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Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) reports 14 new COVID-19 cases in the past seven days and 43 new cases in the past two weeks. All 14 of the past week’s cases are resting at home, with 10 experiencing symptoms.

One new case was reported on March 3. The county’s two-week positivity rate was slightly up at 4.68 percent between February 15 and March 1. The county remains in the yellow level of the state’s dial dashboard.

The majority of cases came from the North end of the county this past month, with 60 cases reported in the Buena Vista and Nathrop areas and 58 in the Salida and Poncha Springs areas. Additionally, 76 of those diagnosed with COVID-19 over the past month have been released from isolation, and only three cases resulted in hospitalization. More than 66 percent of the past month’s cases came from person-to-person spread, and more than 82 percent were symptomatic.

Chaffee County numbers as of March 3rd, 2021. Courtesy of CCPH.

These numbers reflect the county’s trends since the start of the pandemic, with 67 percent of total cases due to person-to-person spread and 85 percent of cases showing symptoms. Additionally, individuals ages 31-40 make up more than 18 percent of the county’s cases since last March, with nearly 17 percent coming from those aged 19-30 and nearly 16 percent coming from those aged 18 and under. Since the start of the pandemic last year, only 9.5 percent of cases have come from those aged 70 and older, not including Columbine residents.

Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) currently has four tests pending and has no patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of March 2nd. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the hospital has seen 277 positive test results, including 28 among staff.

Colorado’s COVID-19 Data Dashboard shows more than 651 cases reported on March 1st, with 355 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 40 assumed COVID-19 cases currently hospitalized. The state currently has a seven-day moving average positivity rate of 3.36 percent. More than 13,000 tests were reported as performed on March 1st. Additionally, 930,911 people have been vaccinated with one dose and 495,961 with two doses statewide.

Testing and vaccinations are continuing in the county. Upcoming CCPH testing clinics will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on March 8, 9, and 11.

To schedule a COVID-19 test with CCPH and if you are experiencing symptoms, make an appointment online and enter your contact information. If you are asymptomatic and would like to schedule a test, call 719-539-4510. Other testing options throughout the county can be found online.

CCPH recommends that people who have symptoms get tested at the first available opportunity and remain in quarantine until they receive their test result. Additionally, for those who had close contact with an infected person but are asymptomatic, CCPH recommends getting tested six to seven days after the exposure. Close contacts are defined as anyone who was within six feet of the positive person for 15 minutes or more over the course of 24 hours, beginning 48 hours before symptoms began or before the positive test result.

If no symptoms appear after exposure and the test that is taken a week later comes back negative, the quarantine is considered complete. Quarantines do not end before Day 7. Test results can take up to four days. 

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine do not need to quarantine after exposure once two weeks have passed after their second dose. Fully immunized close contacts should still monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms during the two weeks after exposure. If symptoms develop, isolate and seek testing. 

Those who test positive should read the isolation letter and send close contacts the quarantine letter. A contact tracer will reach out within a few days. Quarantine guidelines are available on the state’s COVID-19 website:

Vaccines continue in Chaffee County. Courtesy of CCPH.

As vaccines continue to roll out statewide, Phases 1A, 1B.1, and 1B.2 are currently eligible for vaccination. 9,933 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, both Pfizer and Moderna, have been administered to Chaffee County residents as of March 1st. Phase 1B.3, which includes frontline essential agricultural and grocery store workers and people age 16-59 with two or more high-risk conditions, will open Friday, March 5th.

Phase 1B.4, including those age 50 and older, frontline essential workers, people with high-risk conditions, and those needed for the continuation of operations for state government and continuity of local government, are expected to be eligible starting March 21. 

Current community vaccination clinics, open only to authorized groups, will continue. 

Please bring the completed vaccination consent form to both the first and second dose appointments. Hard copies of the form are available at Buena Vista and Salida libraries. In order to receive a vaccine, you must have an appointment.

Masks are still required after vaccination. Courtesy of CCPH.

The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) single-dose vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on February 27th through Emergency Use Authorization. The J&J Janssen vaccine is expected to arrive in Colorado at the end of this week, and Chaffee Public Health will announce when it is received and put into use in the county. The FDA has shared preliminary analysis that the J&J vaccine is safe and 66%-85% effective in preventing COVID-19 infection.

The Vaccine Call Center is open 24 hours /day, 7 days/week. The toll-free number is 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926). Vaccine call center staff are available to answer COVID-19 vaccine-related questions, provide info about vaccine providers across the state, and give general information about COVID-19.