Opinion: ’When we care for each other, we can still live extraordinary lives’

At this time last year, we were only beginning to feel the impacts of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that would become known as COVID-19. Now, everyone’s lives have been impacted. Whether you have contracted the virus, sadly lost a loved one or friend to the virus or have altered your daily routine because of the virus, these last 12 months have been unlike anything we’ve ever experienced in our lifetimes.

Countless emotions have been felt within the walls of UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center — fear, uncertainty, exhaustion, frustration, loneliness.

But we’ve also felt encouragement and gratitude. It’s what got us through the most difficult days. Thank you to everyone in the Yampa Valley for supporting YVMC’s staff, providers and patients.

We saw perseverance, courage and a relentless drive to care for others as staff members donned their personal protective equipment. Health care professionals rapidly learned about the virus and provided excellent, safe care for all.

Innovation and science developed more quickly in the past year than ever before. Clinics converted to virtual platforms in mere days and weeks. Scientists pushed and exceeded the former timelines for vaccine development, delivering safe, effective vaccines within the same year the virus was discovered.

And now? We’re excited for what is to come in the months ahead.

Seeing friends and family in person instead of on a screen. Full-time, in-person school. Hugs. Traveling. And, eventually, administering vaccines to all who want one and seeing the smiles that have been hidden behind masks.

As health care providers, we’re excited to see more individuals return to medical care. We know some appointments were postponed or delayed due to the pandemic. We encourage you to reschedule your clinic appointments, lab work and surgical procedures. Preventive, routine and even elective care can prevent more serious medical needs in the future.

While the light at the end of the pandemic starts to shine a little brighter, the safety and infection prevention protocols we have put in place remain. It is safe to seek and receive medical care, and we encourage you to do so. When you are eligible, get the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is safe, protects you against the virus and is one of the best ways out of the pandemic.

UCHealth and YVMC are fortunate to be part of an incredible community — one that has shown its resiliency, adaptability and compassion for others. These characteristics make Steamboat Springs an incredible place to call home.

2020 was a year for the history books. Yes, because of the global COVID-19 pandemic but also because we cared for each other, literally and figuratively. And when we truly care for each other, we can all live extraordinary lives.

Soniya Fidler, president

Dr. Laura Sehnert, chief medical officer

Kelly Gallegos, chief nursing officer

UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center

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