COVID cases declining in Routt County
Public health partnership offers free testing for foreseeable future in Steamboat
Cases of COVID-19 in Routt County are declining again after a surge that rivaled previous spikes in cases appears to have peaked.
Just 10 days ago, local health officials were reporting more than 230 cases in a two-week period, but that has since dropped to 152 cases in the past two weeks. In the past seven days, there have been 70 new cases.
“It is hard to say if this is a trend,” said Routt County epidemiologist Nicole Harty in an email. “We are still at an elevated incidence rate and have an incidence rate in the top 25% of all counties in Colorado.”
The local positivity rate, which had reached the highest levels since the start of the pandemic in recent weeks, is dropping, as well. It is still about as high as it was during earlier spikes of the virus but has seen consistent decline since Sept. 12 and is now at 6.5%.
On a national level, cases of COVID-19 have declined by 26% in the past 14 days, with the country now seeing about 113,000 new cases each day right now, according to The New York Times COVID-19 tracker. Hospitalizations have also declined by 17% in the past 14 days.
Since the start of the pandemic, 43 million Americans have tested positive for the virus and more than 695,000 have died.
Infections are declining across Colorado, as well, dropping by about 6% in the past two weeks.
“We seem to continue to be at a plateau to slight decline,” said Gov. Jared Polis in an update Wednesday. “Colorado continues to have the sixth lowest rate of COVID in the country, but it is still very prevalent here. People should take precautions as necessary.”
Throughout the latest surge, cases have been affecting younger people more, as children 12 and younger are still not eligible to be vaccinated. Infection rates among Routt County’s school-aged children — those age 5 to 17 — are still about three times higher than rates for everyone else, even though it has been declining over the past 10 days.
Still, 18 children are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 across Colorado, with 12 of them too young to get a vaccine. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to impact the unvaccinated much more than those who are vaccinated.
“We continue to have an elevated incidence of COVID as the entire country does. We hope that we are seeing the first signs of a small decline,” Polis said. “That is simply a function of people getting vaccinated, getting protected and the precautions people take around others, like masks and social distancing.”
Outbreaks locally continue to be mostly related to schools, though cases have primarily originated through school sports but not exclusively.
“While these outbreaks originated with sports exposures, there has been some exposure in school and appears to be some in-school transmission,” Harty said. “Public Health continues to work closely with schools on these outbreaks and consults on each case involving a student in school.”
Harty said she believes enough people are being tested locally, and that many people who are being tested at home may not be reporting their results. Those results can now be reported through COVIDBinax.Colorado.gov/login by selecting the “at-home antigen – self reported.”
“It is important for our community to follow public health guidance of isolating if you have a positive test and notifying your close contacts to quarantine, including with an at-home test,” Harty said.
Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Strings Music Pavilion parking lot and is being conducted by Mako Medical, a lab contracted with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Appointments are made through Mako online at Mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=5922, and people should not call Strings in regard to COVID-19 testing.
Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith said she was excited about the expanded testing opportunities as CDPHE hasn’t had a community testing site in Steamboat before. The site will be available each weekend for the foreseeable future.
“That space is generally used for skier overflow parking, so we’ll kind of reassess this winter if there is a lot of demand or not,” Smith said. “At least through October and November, you should see the testing continue there.”
Mako Medical – Free testing:
• Preregister online
• Testing held in Strings Music Pavilion parking lot. Do not call Strings for testing.
• Testing is available 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center:
• Sign up online or call 970-875-2686
• Testing is available 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday
Steamboat Medical Group:
• Call 970-879-0203 for an appointment
• Weekend hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
South Routt Medical Center:
• Call 970-736-8118 for an appointment
• Testing available at 10 a.m. Monday to Friday
Northwest Colorado Health:
• Call 970-879-1632 for an appointment
• Testing available Monday through Friday
• Physician visit is required for new patients
Yampa Valley Medical Associates:
• Call 970-879-3327 for an appointment
•Testing is currently limited to YVMA patients only
Pediatrics of Steamboat Springs:
• Call 970-871-1900 for an appointment
Steamboat Springs Family Medicine:
• Call 970-871-1323 for an appointment
• Physician visit is required
• Cost dependent on individual situation
Binac rapid antigen at-home testing
• Individuals can now sign up for the Binax Rapid Antigen at-home testing program through Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
• Use this form to request a test kit sent directly to your home and look at this form for instructions about at-home testing.
Source: Routt County Public Health Department
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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Twenty months after the South Routt School District announced it would close because of a burgeoning coronavirus, COVID-19 is more prevalent in South Routt than ever before.