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(December 31, 2021) – As we look back on the year, one thing is incredibly clear to us – we have come so far in a very short amount of time.
While the pandemic still burdens our tight-knit community and disrupts our day to day, there are a great many accomplishments to celebrate. In particular, San Miguel County has achieved one of the highest vaccination rates in the state with 83% of our eligible being fully vaccinated this past year. Your efforts to protect yourselves and your neighbors have not gone unnoticed. A year ago, we came together as a community to vaccinate our healthcare workers and most vulnerable friends and neighbors. In the following months, as our loved ones became fully protected, we were unburdened by COVID for a short while. Enjoying festivals and rodeos, once again inviting friends and family into our homes, protecting our children, and feeling a sense of normalcy. While 2021 began with the hope that pandemic may soon end, the virus continues to challenge us and all communities around the world. Unfortunately, COVID has persisted and continues to change, presenting new challenges all too frequently. We have witnessed some trying hospital stays and suffered the loss of several beloved members of our community due to COVID-related complications. Omicron has brought about a new challenge with extremely high transmission sending our rates soaring to all-time highs. But we persevere. Antiviral treatments are on the horizon. These medications will supplement existing treatments and vaccines to continue to change the direction of the pandemic. The vaccines continue to protect our residents from complications due to infection. We continue to vaccinate and boost those eligible. We continue to protect our community through the immense efforts of our testing and contact tracing teams. Through collaboration with businesses and county and local leadership, we continue to protect our critical workforce and visitors alike. And the year ahead will only bring more progress.Knowing this, we must remain cautious, while also hopeful, to protect our neighbors, family, coworkers, and friends. To keep our children in school and keep our businesses open. And while guidance and recommendations may sometimes seem confusing or contradictory, we remind ourselves that the virus is constantly changing and challenging what we know. We are still learning about COVID, preventative measures, and how we can live a robust life while coexisting with COVID. We have a bright year ahead of us because of each and every one of you. Please stay safe. Get vaccinated. Get boosted. Stay home when you are sick. Wear a mask. If we continue to heed the preventative measures that are working, we will get through this. Happy New Year to you all,Public Health Director Grace FranklinCounty Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Grundy