Summit County COVID-19 numbers tend to drop; the authorities remain vigilant before winter
At a joint Health Council and County Commissioners Summit Council meeting on Tuesday, October 5, Director of Public Health Amy Wineland had a lot of good news to share regarding the county’s COVID-19 situation.
Wineland reported that Summit County is experiencing a downward trend. Although the community incidence rate continues to hover between 100 and 200 cases per 100,000 people – it is currently 171 cases for the past 28 days – confirmed and probable community cases are both decreasing with the rate. of positivity as a percentage. Wineland added that the capacity of St. Anthony Summit Hospital “continues to be very good”.
The rest of the state is also doing a little better than a few weeks ago.
While this is all positive news, Wineland said the community is not out of the woods just yet. Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence asked when it would be appropriate to review policies currently in place at Summit County government buildings, such as requiring visitors to wear masks before entering. Wineland responded that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends communities to hide indoors if their incidence rate is 50 or more.
Wineland pointed out that while people should be optimistic about the direction the community numbers will take, there could still be setbacks on the horizon.
“The biggest worry… is that fall is coming (and so is) colder weather,” Wineland said. “People are coming in, and the flu season is about to begin. So hopefully this trend will continue, but we need to be aware of this change that will happen in the coming weeks. “
In addition, some data could change. Wineland praised the county for its high vaccination rate, but noted that this data is compared to data from the 2019 US Census Bureau. In the coming weeks, the county will begin using data from the 2020 census. However, according to the office’s website, some of the data for those two years looks very similar: 2020 figures indicate the county’s population is 31. 055 inhabitants, while 2019 figures put the population at around 31,011.
According to an email from Summit County spokesperson Nicole Valentine in June, the vaccination rate is based on the address individuals give to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at the time. of their vaccination. Valentine said this address is unverified. As a result, the number of people vaccinated in each age group may not match the 2019 data for Summit County, and in many cases the numbers may be higher or lower. It’s also important to note that people vaccinated outside of the state are not included in local data.
According to the county website, about 83% of the community population are fully immunized and 92% have received at least one dose.
In addition to data changes and impending colder weather, Wineland said children between the ages of 6 and 11 may not be eligible for a vaccine until November. Originally, the hope was that this population could become eligible by the end of the month.
The virus is still a threat to the community, but Wineland noted that some people are starting to relax and lower their defenses. During her presentation, she said some people who tested positive refused to be interviewed for contact tracing purposes or to disclose who they may have been exposed. She said some even still go to work when they are sick and contagious with the virus. She stressed that people should stay home if they have symptoms and that even people who have been vaccinated can still spread the virus.
To keep the community resilient, Wineland said his department plans to work with local ski resorts to get more people vaccinated. Lawrence also encouraged people to hide indoors, especially in retail stores.
“I’m in Arkansas, which has had one of the worst case rates in the country and one of the worst vaccination rates,” said Lawrence, attending the meeting via Zoom. “I will say that the compliance of the masks here in the retail stores is very, very high. All the employees wear them, and I was surprised at the people in the stores who wear them. … I think we got a wake-up call here.
“I just saw a lot of mask compliance in grocery stores and various other things, maybe even more than in Summit County. … It’s just a nice reminder to our community to keep wearing these masks when we go shopping… and things like that.