters, restaurants, and 21 cases at an assisted living facility in Kremmling. Despite this, our commissioners so far have refused to enact stricter precautions. Hopefully, after meeting with state officials this week, the commissioners will change their approach.
We are asking our county commissioners to follow the state mandated rules, wear masks inside any government building and enforce the mandate of masks for employees and those who seek service from these employees.
This means that our commissioners need to publicly highlight their support by wearing masks themselves at all indoor venues and communicating this widely throughout the county. Unfortunately, our commissioners are not following the rules set by our own state health department. Grand County needs an effective response to this pandemic, grounded in mainstream medical science.
In a recent CNN interview, five physicians in various specialties from public health to pulmonology to emergency medicine were asked if they would rather have a vaccine or a mask to fight off COVID-19. All chose the mask.
While a vaccine is something to strive for, it will not be 100% effective, particularly with a continuously mutating virus like COVID-19. Even flu vaccines, which have been around for decades, are roughly only 60% effective.
If our community works together (led by commissioners who wear masks and socially distance), the virus will be stymied and we’ll have fewer serious health consequences and a better economic outlook.
— John Riedel, MPH, MBA; Mary Riedel, MSW; Michael Dobersen, MD, PhD; Deb Thomas-Dobersen, MS; Margaret Gutgesell, MD PhD MPH; Susan Newcomer, PhD; Martha Baird; Terry Ready; Jerry and Edna Anderson; Devyn Hovanic; Brian and Ann Heckman; Shanna Ganne; Joan Boyle; Bambi Statz, PhD; Melinda Williams; Monica Sandstrom, MS Ed; Jayme Moss; Glenda Lu Ready and Nancy Henry
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Editor’s note: This letter to the community was submitted by Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker on Monday.