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Montezuma County commissioner hospitalized with COVID-related complications

Montezuma County Commissioner Joel “Joe” Stevenson is reportedly hospitalized with COVID-related complications. (Courtesy photo)
Joel Stevenson reported a positive test in November and recovered, according to county administrator

Montezuma County Commissioner Joel “Joe” Stevenson has been hospitalized at Southwest Memorial Hospital with a COVID-related illness, according to multiple sources.

He is in an intensive care unit at the hospital, his brother, Michael Stevenson, told The Journal on Monday evening

County Administrator Shak Powers said Monday the county and commissioners were informed that Stevenson had been hospitalized Friday from “complications due to COVID. We are concerned.”

Stevenson was not present at the regularly scheduled meeting Dec. 28.

Stevenson informed county officials in November that he had tested positive for COVID but did not have symptoms, according to administrator Powers. He self-isolated and later tested negative. Stevenson attended a commissioners meeting via Zoom while quarantined, Powers said.

Stevenson, of Mancos, also works as a brand inspector for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. All state employees must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or participate in twice-weekly testing.

Commissioner Jim Candelaria said he was made aware of Stevenson’s hospitalization. He said he did not know his condition and was waiting for an update.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with him,” Candelaria said.

The three-member commission can function and vote on matters with at least two members. Candelaria said no major decisions are made by commissioners without all three members.

Montezuma County Commissioner elect Joel Stevenson poses with U.S. House Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert during the campaign in November 2020.

Stevenson’s brother, Michael Stevenson, posted on his Facebook page Dec. 31 that Joel Stevenson was in the hospital.

“Prayers are needed for our family as Covid has attacked our family,” wrote Michael Stevenson. “My brother Joe isn’t doing well and is in the hospital.”

In an interview with The Journal on Monday evening, Michael Stevenson said his brother felt he was catching a cold then had difficulty breathing on Dec. 26, and went to the hospital. He was diagnosed with viral pneumonia and sent home with oxygen and medications. A COVID test came back positive on Tuesday, and Friday morning he was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he remains in intensive care.

“He is very sick, but his oxygen levels are improving,” Michael Stevenson said. “My brother is tough and is holding his own.”

People who were in contact with Stevenson have been notified and are quarantining and being tested, he said. Stevenson’s wife, Sheree, also tested positive for pneumonia and COVID and was recovering at home Monday.

Michael Stevenson said he did not know whether the two had been vaccinated for COVID.

Stevenson was under quarantine at the hospital Monday night, and visitors were not allowed. He has texted messages to family members.

“I sent him a text that I love him. He is a good man, a strong guy, I have faith he will recover,” Stevenson’s brother said.

In a email Monday sent to members of the Four Corners 9-12 group, Dexter Gill posted a “special alert for prayer” for Stevenson, that stated “the commissioner has been hospitalized here with Covid.”

The email stated that Stevenson “has been hit pretty hard by it and is being treated here with all tools available in hopes to not have to transfer him to a larger facility for heavier treatment.”

On Monday, Stevenson responded with “some small stabilizing reactions” that were an improvement to a previous decline in oxygen levels, according to the email.

“We are encouraging all to lift him up in prayer, for continuing improvement and full recovery, without having to transfer him out for heavier treatments,” the email message states.

The Four Corners 9/12 Project is a group of citizens that “has come together to study and promote the Constitution of the United States,” the group’s Facebook page states.

The Journal reached out to Stevenson but had not received a reply by Monday evening.