Unfortunately, life as we have known it will not return until mass testing increases, digital contact tracing becomes refined, a vaccine is developed or a cure is found. Each one of these processes is integral and each is a building block toward mitigating future outbreaks.
Currently, Colorado has the ability to run between 5,000 and 10,000 tests a day. With a statewide population of almost 6 million people, about 50% of us could be tested within one year and perhaps everyone within the next two years. Obviously, we need to do better — sooner. We need to double these figures to more adequately contain a new outbreak.
Perhaps one of our greatest challenges moving forward is going to be imported cases and asymptomatic transmission. Those people who show no symptoms but can still pass the virus on transmission to others will be one of our greatest challenges and hurdles.
Here in our mountain communities, imported cases are going to pose not only an imminent threat to the safety and well-being of our communities but also to our economies. As we are a location and economy that has a foundation based on tourism, we must create an environment that conveys safety.
Our priority must be to create a safe harbor where locals and visitors alike feel confident that their health, safety and well-being is of the utmost priority. This virus is not going away anytime soon. We must be prepared for the long-term impacts.
It should be in the forefront for every one of us that the ramifications of this pandemic and how we come out of this is the real challenge. While we may currently see a light at the end of the tunnel and therefore feel we can breathe a sigh of relief, we must remain vigilant. Our personal responsibility is as important as public policy. We must not be cavalier about how we move forward. The economic and social well-being of our communities and county depend on what we choose to do to mitigate an outbreak later this summer and fall.
As a community and nation, we must put political differences aside. The challenges ahead affect each one of us as human beings. We will only succeed in saving the lives of ourselves, our family and our friends if we can face this threat together with a united front.
We have very real and difficult decisions to make looking forward. Unless we want to return to a life of stay-at-home, or watch our loved ones die, we must make short- and long-term sacrifices. We must commit to a daily regimen of social distancing and safety precautions. We must accept the reality that we are all in this together.
As our economy reopens, please do not be impetuous and come out of the gates running at full force. While a desire to reconnect socially and refill our coffers is important, do not be short-sighted. Only a well-planned, cautious and methodical approach will carry us forward.
Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for the elderly and is available to answer questions. He can be reached at http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns and 970-328-5526.