To: Second Homeowners
Our valley’s Emergency Management and Incident Command made a tough decision late last week. Banning second homeowners from travel to the valley.
We have heard from some of you since. We have heard that we are stupid. We have heard that we are ungrateful for all the support, not just financial, that you shower on our beautiful and most-time peaceful valley. We have heard that this decision is open to legal challenge. We have heard “Just try and stop me.”
These are all painful things to hear because the decision was made not on our behalf, but on everyone’s behalf. On America’s behalf.
The virus is projected to peak on April 17 in Colorado. We know that Gunnison Valley Hospital has no Intensive Care Units. When someone gets really sick, EMS travels to a hospital with an ICU available. This takes an EMS team out of circulation for most if not all of a day. EMS teams are limited. We have had 13 out-of-valley transports to date.
What happens if someone here gets really sick and the limited EMS teams are otherwise occupied?
What happens if someone here gets really sick and there are no ICU’s available in Grand Junction, Colorado Springs or Denver?
We know there are too few ICU’s in Colorado to handle the projected cases at peak.
We have all heard the heartbreaking stories from Italy. Italian doctors making the decision who to save and who not to save. Would we wish this terrible decision on any of our own medical community?
The virus is here. A couple left their second home in Mt. Crested Butte when the lifts closed. They have since died. One of our neighbors, and a beloved community member, has passed from Covid-19. Our first known positive in the valley is still testing positive after 23 days in isolation.
So much we don’t know.
We are at war with this virus. In World War II, before I was born, we were asked to sacrifice even when we weren’t doing the fighting. There was rationing. Americans were implored to plant Victory Gardens so our troops could be fed.
In the wars during my lifetime—Vietnam, the military actions to Panama and Granada (the final time I was called up), Iraq, and Afghanistan—stateside, we haven’t been asked to sacrifice at all. After 9/11 we were told to go shopping.
Now we’re all being asked—or directed, if you prefer—to change our behaviors to save the lives of our fellow Americans.
-John Norton, Executive Director, Tourism and Prosperity Partnership