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With the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant BA2.12.1, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) said today that the county is experiencing a mini-surge in positive cases.  While the increase in incidence has moved Chaffee County from a “low” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community-Level to a “medium” status, the majority of cases reported to local public health continue to have mild to moderate symptoms.

According to the CDC’s county-level dashboard that was recently updated on the evening on Thursday, May 26, the case rate per 100,000 in Chaffee County is 167.03 or about 33.41 based on a 20,000 person population.  Hospitalizations continue to be low, although Colorado is experiencing an increase in hospitalizations from COVID-19 across the state.

In a “medium” Community-Level, the public is strongly encouraged to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, get tested if you have symptoms, wear a mask if you have symptoms, a positive test, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Wear a mask on public transportation.

Members of the public may choose to wear a mask at any time as an additional precaution to protect themselves and others. If you are at high risk for severe illness, CCPH says you should consider wearing a mask indoors in public and taking additional precautions.

From “May” to “Should”

In addition, the CDC now strongly urges people 50 and older and those 12 and older who are moderate to severely immunocompromised to get a second booster of an mRNA vaccine, either Moderna or Pfizer.  They have recently changed their language from “may” to “should.”

If you are unsure about your eligibility, you can find more information in the following link: 

COVID 19-testing image courtesy of Evergreen Health

The definition of “up to date” for those 50 and older has changed to include the second booster dose.  People 50 and older who have not received a second booster dose are no longer considered up to date.

Boosters are now available for young people five years old to 11 years old, at five months after their primary series. Those people who are moderate to severely immunocompromised should receive their third doses three months after their initial series.

One of the keys to preventing our more vulnerable residents from severe outcomes during future surges – and as COVID-19 continues to evolve to acquire more immune escape – is to connect high-risk people with therapeutics before they get sick enough to need the hospital.

All antivirals are currently available at Chaffee County pharmacies, and as one can see from the CDC list of high-risk medical conditions, there are many people who qualify for consideration.  The CCPH points out that even though someone may qualify for antivirals doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for them – however, there is ample opportunity to receive these treatments in the county for those who are eligible.

Below are a few important links regarding therapeutics: