Numbers down but  virus battle not over

It’s been about 15 months since the coronavirus took hold in the county, state, nation and across the world, for that matter.

In the county, as in much of the rest of the state and nation, the virus has been receding, with a total of just seven cases the past seven days, including four days where no cases were recorded, and 14 in the past two weeks.

The drop in cases, though, does not diminish the toll the virus has taken. Since March 2020, the Chaffee County Public Health website notes there have been a total of 1,252 total cases in the county,  16 deaths due to the virus, 25 deaths among cases and one inmate death at the Buena Vista Correctional Facility.

The decline in cases is generally being attributed to the number of people getting vaccinated. But county cases have been going up and down, with a jump in number over two or three weeks followed by a drop.

To be sure, the latest county totals are about the lowest numbers noted by the county coronavirus dashboard for a one week period in the past year.

The diminishing numbers show progress in the battle against the virus, though by no means is the fight over. It’s expected that with the summer season here, visitors will be bringing with them more than just their money.

And those who wait on, who meet and provide services to visitors will be exposed, especially from visitors who unknowingly carry the virus, who think “it’s just a cold,” or allergies, or who are simply asymptomatic.

What happens in the valley will be a microcosm of what is likely to happen at a state level. In Denver, most restrictions have been lifted from outdoor and indoor venues, including arenas hosting Nugget and Avalanche playoff games, as well as the Colorado Rockies.

With tens of thousands of sports fans getting together, it’s all but certain that cases will spread.

Fifteen months after the first virus cases hit, it appears the county and the rest of Colorado and the country are entering a new phase relating to the virus, of living with the illness, in some cases trusting that the vaccine will protect and keep them from getting the disease, and from those who are ready to get back to living a normal life, regardless of the illness.

Case numbers may be declining at the present time, but COVID-19 has by no means run its course.

Honoring victims

On May 27, Columbine Manor Care Center honored with a ceremony and plaque dedication residents who died as a result of or during the time period of the coronavirus outbreak last spring, from March 20 to May 29.

A total of 14 Columbine residents died after contracting the virus and another six residents died during this time of isolation.

In referring to its family of residents, the plaque states in part that “... the memories of those we’ve lost will continue to shine and sustain us as we move forward and fight to protect our family.

“Our family is broken because of your loss but stronger because of your memory. You will never be forgotten.”

Columbine and other senior care centers across the state and nation were among the entities hit hardest by COVID-19.

The plaque, signed by Forrest Preston, founder and chairman of Life Care Centers of America, Columbine’s corporate owner, is a fitting way to remember, honor and pay tribute to those residents who died at the center during the outbreak.

— MJB