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The fact that cases of COVID-19 in Chaffee County are the highest they have ever been during the course of this pandemic is not welcome news as we move into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But that cases are rising is the plain truth.

A look at the Chaffee County COVID Dashboard shows that:

  • Nine cases so far today.
  • 76 cases in the past seven days.
  • 192 cases in the past 14 days.A positivity rate that continues to inch higher, now at 7.59 percent
  • The highest number of cases in a single month since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
  • More than one in every four cases (27.5 percent) of the cases are in kids under 18.
  • The number of those with COVID who are hospitalized has doubled this week to six.
  • Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center is at 72 percent capacity at the moment.
  • There have been 25 visits to the HRRMC Emergency Room for COVID in the past 14 days.
  • 84 percent of new cases are in unvaccinated people.
  • More than ten percent of the county’s population — 2,309 residents of the county have had or have COVID.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will not be a Testing Clinic this Thursday, Nov. 25, with Chaffee County Public Health. However, Chaffee County EMS is hosting a special Testing Clinic on Sunday, November 28, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m. at the EMS (10364 County Road 120 in Salida); please register in advance at:

While several Colorado counties have reinstated facemask mandates for indoor and public settings (Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, and Denver) in an attempt to slow this concerning fourth wave of the virus, Chaffee County has not yet done so. It has however required facemasks in indoor county facilities and strongly encourages wearing facemasks in public and indoor settings, including retail stores.

Chaffee County Public Health Director Andrea Carlstrom has repeatedly made the point that “the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination. At this point, you’re either vaccinated, or you’re going to get COVID.”

The concern by Public Health is that the travel and gathering of family and friends over this holiday weekend will further spread the virus, especially if those gatherings include unvaccinated people. If not everyone in your gathering  has had their COVID booster shot, try to do as much of the gathering outside in the fresh air as possible, and wear face masks when indoors.