Never in my lifetime could I have imagined something as dramatic as the global COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted everyone in our city, our state, and our nation.
As difficult as this situation is to face, I’m continually reminded of how we will pull through this together. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken with people across our city who are facing this environment of fear and uncertainty with compassion, resolve and hope.
From our health care professionals who find themselves on the front lines of a war against a very deadly pandemic, to our first responders who put themselves at risk every day to protect us, we say thank you for your selfless acts of service. From the small business owners who used their homes as collateral for their dream of owning a business only to see it forced to close, to the laid off workers who can no longer pay the mortgage on their home or the rent on their apartment, we want you to know that you are seen and heard, and we are working every day to find the best ways to help you respond. Our City Council continues to meet via teleconference, receiving daily updates on the situation and finding ways the city can help.
In the City of Aurora, we are taking all of the precautions that are both reasonable and necessary to contain the spread of the virus, while continuing to provide the core municipal services that our residents depend on. We are continually updating our website—AuroraGov.org/COVID19 with the latest information and resources, including translating important documents into some of our city’s most spoken languages to better serve our immigrant and refugee populations.
We are working with the Tri-County Health Department as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in support of the governor’s “Stay-at-Home” order and encourage our residents to understand the severity and the need for these measures.
The goal is to contain the spread of the virus to the extent that it doesn’t overwhelm our capacity to treat the patients who would require hospitalization. In other words, the number of Intensive Care Unit beds, the number of respirators, and access to Personal Protective Equipment for our health care professionals and first responders must be adequate to meet the demand when the number of infected patients is expected to surge to its highest level before receding.
We can all do our part by frequently washing our hands, practicing social distancing, and not venturing out unless we absolutely have to. Medical appointments, getting groceries or picking up food from local small businesses, working an “essential” job as classified under the Governor’s order, going for an outdoor hike or a bike ride, are all justified reasons to leave the home, but “social distancing” must always be an overriding consideration. The quicker we can contain the virus the quicker the “Stay-at-Home” restrictions can be lifted.
As we pursue this together, be mindful of where you, your family or those you regularly check in with may be in need of assistance. The Aurora Mental Health Center is here to provide resources when things seem overwhelming, and don’t be afraid to speak up when you see help is needed.
Thank you for joining me in doing this all together and showing how we are One Aurora.
Mike Coffman is mayor of Aurora.