Letter to the Editor-RE: COVID 19

Dear Friends and Neighbors!                                                                                               3.23.20

You are in my thoughts every day as I continue to work with our incredible hospitals, response agencies, elected officials, providers and public health agencies who are working around the clock to alter how care is provided and meet the demand associated with COVID 19. Schools are asked to change how they provide education and meals. I am inspired every day by the commitment I see. Your efforts now will also have an impact on them also.

For 18 years I have studied Pandemics. They are my passion because they are complex, and nature shows us how to change and adapt (as it does) in order to survive. Every day we have an opportunity to do the same.

The actions we all take now will have an impact on ourselves, our families and communities. You’ve been asked to stay away from others, and it is for your health and theirs. You may be asked to shelter in place as other states have implemented. Call your local public health agency with questions you may have regarding COVID 19. They will be posting updates on Facebook as well.

If you have time off work due to this, do not travel to see your family. See your family and friends online. Google meets, skype, zoom. Young people can talk you through it. Take up the art of snail mail and letter writing. Use the drop box at the post office when you can to protect a postal worker.

DO get outside and exercise your lungs. Get outside and enjoy Spring. Just don’t congregate!

The workplace has changed for all of us. With adversity comes opportunity, so look for it. Breweries are now making hand sanitizer! Delivery services are needed for families and individuals isolated and quarantined. Look for the many versions of maintaining your hygiene. Ask anyone over the age of 80 how to wipe without toilet paper. There are apparatuses that can be attached to your toilet to now have a bidet. People in Southeast Colorado are resilient, hearty and creative.

I won’t lie to you. Pandemics are usually a two-year event. Two epidemiology curves show spikes in morbidity and mortality. It takes two months for a virus to get around the world. You saw what happened in China, you’ve seen Italy, the state of Washington, California, New York and now the Midwest. We have widespread transmission in Colorado, and we are just getting our toes wet.

There is usually a time of a couple months in between these spikes where we assess our response and prepare for the second spike. We are all adjusting to our “new normal” and it will take all of us to work together, utilizing expertise, ideas and energy. Changes and developments are occurring daily and even hourly.

We have COVID Seamstresses creating masks for our responders to help with dwindling supplies that are in demand worldwide. In unprecedented times our response needs to be the same.

It will get more difficult while asking people to care for themselves at home while quarantined or ill. Stay in contact (phone, skype) with them. Offer support and kindness. Remind them to do deep breathing exercises and ask if they are monitoring their temperature. Smile at them through the window. Drop off supplies and leave them on their doorstep. Develop a call tree in your neighborhood to assist one another.

You have my utmost respect. Yours truly,

Kris Stokke

Filed Under: Letters to the Editor

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