COVID-19 cases in Routt County face plateau after spike from delta variant
Cases of COVID-19 in Routt County have remained relatively stable for the past few weeks after seeing an alarming spike as the delta variant spread in Northwest Colorado.
There were 64 new cases of the virus in the past 14 days and one new hospitalization, according to Routt County’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
“Things that will impact our incidence rate in the near term include the extent to which individuals in our community practice the commitments to containment,” county epidemiologist Nicole Harty said.
Harty said it’s hard to say how she expected local case trends to develop over the next few weeks.
The most visible of the commitments to containment — mask wearing — has become more frequent around Steamboat Springs of late, with some businesses around town resvisiting their own masking policies.
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As the delta variant has made a menacing rise to dominance in Colorado, case incidence jumped from rates of roughly a new case each day to about five times that level in the county.
It is Routt County’s high vaccination rate that public health officials credit for the dampened impact of the variant upstream the Yampa River. Among those eligible for the shots, 79% of Routt County residents have received at least one dose. In Moffat County, that number is about 44%.
Data from Memorial Regional Hospital in Craig showed the positivity rate is about 18% from Aug. 2-8 in Moffat County, the Craig Press reported. The positivity rate in Routt County over the same span of time was about 5%.
However, Smith said the high vaccination rate of those eligible to get the vaccine in the county can also be misleading.
“Although we have a high vaccination rate locally, this gets diluted when we have visitors who may or may not be vaccinated, so we cannot rely on our high percentage alone,” Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith said.
The local vaccination rate is slowly ticking up. Harty said about 25 people are receiving a vaccine each day in Routt County, which has been the average for the past six to eight weeks.
Smith said she would like to see the county’s vaccination rate get to 80% or higher by Labor Day, especially with kids going back to school in just a week or so.
“If someone is not vaccinated, they should seek out vaccination. If you are traveling to other areas, you should get your COVID-19 vaccine, as well,” Smith said.
Colorado’s vaccine bus will be back in Steamboat on Sunday and Monday at both the Steamboat Springs Community Center and The Ponds Employee Housing development.
The bus will also be at school open houses at Steamboat Springs Middle School on Aug. 25, Steamboat Springs High School on Aug. 26 and at Sleeping Giant School on Sept. 1.
While about 20% of the COVID-19 cases in July were breakthrough cases, Harty said if the area had lower vaccination rates, she would expect to see more severe cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths because of the variant.
Aug. 15: Steamboat Springs Community Center 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and The Ponds Employee Housing 1-5 p.m.
Aug. 16: The Ponds Employee Housing 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Steamboat Springs Community Center 1-5 p.m.
Aug. 25: Steamboat Springs Middle School Open House, 4-8 p.m.
Aug. 26: Steamboat Springs High School Open House, 4-8 p.m.
Sept. 1: Sleeping Giant School Open House, 4-7:30 p.m.
Anyone looking to get a vaccine can walk up to any of these stops without an appointment. There are no requirements to show identification or to have health insurance.
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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Gary Anderson has had every medical ailment you can name, so when he first heard he might be eligible to get his third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, he joked he would be first in…