SM County: Highest Single Day/Significant Community Spread!

SM County: Highest Single Day/Significant Community Spread!

Unstable infection rates continue as San Miguel County continues to experience high rates for COVID-19 incidence and positivity

To register for free testing in Lawson Hill, visit here.

For more information surrounding COVID resources, testing and the concern form, visit here.

For more information surrounding the state’s COVID-19 dial, visit here.

San Miguel County Public Health saw record positivity last week with the highest single-day total to date of 44 positives occurring on Friday, January 22.

Additionally, Public Health recorded the highest seven-day receipt of positive results of 98 from January 16 through 22. Weeks after holiday travel and gatherings concluded, this increase is unnervingly similar to the steady rise seen before moving to Level Red after the Thanksgiving holiday.

The high rates of positive results throughout the county are due to a high rate of infections. This increase in transmission could be the result of several factors including holiday surge, high community transmission, pandemic fatigue and relaxed behavior. The increase in affordable testing has aided in identification of known positives which allows contact tracing to help residents and visitors stay isolated in order to curb continued spread of COVID-19.

Dr. Sharon Grundy

“The trouble is most positive people we’re getting in touch with are surprised with their results. Many residents are suffering from very mild cases and report only having a stuffy or runny nose,” said San Miguel County Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharon Grundy. “We’re lucky that our vulnerable population is staying home, but now we need our young, healthy residents to heed the same call. When you’re sick, even if it feels like a common cold, stay home and isolate until you can get tested.”

Testing wastewater for COVID-19 RNA over the last six months has added a deeper understanding of disease trends in advance of their detection through point-of-care testing such as COVID swab or saliva tests. Public Health looks for consistent data of at least three samples to determine trends of concerning increase or decline in COVID cases. Currently, although wastewater COVID numbers remain extremely high, we are not seeing exponential growth in data. This may indicate that the rise in positive PCR and antigen tests is not a new outbreak, rather proof that testing is capturing more of those currently infected.

In looking at the big picture, it is important to consider all factors that inform the spread of COVID-19 and corresponding regulations. Positivity, incidence and hospitalization rates present a cohesive understanding of disease transmission.

Grace Franklin, County Public Health Director.

“At this moment, our extremely high incidence rate is being broadcast on national platforms, highlighting a deep concern due our high incidence rates,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “It’s important that we take a comprehensive view and also look at positivity and hospitalization rates, as well as our wastewater treatment numbers in informing our future policies. Our goals to balance public health and the economy are exceptionally difficult when the weight lies solely on each and every one of you, our residents and visitors alike. It is imperative that all people in our community take note and tighten our behaviors for the next two weeks.”

National media outlets have reported incidence based on a seven-day incidence which shows a more dramatic increase in county numbers than the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s standard 14-day measurement of incidence rate.

Additionally, almost 100 positive results from medical center rapid testing were missing from CDPHE data. These cases were added to the total count last week, inflating incidence reported in various outlets. Public Health had reported these cases and all positives had been previously notified and contact traced.

The toolkit is in place with testing, contact tracing, face coverings, physical distance, hand-washing, staying home, limiting group size and, ultimately, vaccine rollout. The county has seen success in controlling spread previously, most notably leading up to holidays. With another holiday weekend approaching, spread amongst residents must be contained by limiting household gatherings and diligently reducing group size.

Public Health encourages all within the county to pay close attention to any and all symptoms at onset, from a runny nose and feelings of a common cold to deep respiratory pain. Symptoms are not always notably severe at onset and containment relies on a deep attention to personal wellness at this time.

Public Health has confirmed 26 new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from January 23 through 26. Of these cases, all 26 are residents and all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. Nearly half of the positive cases throughout the county in the last three weeks have arisen in those ages 20 to 29.

There have been 635 total COVID cases among residents to date with 88 active cases.

To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the County COVID-19 dashboard.

Five Commitments of Containment:

Wear a mask
Maintain six feet of physical distance
Minimize group size
Wash hands frequently
Stay home when sick and get tested

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.