San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) and Cottonwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare have been awarded funding to begin addressing air quality, extreme heat, and infection control in long-term care facilities and indoor public spaces in La Plata and Archuleta counties. Through this program, Cottonwood will be a demonstration site for improvements that better control respiratory infection risk, improve indoor air quality, and prepare the facility for a wildfire or extreme heat wave. SJBPH and community partners will bring lessons learned from these projects to other facilities and local building professionals later in 2023. “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all that businesses are key partners in promoting public health and protecting their employees, customers, vendors, and partners from unnecessary health risks,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “Nowhere is that more essential than in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, where our most vulnerable residents have limited ability to relocate or isolate themselves in event of an emergency. As climate change increases our risk of serious fires and weather events, there is no better time to bring expertise to this facility and community to make us all safer and healthier.” Funding for this project comes from the de Beaumont Foundation’s Innovative, Multi-sector Partnerships for Community Transformation (IMPACT) in Public Health program, which is funding four other health, equity, and economic prosperity projects around the country. Find out more in this news release. This indoor air quality pilot partnership is the only project awarded in this first year of funding in the western United States. This project will take place with support from the Durango Business Improvement District, the Durango Chamber of Commerce, and the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce.
“Over the last three years, our industry has learned that ventilation, filtration, and simply being conscious of your HVAC system can reduce disease transmission, improve residents’ health, and lower the need for evacuation in an emergency,” said Christy Bradley, Cottonwood Rehabilitation and Healthcare administrator. “These tools are so important to bring to the region for the benefit of our families, facilities like ours that can learn from these projects, and all sorts of indoor spaces.”
Details about training opportunities for contractors, facility owners and managers, and building operators will be released in the coming months at sjbpublichealth.org/eh. For more information or to indicate preliminary interest in a training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.