Help available for insurance enrollment for Routt County residents

Yampa Valley Health
Courtesy Photo

There is still time to get health insurance. The deadline to enroll in or renew a health insurance plan in Colorado is Jan. 12. Individuals and families may qualify for financial assistance to help pay for premiums. Free, in-person assistance is available. Call Northwest Colorado Health at 970-871-7330 or UC Health at Yampa Valley Medical Center at 970-879-1322. For more information and resources, visit

Free breast exams available for qualified women

Women who are age 40 to 64 and have limited or no health insurance may qualify for free breast exams and cervical cancer screenings. In addition to meeting age and income requirements, women must live in Colorado, be legal residents (or legally present) in the U.S. and have not had a mammogram or Pap test in the last 12 months. Women’s Wellness Connection is a program at Northwest Colorado Health. For more information, visit or call 970-879-1632.

Take precautions to avoid foodborne illness

Each year, one in six Americans becomes ill as a result of consuming foods or beverages contaminated with disease-causing microbes or pathogens. Northwest Colorado Health recommends the following precautions to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

• Always wash hands with soap and water before preparing food.

• Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to measure internal temperature of meat.

• Wash hands, utensils and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw meat or poultry and before they touch another food.

• Refrigerate leftovers that won’t be eaten within four hours. Bacteria can grow quickly at room temperature.

• Wash produce in running tap water. Remove outermost leaves of a lettuce or cabbage. Bacteria can grow well on the cut surface of a fruit or vegetable. Take care not to contaminate produce while slicing on a cutting board, and don’t leave cut produce out for many hours.

• Keep food away from flies and insects.

Common symptoms of foodborne illness include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever and chills. Avoid preparing food for others if you have these symptoms.

Pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe infections and should not consume undercooked animal products. Contact a healthcare provider if foodborne illness is suspected. For more information, visit

Hepatitis A on the rise in Colorado

There has been an increase in hepatitis A cases in Colorado, and the state is recommending some adults at higher risk for the illness be vaccinated.

Hepatitis A is a liver infection. Typically a person gets the virus by ingesting food or drinks contaminated with the virus. It also can be spread through sexual contact. The vaccine is routinely recommended for children, but most adults have not been vaccinated.

Two doses of the vaccine, given six months apart, are recommended for:

• All children at age one.

• Men who have sexual contact with men or people who live with or have sexual contact with someone who has hepatitis A.

• People who use injection and non-injection illegal drugs.

• People with chronic liver diseases, such as cirrhosis, hepatitis B or hepatitis C.

• People who are homeless.

• People who are traveling to countries with higher rates of hepatitis A, including Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.

• Family members or caregivers of a recent adoptee from countries where the virus is common.

• People who are treated with blood clotting-factor concentrates.

 For more information about hepatitis A, go to For questions about the vaccine or to make an appointment for immunization, call Northwest Colorado Health at 970-879-1632.

Crisis support lines available

A variety of crisis support lines are available 24 hours a day to connect local residents dealing with a personal mental health or other type of crisis with trained professionals or volunteers who can provide support.

They include the following.

Ongoing grief education and support groups are offered in Steamboat Springs and Hayden. Call 970-846-8319.

Behavioral health specialists are available at Northwest Colorado Health. Call 970-879-1632. Or make an appointment with a mental health professional at MindSprings Health, 970-879-2141. Both organizations accept most insurance, including Medicaid. If you don’t have insurance, you can pay on a sliding scale.

For information about youth resiliency programs for young people experiencing loss, call 970-871-7628.

For immediate assistance, call MindSprings Health Crisis Line at 888-207-4004 or Colorado Crisis Services at 844-493-8255. You can also text TALK to 38255 or chat at

Northwest Colorado Health program helps pregnant women quit tobacco

Northwest Colorado Health’s Baby and Me Tobacco Free program helps expectant moms quit tobacco with prenatal smoking cessation sessions and incentives. Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of miscarriagepremature birth, birth defects and infant death. Program participants who quit smoking, remain smoke free and attend monthly smoking cessation sessions during pregnancy and for a year after their baby is born receive vouchers for free diapers. For more information, call Hope Cook at 970-871-7622.

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