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Eagle County's MIRA Bus brings 'community services' to hurting families

Team delivers food, flu shots, COVID-19 tests
MIRA Bus
Posted at 2:05 AM, Apr 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-10 19:43:52-04

EAGLE COUNTY, Colo -- The COVID-19 pandemic has left many families feeling a sense of isolation in Eagle County.

Many are experiencing hard times related to business closures.

"In the Mountains, the minority population might work in the hotel industry, or the ski resorts, and most of them have lost their jobs," said Melina Valsecia.

Valsecia, manages the MIRA Bus, a specially outfitted RV, being used to help hook those families up with nonprofits who can help.

MIRA, which stands for Mobile Intercultural Resource Alliance, works with resource providers to provide shelter, transportation, food or utility assistance to families in need, or to help with household supplies, like diapers and formula.

"It's going to get worse as the months pass by," Valsecia said, "but we are just trying to bring hope to neighborhoods."

The MIRA Bus has been in operation for two years.

It was used to help provide flu shots during the first year.

"That first year, we saw over 500 people," Valsecia said, "which was higher than what they saw at the public health buildings, so it seems like people are coming to MIRA, they like the service right there in their neighborhood."

She added that this past year, they saw 900 people.

"We're building rapport, and trustful relationships with residents at different sites," she said. "They are coming back for more (services.)"

COVID-19 tests

As the pandemic began spreading into the mountains, the MIRA Bus was pressed into service for COVID-19 testing.

Clinicians from Vail Health and Colorado Mountain Medical stage out of the RV and a nearby canopy booth.

They ask about the patient's symptoms, to determine whether he/she qualifies for free onsite COVID screening.

Valsecia told Denver7 that 50 of those tested, have tested positive.

"Testing is so important," she said, "so we don't expose other people."

To learn more about the MIRA Bus, click here.

WiFi hot spots

Valsecia said the MIRA Bus staff is also trying to find out if it might be possible to increase WiFi hot spots in Eagle County.

She said with most kids having to stay home and learn online, WiFi is slowing down dramatically.

She said some families don't have the equipment needed for kids to learn online.

"They have no money to pay for gas, no car. A lot of people lost their job. They are trying to figure out how to make a living right now," she said. "The MIRA bus is not only bringing COVID testing, but food resources as well."