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Chaffee County has had 16 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, with 10 in the past week and one new case on Wednesday, March 24. The county’s two-week positivity rate is 1.06 percent and has seen 1,034 cases since the start of the pandemic last spring.

Of the past month’s cases, none have needed hospitalization. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of those who tested positive are men and 60.5 percent came from the North end of the county, including Buena Vista and Nathrop. More than 78 percent of those who tested positive were symptomatic and 43.5 percent have been released from isolation. Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) reports two patients currently hospitalized for COVID-19 as of March 23, with five pending tests.

Statewide, 925 new cases were reported on March 24th, with a seven-day moving average of 1,041 cases reported daily. There were 46 new hospital admissions for COVID-19, and 30 percent of the state’s adult critical care ventilators are currently in use. The state’s seven-day moving positivity rate is at 4.07 percent.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) also released a new COVID-19 dial, Dial 3.0, in its ninth amended public health order. Chaffee County remains in the Blue Level on the new dial, which went into effect on Wednesday, March 24.

In Dial 3.0, the Blue Level allows increased capacity as follows:

  • Restaurants may host 100 percent of the posted occupancy limit indoors for in-person dining with a group limit of 10 and a minimum of six feet of space. The last call for alcohol beverage sales is 2:00 A.M. MDT.
  • Bars may host 25 percent of capacity or up to 75 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Outdoor events may operate in full and in keeping with local restrictions.
  • Indoor personal gatherings should follow CDC guidelines on gatherings, and large gatherings are still discouraged.
  • Retail, offices, and noncritical manufacturing may open to 75 percent of capacity.
  • Recreation, including gyms, recreation centers, pools, and outdoor recreation facilities may operate at 100 percent capacity with six feet of distance between non-household members.
  • Outdoor guided activities may operate in full and are subject to local restrictions.

CDPHE also launched a new Spanish-language COVID-19 website, which parallels the current site published in English. Community members should share the site with individuals and groups who could benefit from Spanish-language COVID-19 information and updates.

Vaccines in the county are continuing at a steady pace. As of March 22nd, 13,225 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Chaffee County residents, and 2,279,474 cumulative doses have been administered statewide as of March 23.

Coloradoans with questions about the COVID-19 vaccine should call the Vaccine Call Center, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The toll-free number is 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926). Call center staff can help with COVID-19 vaccine-related questions, provide info about vaccine providers across the state, and give general information about COVID-19.

Courtesy of CCPH.

Chaffee County is following the state-directed vaccination distribution and prioritization plan, which rolls out the vaccine by groups and is based on available vaccine inventory.

See the CDPHE State Vaccination Plan for Phase Details. Current eligible phases for the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Phase 1A – Highest-risk healthcare workers and individuals
  • Phase 1B.1 – Ages 70+, moderate-risk healthcare workers, and first responders
  • Phase 1B.2 – Ages 65-69; PK-12 educators and licensed childcare workers
  • Phase 1B.3 – People age 60 and older, frontline essential agricultural and grocery store workers, and people age 16-59 with two or more high-risk conditions
  • Phase 1B.4 – People age 50 and older, frontline essential workers, people with high-risk conditions, and those providing the continuation of operations for state government and continuity of local government

Phase 2, which opens the vaccines to the general public, is expected to begin in mid-April. All of the vaccine options in use across Chaffee County are FDA-approved and have been shown to be safe and effective. Upcoming clinics with Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) for eligible groups are as follows:

Those seeking a vaccination should bring a completed vaccination consent form to both appointments. Hard copies of the form are available at Buena Vista and Salida libraries. When vaccinating with CCPH, scheduling for the second dose will be available the day after the first dose. Use the same electronic scheduler to schedule the second dose as you did for the first appointment.

Once you are vaccinated, please continue following CDC guidelines and CDPHE’s recommendations. All Coloradoans vaccinated or unvaccinated, should continue avoiding medium and large gatherings with people from different households, wear well-fitting masks, and practice physical distancing while in public and at work.

To schedule a COVID-19 test with CCPH, use the online scheduler. Testing is conducted at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds at 10165 CR 120 in Salida. This week’s testing clinics will be held on March 25, 29, 30, and April 1 from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Additionally, CDPHE has expanded at-home COVID testing to restaurant and foodservice workers statewide using Binax-Now tests. Foodservice employees can enroll in the program by filling out a Google Form to verify their employer and email address. Once approved, they will receive an email from CDPHE detailing how to order their free testing kit directly to their homes. More information from the state is available here. Testing kits are free-of-charge to the user.

A complete list of all COVID-19 Testing Options available in Chaffee County is available online.