One year ago, our community was bracing for a novel virus that we knew very little about. We didn’t fully understand its origin, how it spread and certainly not how to treat it. All we knew for sure was that this new virus had caused great harm in other countries and that it was only a matter of time before it reached the U.S., Colorado and eventually Jeffco. On March 5, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) notified us that an individual tested positive for COVID-19 in Summit County and had been transported to Jeffco to receive care. This was the first case in both our state and county, and it was time for the public health system to put its decades of emergency preparedness and response training to work and for Jeffco’s resilience to shine.
Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH), the Jefferson County Board of Health and Board of County Commissioners are incredibly proud of our team of emergency planners, contact tracers, case investigators, epidemiologists, community liaisons, nurses, communicators and many, many other public health experts who have dedicated the last year to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and saving lives. Through their efforts — combined with unrelenting leadership and support from other Jeffco departments, municipalities, partner organizations, health care workers, first responders, businesses and residents — our community has made it through a very difficult time during this pandemic and is beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
As we reflect on the past twelve months, Jefferson County should be proud of how far we have come. In response to one of the greatest challenges Jeffco has ever faced, several examples of true resiliency come to mind:
Jefferson County is joining the statewide Day of Remembrance as part of a coordinated effort to commemorate those we’ve lost over the last twelve months. If you have lights, turn them magenta and take a moment of silence on March 5 at 6 p.m.
While hope is on the horizon, we also know many families will continue to suffer consequences long after the pandemic’s end. To the many Jeffco families who have lost a loved one, our hearts are with you. To those who are dealing with anxiety, depression, hopelessness, burnout, grief or other challenges from this pandemic, please know this is a normal response during stressful and extended times of community disruption. Nurturing social connections, pacing yourself and creating calming times each day to focus on the present moment are more important than ever. For many people, the cumulative stress of the last year might require additional help. If you, a friend or family member is struggling, reach out for support:
Thank you for all you have done, and all you continue to do, to protect one another. We will get through this together.
With sincere gratitude,
Dr. Dawn Comstock, Executive Director, JCPH
Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Medical Director and former Executive Director, JCPH
Greg Deranleau, President, Jefferson County Board of Health
Commissioner Tracy Kraft-Tharp, District One
Commissioner Andy Kerr, District Two
Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper, District Three