To the Editor

“Resilience is about being able to overcome the unexpected. Sustainability is about survival. The goal of resilience is to thrive.” – Jamals Cascio

We all can agree 2020 has been a year of unprecedented challenges for each one of us and our families. Nonetheless, I am incredibly thankful this year – especially for you, our community, supporters, and team – who have shown amazing resilience in the face of adversity. At Grand County Rural Health Network, we pride ourselves on being a nimble organization, able to respond to community need and external factors. But we couldn’t predict the challenges 2020 would bring to all of us.

Our COVID Response:

Network staff spent over 1000 hours in the first six months of COVID response in outreach and support of our medically vulnerable clients, plus systems level work on the county’s response with the Incident Management Team. 

We expanded our vouchers to include COVID testing and related visits, and have seen the need for our services increase upwards of 2.5 times normal. Mental health voucher use alone has increased 174% since March over last year. 

The Network also supported the development and implementation of the largest-ever local volunteer base this year, the Outbreak of Kindness, in response to the COVID pandemic. Outbreak of Kindness has consisted of 289 volunteers at its peak.

Our Wildfire Response:

In October, our staff pivoted to support evacuees and those impacted by the East Troublesome Fire, logging over 500 hours in a 2-week period to help our neighbors prepare for evacuation and provide emergency needs as they begin the long road to rebuild.

Network staff directly supported 101 evacuees through 249 outreaches with evacuation planning, replacement of lost medications, emergency referrals and other basic health needs. 

We worked hand-in-hand with our local Department of Human Services to set up the system to address the immediate needs.

We also worked directly with state support to set up a volunteer sign-up portal in conjunction with Outbreak of Kindness to coordinate volunteers at the wildfire evacuation centers. 

And now, the Network is leading the collaboration with our partners to advocate for, identify, and help implement a new Home Health and Hospice provider locally. 

Our programs and services provide access, resources and support for all, and are needed now more than ever. With your help, we can continue to make a difference in the health of our neighbors and our community.

At Grand County Rural Health Network, our vision is that everyone in our community has what they need to thrive and be healthy. We get it – maneuvering through the healthcare system is challenging, but no one should have to do it alone.

We know that health is more than health care, and that we are all healthier together.

We sincerely appreciate your support.

Thank you,

Jen Fanning

Executive Director

Grand County Rural Health Network


To the Editor

It is reassuring to know that the county has finally organized sites at which residents can obtain free antigen testing for COVID19.  But it is alarming that it took 11 months, 500+ COVID cases [5% of the county population] and 5 deaths to begin this and get the venues posted on the county website. That website also lays out the State plan for vaccine distribution.

Will the county adhere to those state-produced priorities? The recent resignation of our county public health director is VERY worrying. We hope that the BOCC will permit Addie Baker, the acting public health director, to move forward with plans and distribution of vaccines. She does have an understanding of epidemiology, and has been in our health department for several years, so has the necessary connections.  It is understandable that the county has decided to wait a short time for the Moderna vaccine which does not require expensive sub zero storage facilities the county does not have. But both health and economic well- being in the county depend on regular, reliable distribution of information on the timing and distribution of vaccines.

Susan F Newcomer

Chair, Grand County Democratic Party