One new positive COVID-19 case in Routt County, antibody testing ramping up |

One new positive COVID-19 case in Routt County, antibody testing ramping up

UCHealth labs are now doing both COVID-19 tests and antibody tests for members of the public.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Routt County resident has tested positive for COVID-19, the Routt County Department of Public Health announced last week.

The woman, who is in her 30s, was asymptomatic, officials said. That brings the county’s total to date to 63, and the woman is currently listed as the county’s only active case.

About a week ago, health officials announced a woman in her 20s, who was from out of state but living temporarily in Steamboat Springs, tested positive. Before that, the most recent positive results had been in Casey’s Pond Senior Living.

Since community testing opened up to everyone, “We have had great response from the community volunteering for asymptomatic testing,” reported Kari Ladrow, Routt County director of public health.

On Wednesday alone, 87 people without any symptoms were tested, she said.

A total of 2,928 tests have been administered to date in the county.

Antibody testing also continues to ramp up. As of June 8, UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center had administered 321 antibody tests, with six showing positive results for COVID-19 antibodies — an infection rate of just 0.018%. James Wirta, manager of laboratory services at Yampa Valley Medical Center, said last week, his team has been collecting about 40 or more antibody test samples each day in the lab.

As of June 3, across the UCHealth system, 12,438 tests that had been administered, and results showed an infection rate of 3.7%.

“According to reports from the 5 local clinical facilities offering antibody testing, as of June 10 at least 649 antibody tests have been conducted in Steamboat Springs,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Harrington said in an update to the Routt County Board of Health last week. “According to CDPHE we have had 17 positive antibody tests, for a positive rate of 2.6%. Given that the some of the antibody tests in town do not have a high sensitivity rate, some of the positive tests are probably false positive tests and the rate may actually be lower. This positive rate below 5% is consistent with most population screenings around the US, except for infection hotspots like New York City. While this is not a scientific sampling of our community, it implies that the great majority of residents have not been exposed to COVID-19, and our community remains just as susceptible to the virus as we were early this year.” 

At the Steamboat Emergency Center, 280 antibody tests have been administered on Routt County residents with 12 positive results — representing an infection rate of 4.28%, according to Dr. Jesse Sandhu. Those positive tests are sent to a lab for a secondary verification.

The antibody tests, while getting much better in accuracy, are still limited in what information they can provide. Even if the results are perfect, it isn’t known whether someone who tests positive has immunity or to what degree. And some tests are not sensitive enough to detect antibodies in someone who may have been exposed much earlier in the pandemic — like January or February.

Across the country, states that previously saw lower case numbers are showing record-high case numbers of new infections.

Since June 1, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Those states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

As of Sunday in Colorado, there have been 29,130 positive COVID-19 cases and 1,599 deaths out of 246,478 people tested.

Across the country, there have been more than 2 million positive cases, and as of Sunday, 115,271 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

To reach Kari Dequine Harden, call 970-871-4205, email or follow her on Twitter @kariharden.

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