Dialing It In

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The county’s “town hall” Zoom/Facebook/Wide World o’ Technology meeting on Monday lasted all of eight minutes. Sometimes, these days, there’s just not a whole lot to say about Corona. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

I always watch these meetings after the fact, a few hours after they’re recorded but before I leave work. We still can’t access our Pat’s Facebook page without going through some back route that only Kara knows, and without a Facebook page of my own (I feel so alone! Okay, not really) I have no other way to access the county Facebook page.

(Facebook: purveyor of more than its share of false information and a place where, I just heard this morning from the founder himself, Mark Zuckerberg has such a hectic schedule that he can’t remember when last he spoke with the president of the United States. But don’t you worry: they’re going to clamp down on political misinformation, even if he didn’t come right out and say that this would include the president, now encouraging people in North Carolina to commit felonies by voting twice, through mail and then in person, which apparently will prove how fraudulent this all is. Never mind championing the felonies in Wisconsin, where it’s okay to kill protestors on the presumption that they’re carting dangerous cans of soup around. How does this even begin to sound rational to anyone?)

At any rate, included in the eight minutes of Monday information from our county’s public health director was that things are going okay so far in our schools, all the way through college — although Lynn heard a rumor Tuesday about several cases at the college, I mean university. I did notice a large increase in the number of tests the last two days, results of which are of course not back yet. [Updated while I was typing: 1 positive so far.]

But as of Monday we seemed to be on track, and other than our positivity rate for testing, which is still above the desired 5 percent, albeit dropping from the teens where it was last month, we have no risk factors to move our “Coronameter” to a different color.

Which was also part of the eight minutes of news: our county’s “Coronameter” has now been adopted by the state, which for some reason felt compelled to rename it: Now it’s just “The Dial,” which isn’t nearly as much fun. And who doesn’t want to have fun in a pandemic?

The state also, confusingly if not more accurately, changed up the colors. Here in Gunnison County we are “blue,” wary of those indicators, like the positivity rate, that slide us closer to “yellow.” In our county, the objective is to become “green.”

But at the state level, we are currently “green,” still wary of “yellow” but aiming for “blue.” So that’s confusing, but I suppose those literal types at the state looked at a real rainbow, or a real facsimile of one, and noticed that in the color spectrum it goes yellow then green then blue.

I’m guessing our county opted for green as the optimal color because green means “go” while red, the worst in either the “meter” or the “dial,” is “full stop.” Although I will say it’s kind of confusing to look at the test numbers and see red as positive and green as negative. In this instance, negative isn’t negative, it’s positive. No one wants a positive covid test.

Have I lost anyone besides myself?

I believe the reason the state adopted this is to give counties more flexibility. Clear Creek County, for instance, has no cases of covid, so they’re probably safer — for the moment — than, say, El Paso County, home of The Colorado College, which had so many cases of covid that students are being sent back home for full online learning. (I would like everyone to note the capital “The”; my sister the CC alumnae would like you all the know it’s the only school in the state with the “the” officially in the name.)

Case numbers in Gunnison County are currently also low, unless several of the 40-odd tests of the last couple of days come back positive. Our public health director was complimentary of the efforts put forth by the administrations at both the school district and the college/university.

I get sort of a bird’s-eye view of the higher ed situation when nephew Justin, a freshman at Western Not State, drops by. He is in a dorm, although he has ditched the roommate who was smoking pot and vaping, both illegally, in their room. Some of his classes are nonetheless all online, and at least one is a hybrid that I believe he attends in-person once a week and twice virtually.

We’re getting more of a “report from the ground” for the school district, where Omar, still nominally an employee, has returned to the high school, and where Vann’s daughter, the inimitable Mahthilda, has started kindergarten.

She wasn’t too sure about this kindergarten stuff until the day before school, when she went to school and met her teacher and saw her classroom. Vann reported he did not cry as he sent her off that first morning, mostly because she was so excited to go, but he did nearly cry when she wasn’t as enthused as other kids when greeting their parents upon pick-up.

To pick Mahthilda up, Vann has to take a sign with her name and her teacher’s name on it and hold it up just like he’s at the airport. Then he gets back into his Jeep, unless he’s on his bike, and waits. Early in the process he put out his sign, got acknowledged, got in his Jeep and then waited. And waited. And waited.

He watched kids climb into all the cars behind him and leave, and there he still was. Eventually someone from the school came along the line of cars with Mahthilda, who had to positively identify him as her dad, before the school released her. Apparently she forgot what the Jeep they’ve had her entire life looked like. But at least she didn’t say, “I’ve never seen this man.” Especially since he was parked right behind a police officer.

So who says you can’t have a laugh or two in the middle of a pandemic, hm? Let’s just hope the laughs last, because those who laugh last, last best — or I’m sure I mean something like that.

Here’s a story about the state’s “dial,” which apparently is not yet for sure A Thing. Soon, maybe.

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