Saguache County Commissioners on addressing Covid-19

The Crestone Eagle • April, 2020

Dear Neighbors & Constituents,

There is no true way to alleviate both the anxiety and uncertainty that we find ourselves in. We, as your local government, are asking the same questions as you. We find ourselves considering and taking drastic measures that we never anticipated, and as we do so, we want to reach out to all the families, individuals, businesses and organizations in the county, from Center to Villa Grove, to let you know that we share your concerns and your fears. The current spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts are unprecedented in our time. As of this writing we have confirmation of the virus in four of our neighboring counties, and conservative thinking would conclude that it exists in our county as well.

As we face these challenges together, we remain absolutely confident that we will overcome this together. We recognize that many of the traits of our landscape and people are strengths. People don’t live here for comfort and convenience.  We live here for the land, and a life of closer proximity to that land. We follow in the footsteps of the Ute, the trappers, the miners, and the farmers and ranchers that were not dissuaded by spring winds, mosquitoes, bitter cold and the Great Depression. It is our belief that we know the strength of self-reliance, the comfort of small communities and the relationships that creates, and the power of a vast landscape that gives us all a bit more space than is offered in most of the world. It is safe to say that the mandate of social distancing has a smaller effect on us because it is one of the choices we made freely to live here.

Your County government is committed to serve its people with the resources at its disposal. The first is a staff of dedicated individuals who are working for their families and neighbors, as well as their local government. We are blessed with an Emergency Manager that was just recognized by his peers in the region with an award for skill and competence. We have a Public Health Director that started as a hands-on medical provider, and became an administrator second. We have a road crew that continues to work and maintain our transportation. Finally, we have dedicated and resilient people working in law enforcement, fire, ambulance and rescue.

At this time most of the County buildings are closed to the public for precautionary reasons. However, we are still staffed, the phones will be answered, and questions and issues will be addressed. We continue to work closely with our state and federal partners with information sharing and access to resources. However, first and foremost, we will place our trust in our people and our communities.

Yes, there is significant uncertainty, information and misinformation from many sources. Sometimes we can be proactive, other times we are scrambling to respond to local, state, national and international news that we cannot control. We must come together as a community to adapt to this new reality. We need to work together to make sure our vulnerable neighbors are being taken care of and kept safe, especially those with compromised immune systems, the elderly and injured. We need to care for our children when their parents must be an active part of this response. We need to ensure that our workers, suddenly out of work and without a critical paycheck, have their essential needs met. We need food for our food banks. Please consider what you can do to help while maintaining clean and safe practices. We need to be good to each other, to our neighbors and to our social media friends. We are all in this together, and more than ever each of us has an impact on all of those around us.

In the dictionary, often the word “safe” includes the description “without risk”. The point is that there is nothing any of us do that is completely safe. What we ask is that you join us to manage the risks of this time, and to continue to manage our risks, to the best of our abilities, as our future unfolds. As your County Commissioners, we are in this with you. We have children at home, spouses out of work and at-risk health conditions. We also know that we represent strong families, resilient communities, and some of the best high-ground in the world.

Sincerely,

Saguache County Board of Commissioners

Commissioner Jason Anderson, Commissioner Ken Anderson, Chairman Tim Lovato