Routt County COVID cases hit lowest point since August |

Routt County COVID cases hit lowest point since August

About 34% of the county’s children 5-11 years old have received the first dose of the vaccine

The past two week’s 79 cases of COVID-19 in Routt County is the lowest number of new cases since early August, and the decline is being seen across Colorado, as well.

Fueled by a combination of the delta variant and a return to school, the latest surge in Routt saw the highest positivity rate so far during the pandemic, but that, too, has declined and is now about 3.3%.

“The state as a whole is also seeing lower seven-day cumulative incidence and sustained declines in our county, as well as the region,” said Routt County Public Health Director Roberta Smith.

Still, intensive care bed availability across the state is at just 5%, with a vast majority — 84% of those patients — unvaccinated. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis emphasized the disproportionate nature of hospitalizations among the unvaccinated at a news conference Tuesday as another reason people should get vaccinated.

Cases of COVID-19 in Routt County have dropped back down to a level similar to what was seen locally before school started this fall.
Routt County Public Health/Courtesy

The decline in cases started more than two weeks ago, and health officials are now calling it a trend, something they had been hesitant to do. The decline comes at a time when the world is still reeling from the discovery of the omicron variant and how it might affect the course of the pandemic.

While two cases of the variant has been found in Colorado — both connected to international travel — Smith said Wednesday that it has not been found in Routt County.

“If we do detect it, not much will change. The standard isolation and quarantine period is not different from what we have seen,” Smith said. “People that are identified with omicron variant, they will probably expect more detailed contact tracing.”

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said Colorado is one of the top states for the number of positive COVID-19 tests that are sequenced to check for variants like omicron. More than 15% of all cases are given this analysis, she said.

Limited data shows there is a higher risk of reinfection with omicron compared with earlier variants, but there are indications it may not be as severe as originally feared, Herlihy said.

“Hospital rates in South Africa do not appear to be higher than expected for the current caseload being seen in South Africa,” Herlihy said. “We really do need more definitive data and studies, and we do expect those over the next two weeks or so, but this is some promising data.”

The state is also using a wastewater surveillance system to look for the variant, and some of omicron’s characteristics were found in the Boulder municipal system, Herlihy said. This is likely an indication of low-level community transmission.

“Our recommendation to Boulder residents and all Coloradans is to keep doing the things that you have been doing,” Herlihy said. “It is also more important than ever to get tested if you have symptoms or you’ve had an exposure. Our detection systems only work when people get tested.”

To be sequenced, the COVID test must be a PCR test. While rapid tests are useful for screening, they are not able to detect genomic changes in the virus, Herlihy said.

Health officials reiterated that the best protection from COVID-19 and the omicron variant is still getting vaccinated and boosted if eligible.

The highest case incidence in Routt County is concentrated in South Routt, where vaccination rates are lower. Still, about half of cases seen locally in November are among people who have been vaccinated, according to data from county public health. Just over 70% of residents are fully vaccinated.

As it has been with vaccinations for adults, Routt County is outpacing the rest of the state at vaccinating residents age 5-11. About 34% of the roughly 2,000 children in Routt have received a first dose of the vaccine, as compared to 24% across the state.

“We are thrilled by the update to our pediatric vaccines,” Smith said.

The public health department is now holding its own vaccine clinics by appointment Tuesdays and Fridays, where the adolescent vaccine made by Pfizer will be available, along with the Moderna vaccine and booster shots. Smith said to call 970-870-5341 to make an appointment.

Where to get a vaccine in Routt County

UCHealth (Moderna & Pfizer) is now offering online self-scheduling for those seeking a COVID-19 vaccination. To find available appointments, please use My Health Connection.

Click on the store links to set up appointments directly at these approved providers:

City Market (Moderna and Pfizer)

Safeway (Pfizer)

– Walmart (Moderna)

Walgreens (Moderna)

Call Lyons Drug (Pfizer, Moderna and J&J) at 970-879-1114. Walk-ins only M-Sat 9am-7pm.

Call South Routt Medical Center (Moderna and Pfizer) at 970-736-8118 for an appointment.

Call Northwest Colorado Health (Moderna and Pfizer) at 970-879-1632 for an appointment. Physician visit is required for new patients.

Call Steamboat Spring Family Medicine (Moderna and Pfizer) at 970-871-1323 for an appointment or sign up on their website.

Call Yampa Valley Medical Associates (Moderna, Pfizer and J&J) at 970-879-3327 for an appointment. At this time appointments are limited to current patients.

Call Pediatrics of Steamboat (Pfizer) at 970-871-1900 or 970-276-1900 for an appointments in Steamboat and Hayden.

Call Steamboat Specialty Clinic/Community Pharmacy (Moderna, Pfizer and J&J) at 970-826-8440 for an appointment.

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