Letter: Hospitals continue fight against COVID-19 | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Hospitals continue fight against COVID-19

Twenty months. Has it really been that long since COVID-19 upended everyone’s world?

If you ask a health care worker, or any other essential worker for that matter, they would say, “Yes.” You would see it in their eyes. You would hear it in their voice.

For the past 20 months, they have run toward the virus. In the early days, so much was unknown. Who will it impact? Will it take lives, and if so, how many? Will it have short- or long-term health impacts? Will it affect the young, the old, the immunocompromised? Will it ever go away?

At first, our best tools against the virus were shutdowns, distancing, handwashing, masks and testing. UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center was able to stand up COVID-19 testing on March 16, 2020. As of the end of October 2021, we have administered over 16,000 COVID-19 tests.

On Dec. 4, 2020, YVMC administered its first monoclonal antibody infusion, a new treatment for COVID-19 that UCHealth helped research in clinical trials. As of early November 2021, over 230 monoclonal antibody infusions have been given here. Nearly all the patients who received these infusions have recovered and remained out of the hospital.

Dec. 17, 2020, is a day that changed the trajectory of the pandemic, as the first COVID-19 vaccinations were given to local health care workers, followed by the elderly, the immunocompromised, adults and teens. As of Nov. 4, 2021, YVMC has administered nearly 13,000 vaccine doses. And now, children ages 5-11 are able to be vaccinated. Vaccinations remain the best tool we have in the fight against COVID-19.

As we approach the winter months and begin to welcome visitors, we are asking the Steamboat Springs community to be mindful of their own health and that of one another. Hospitals across the state are seeing record numbers of patients, both those with COVID-19 and those who are experiencing impacts from delayed care. Please get vaccinated or get a booster shot if you are eligible, stay up to date on routine care, seek timely care if you are ill and be mindful of any symptoms that may develop. What may have been brushed off previously as “just a cold” could indeed be something else.

Lastly, if you see a health care worker, thank them. Hospitals and their staff have been bent, but not broken, during this pandemic. Our teams have faced significant challenges every single day for the past 20 months, and that’s likely to continue. They’re still heroes, and they need you now more than ever.

Dr. Laura Sehnert, emergency medicine physician and chief medical officer, and Kelly Gallegos, registered nurse and chief nursing officer

UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

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