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Where are the COVID-19 hotspots in Colorado? The answer is more complicated than it looks. – Cannon City Daily Record

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The mountain ski community looks like a COVID-19 hotspot in Colorado, but you may need to be careful when traveling to the eastern plains as well.

Current models of the Colorado Public Health School show that new infections are beginning to decline in the mountains, but are increasing in most of the eastern half of the state.

The state dialing framework still points to hotspots for the ski community, but there are only a few warning signs on the eastern plains.

which one is correct? It’s hard to say — and both areas can be relatively dangerous.

The school model incorporates a two-week delay, so you may have missed a recent change. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s dial dashboard provides a more real-time view of how the virus is spreading, but results can be distorted in counties with few tests.

“Both of these frameworks help determine risk levels. The lowest risk activities include staying at home or yourself, especially until you and the majority of other Colorados are vaccinated. Includes being in the community, “said a state health bureau spokesman.

Coronavirus hospitalizations have remained essentially flat in Colorado since mid-March, but new cases are on the rise again. On Thursday, the state recorded an average of 1,179 cases over the past seven days, up from about 961 cases per day two weeks ago.

However, while more than half of Colorado’s counties tested positive last week with less than 10 people, some of the state’s most popular tourist destinations are approaching the level of closing indoor meals. I did.

More hospitalizations in the east

latest COVID-19 Modeling Report In the eastern central region of Colorado, which includes the Elbert, Cheyenne, Kitcarson, and Lincoln counties, one in 44 people is infected and is estimated to be contagious. This is about four times the risk of infecting certain people encountered in the Denver area and about 15 times the risk found in southwestern Colorado.

According to the model, the chances of infecting certain people are reduced in the western and southern parts of the state, and in the Denver region. They are increasing in the central region, including the counties of Chafy, El Paso, Lake, Park and Teller. The northeast includes the counties of Larimar, Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, Weld and Yuma.

The School of Public Health model seeks to determine the number of potential transmissions based on mobility data from coronavirus hospitalizations and cell phone tracking.

Dr. John Samet, Dean of the Colorado Department of Public Health, uses hospitalization to delay because most people aren’t ill enough to require that level of care until about two weeks after infection. .. However, unlike case data, it does not change with the amount of testing done by the community. If you are sick enough, you will go to the hospital regardless.

The eastern counties may be starting to improve, the model didn’t catch it due to delays, or those areas don’t have enough tests to figure out the scale of the problem, and the state looks good. The dashboard may not have been good.

With a school model State dashboard.. Some counties in the area that the model identified as hotspots are shown in yellow for admissions on the dashboard. This means that hospitalizations for the last two weeks have increased by 3-6 days. However, some Western Slope County are also shown in yellow on the dashboard, so the two do not exactly match.

The dashboard also showed high positive rates in Lake, Teller, and Elbert counties in areas where the school model was flagged. Karen Muzzart, deputy spokesman for public health and the environment in Teller County, said this week she is still trying to figure out why 9.3% of COVID-19 tests were positive.

Dwayne Smith, director of Elbert County Public Health, was more confident about the county’s 8% positive rate. Elbert County is dealing with outbreaks in schools and churches, and he believes that people may be loosening precautions because of “pandemic fatigue.”

Case high in the sky in the country of skiing

The state dialing framework for determining COVID-19 limits depicts another situation. Finding the highest case rate in the Colorado ski community, Pitkin County recorded 461.8 cases for every 100,000 people as of Friday morning.

So last week, about 1 in 215 people in Pitkin County was positive. Although high, it is better than at the beginning of the week when 1 in 200 was newly diagnosed. At that level, the county may be pushed to level red and indoor meals may be closed.

Summit and Eagle counties weren’t too late in dialing data. About 1 in 265 in Summit County was positive and about 1 in 430 in Eagle County was positive. Like Pitkin County, both have a high percentage of tests and are returning positive. If more than 5% of the tests are positive, it indicates that public health agencies may not have caught a significant number of infections.

The state dial examines the average case and the percentage of COVID-19 tests that returned positive the previous week, and whether hospitalizations increased, decreased, or remained stable over a two-week period. People usually develop symptoms about 5 days after infection, so they are more likely to be tested before going to the hospital and can see the spread of the virus in real time.

If the community hasn’t done a lot of testing, the numbers can be distorted, but the positive rate can help indicate if that’s happening.

Last week, Pitkin County moved to Level Orange. This limits most businesses to 25% of their capacity. However, restaurants and other businesses that have completed the state’s 5-star certification process can be up to half. Summit County also warned about tightening regulations, but did not as of Friday afternoon.

The positive rates were also classified as Level Orange or Rebel Red in the five counties of Teller, Elbert, Lake, Clear Creek, and Custer.

Reginald Foster, a spokeswoman for Custer County, said the 8.6% positive rate reflects their small population and new cases are in the single digits. The county lifted all COVID-19 restrictions in early March, and Custer’s three county commissioners were positive shortly thereafter. According to the Wet Mountain Tribune..

“Our county is very small, and we have only a few tests,” Foster said.

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