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El Paso County Health Department reflects on past two years for National Public Health Week

KRDO

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- As COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado reach their lowest point since March 2020, the El Paso County Health Department is cautiously optimistic.

According to state data, there were only 84 COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado last week. El Paso County Health reports a 14% decline in the number of COVID-positive cases in the last week. That equates to less than 20 cases per 100-thousand residents.

“It feels really good. We are cautiously optimistic," says Susan Wheelan, director at the El Paso County Health Department.

While National Public Health Week shoots to highlight the work of public health workers, Wheelan says the last two years have been a collaborative effort.

"The greater resilience we have as a community, the greater tools that we have to use to support each other, the more resilient our community is going to be," says Wheelan.

Wheeler believes that we are in a pandemic and entering an endemic.

Michelle Beyrle, public health information officer with the El Paso County Health Department, says while prioritizing mental health has always been a priority the department tackles, it's especially important now.

"We work on convening community partners to make the biggest impact possible in the community to help get people the critical resources they need to achieve holistic health - which, in addition to the physical factors, includes having support to achieve good mental health and emotional well-being," says Beyrle.

The two agree -- it is a joy that the health department can begin to circle back to other pressing health issues while continuing to assist in COVID-19 efforts.

"There is a different feeling when we’re able to reengage and prioritize work of our team," says Wheelan. "Feels good, feels different."

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Natalie Haddad

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