A "Cautious" Message from AVH CEO and Chief of Staff

July 2, 2020
To Our Community,

As healthcare professionals and leaders at Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH), we are writing to both raise the “yellow flag” that COVID-19 is a serious threat to our lives and well-being, and to offer encouragement that our community’s fate rests firmly within our collective hands.

As of this writing, AVH has just been elevated to the “cautious” level of our Capacity Matrix in the category related to daily COVID-19 visits to our Emergency Department, Respiratory Evaluation Center and Community Testing. In the past two weeks, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking testing for COVID-like symptoms, and positive test results. We expected to see an increase, and we are managing it with expanded testing availability, but caution is now strongly advised.

While it is true that we remain “comfortable” with regard to the number of patients in the hospital, this should not be reassuring. The lifecycle of the virus would indicate that severely ill conditions will follow the initial onset of symptoms by 1-2 weeks. We consider the increase in daily visits to have a high predictive value as an early indicator of what we will likely experience—increased severely and critically ill patients. And potential deaths. It is at that point that our reopening will be at risk.

But this doesn’t have to be our fate. Our County’s Roadmap to Reopening provides the solution. It is as simple as all of us maintaining the Five Commitments to Containment, with which we are all familiar by now: 6-foot distancing, hand hygiene, face coverings, and staying home and getting tested when we don’t feel well. It isn’t hard.

Please hear our plea! As a community we can set an example for our guests and visitors, and create a culture of caring about one another. After all, that is what social distancing and face coverings are all about. We may be protecting ourselves in the process, but the greatest value of our compliance is the demonstration of respect and caring for others. Please help us send a loud and clear message through our actions that wearing face coverings and keeping our distances are not about ourselves, but about each other – those we care about and those we don’t even know. This is about saving lives. Maintaining face coverings and at least six feet of separation, and avoiding confined, crowded spaces with poor circulation, will slow the transmission of the virus. That will allow us to continue to reopen and restore our vital economy, jobs and our well-being.

Before you head out to dinner, or a social event, or to work, we hope you will consider what you can do to be part of a caring community. Our actions will speak louder than our words, and together we can create a culture that is apparent to all who witness it, and inspire other communities as Aspen has always done. Most importantly, we will signal to each person we are with that we respect them, and we care about their health.

AVH will continue to be there for all who need us. And we will provide extraordinary healthcare in an environment of excellence, compassion and trust. You can count us. Can we count on you to do your part for one another, for your community, and for our future?
Dave Ressler
CEO, Aspen Valley Hospital
Dr. Catherine Bernard
Chief of Staff, Aspen Valley Hospital
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