When the first waves of the pandemic hit Telluride, no one had to ask Ximena Rebolledo León to get involved — she was already reaching out directly to the community’s Latinx population  with text messages and videos she was recording from her home.

“In March when schools were closing and the first COVID-19 cases were reported in the state, everyone was struggling to understand the virus and how it spread, so I knew the challenges for my Latino friends and neighbors, especially those who only speak Spanish, would be even greater, making them especially  vulnerable to the disease, misinformation and fear,” says Ximena.

Ximena has lived in Telluride for twenty years. Throughout her time here she’s invested herself deeply to building relationships. Today, as a registered nurse and care manager at the Telluride Regional Medical Center, she continues to earn her well-deserved reputation for being a trusted voice in the community.

On Thursday, after navigating San Miguel County’s free COVID-19 testing administered by the National Guard in Lawson Hill, she texted her list of local Latinos everything they needed to know and what to expect from the experience.

She also filmed a video of her looking directly into her phone’s camera, as she does in every video, delivering an update in Spanish about the latest surge in COVID-19 cases, how to follow Public Health’s Five Commitments, and how to stay safe. She also encouraged everyone to do their part for the wellness of the community as a whole.

Ximena sends her messages directly to the phones of over 150 Spanish speaking locals. Her videos also circulate on social media and live on the medical center’s website. 

Ximena’s personal outreach, delivered in her native tongue, are more than just Public Service Announcements, they’re also a direct line for people in the community who often reply to her text messages with their own questions and concerns.

“We’re many months into this pandemic and we’ve known from the start COVID-19 disproportionately affects people of color.  We have the power to change that. For me, my personal responsibility is to share what I know, as a healthcare professional, with the Latino community. The best way I know how to do that is to do it myself,” says Ximena.

“Latinos are part of our frontline and essential workers and it is our responsibility to support them.”

Ximena’s texts, videos and emails are more than a communication tool, she’s building a community on trust, respect and science.

If you or someone you know would benefit from receiving COVID-19 messages in Spanish directly from Ximena, you can join Enfermera Ximena’s list here.