Help available for insurance enrollment for Routt County residents
Individuals who need health insurance or need to renew their plans must do so by Jan. 12.
· Financial help is available to lower monthly premiums in 2018.
· Free in-person assistance is available to help you find the right plan.
· If you’re already enrolled, you may need to renew your plan to retain coverage.
· There are tax penalties for not having health insurance in 2018.
· You must enroll or renew your plan by Dec. 15 for coverage beginning Jan. 1. Jan. 12 is the last day to enroll for 2018 coverage.
For free assistance, contact Northwest Colorado Health at 970-871-7330 or UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center at 970-879-1322. For more information and resources, visit northwestcoloradohealth.org/healthinsurance.
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 1.
• 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 cdc.gov/hepatitis. 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.
• Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide (REPS) 24-hour crisis line: 970-846-8182
• Advocates Building Peaceful Communities 24-hour crisis line: 970-879-8888
• Mind Springs Health 24-hour crisis line: 1-888-207-4004
• Colorado’s mental health crisis line: 1-844-493- 8255,
In the event of an emergency, dial 911.
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 northwestcoloradohealth.org/wwc 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 cdc.gov/foodsafety/facts.
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Kristina Arielle Calco was 15 when she went into her family’s basement and took her life.