July 1, 2019 Op-Ed
Commissioner Tim Corrigan: Aspects of healthy life in Routt County
As I travel around Routt County, I see many of our residents riding bikes, running, skiing, walking and engaging in all kinds of healthy activities. Routt County’s natural environment lends itself to living an active and healthy lifestyle. The county supports many of our favorite outdoors areas and trails through partnerships with the state of Colorado and the U.S. Forest Service. I know from my own experience that exercise contributes to good health. But there is so much more than individual choices that make for a healthy community.
It is a core responsibility of Routt County to ensure that our residents have the resources and information they need to live a healthy life. The county works hard to make our residents and visitors aware of risks and how to minimize them. We share important information and protection tips about illnesses carried by insects and animals, wildfires and air and water quality.
Routt County licenses and inspects more than 250 restaurants and retail food outlets to make sure they are handling and preparing food safely. Unlike many other counties that rely upon the state of Colorado, Routt County keeps inspections local to provide a higher level of service to our restaurant industry. Inspections, trainings and resources help maintain standards for restaurants as well as ensuring the health of those who dine out.
In addition to restaurant inspections our Environmental Health Department permits and inspects on-site wastewater systems to protect groundwater, issues open-burn permits for safety and air quality protection and analyzes water from public water supplies and privately owned wells for coliform bacteria. The goal of the lab is to reduce the potential risk of waterborne disease and illness by providing an affordable and convenient water testing service.
The Routt County Regional Building Department provides building inspection services to ensure compliance with building code standards assuring building safety for the residents and guests of Routt County. Our Public Works Department oversees snow plowing and maintenance of 849 miles of road and 106 bridges providing access to critical services for our citizens and visitors. The Routt County Sheriff’s Office responds to emergencies 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Regardless of age or income, everyone in Routt County deserves to live a healthy life. Routt County’s Human Services Department strengthens families and individuals and promotes safety and self-sufficiency by providing programs and resources to help those in need.
Your Routt County Board of Commissioners also serve as the Routt County Board of Health. The Board of Health oversees vital statistics, immunizations, prevention and population health promotion, emergency response, communicable disease prevention and control and environmental health within the county. A strong public health infrastructure is needed to provide essential public health services and is a shared responsibility with the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and our residents. The execution of these duties is one of the primary ways we work to ensure the long-term health of our residents and visitors.
Along with our many partners, we are nearing completion of our Community Health Assessment and Planning System effort. This extensive community outreach and data gathering undertaking will be followed up with a Public Health Improvement Plan to address our most critical public health issues in Routt County.
Routt County was ranked the 14th overall healthiest community in the United States and fourth among rural communities according to the 2019 Healthiest Communities rankings by U.S. News & World Report. It is our goal that Routt County continues to be a place where all our resident can live a healthy and productive life.