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“We have the power to make it better or worse”

by Sharon Niederman
COLFAX — Emergency Services Manager Tom Vigil updated the Colfax County Commission on the COVID situation in the county. He said the Pfizer vaccine was due to arrive Dec. 16.; however, he added, “nothing is set in stone.” To figure out who gets the vaccine first, people have been placed into tiers.  Tier One will receive the first round of the vaccine, including health care workers at hospitals and correctional facilities and front line EMT’s.  “We have 120,000 front line workers in the state,” he says, indicating the magnitude of the project. While he also said “tens of thousands of doses” are already in the state, it doesn’t take a degree in higher math to multiply that number by two to understand almost a quarter million does are needed just for front line workers.

Tier Two involves longer-term planning and will be a program to inoculate other health care workers and those in long-term care.

According to Charles Pollard, Miners Colfax Memorial Hospital public information officer, enough vaccine to inoculate 75 front line medical staff is due to arrive Dec. 16 or 17.

Vigil does not anticipate the general public will receive the vaccine any time in the next two months. “Raton will be a key location,” he says. Distribution sites across the county, or “pods” as they are called, are determined on the basis of public access, security,  storage availability and staff. Vigil says sites will be situated so they do not require long drives.

Vigil reported that as of Dec. 14, additional county positive cases include 89 staff and inmates at Springer Correctional facility; 41 in the Moreno Valley; 18 in Cimarron; and 4 in Maxwell. Raton currently has 253, a good deal due to cross-border activity.

“We have the power to make it worse or far better over the next few weeks,” Vigil says. “If people continue to travel and congregate in large gatherings, it will spread,” he says. Keep gatherings small and if you do attend a large gathering, isolate afterward. Take the usual precautions: mask, distance, and wash your hands.

Other business:

The Colfax County Commission opened its Dec. 14, 2020 meeting with tributes to three outgoing individuals. Warden Rose Bernal retired after 27 years; county treasurer Kathy Trujillo is retiring after 34 years; and District 3 county commissioner Landon Newton is leaving after serving the limit of eight years. All three received plaques honoring their service.

The commission then heard from its new attorney, Jun Roh, of the firm Cuddy and McCarthy in Santa Fe. Roh will serve as general counsel on all legal matters for the county.

Commissioners approved a $330,000 aviation grant agreement with NM Department of Transportation for construction of T-hangars for secure storage of planes. Although deliverables will not be required for two years, it was emphasized that the project be scheduled  expeditiously as the construction season is short.
The wholesale liquor license for Blu Dragonfly Brewing was approved, as was a joint powers agreement between the Village of Eagle Nest and Colfax County to establish extraterritorial zoning.