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Bucking the national trend, cases of COVID-19 are rising in Colorado, while rates of vaccination are slowing. That same slowing vaccination rate is apparent in Chaffee County, causing Chaffee County Public health to issue a warning reminding the public that the pandemic is not over and that the way to get back to something approaching “normal” is through vaccination.

Currently, 50.2 percent of the county’s eligible adults have been fully vaccinated. The state’s goal is to have 75 percent of the eligible population fully vaccinated by July 1, to reach what is known as “herd immunity.” In Chaffee County, that translates to 13,079 adult residents.

Since vaccines began rolling out, 18,237 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered to Chaffee residents. 57.9 percent of Chaffee County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, meaning there are still a lot of second shots to complete, and a ways to go to reach that 75 percent goal.

Courtesy of the CDC.

Statewide, 601 new cases were reported on Wednesday, April 27th, with a seven-day moving average of 1,607. There were 116 new hospital admissions, and the state has a two-week incidence of 368.5 per 100,000, one of the highest in the country per the CDC. Colorado has 622 people currently hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 57 people hospitalized assumed to have COVID-19. The state’s seven-day positivity rate is 6.04 percent.

Chaffee County’s two-week positivity rate is up from last week, coming in at 2.09 percent. There have been 21 new cases in the past seven days and 36 in the past two weeks, bringing the county to 1,114 cases since the start of the pandemic last spring.

Nearly 60 percent of cases in the past month came from the south end of the county, and Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center reports it currently has three patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. More information can be found on CCPH’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) also reports that two of the main COVID-19 variants, B.1.1.7 (United Kingdom) and B.1.351 (South Africa), are on the rise in the county, with 20 cases of the UK variant and 14 cases of the South African variant documented so far.

More information can be found on CCPH’s COVID-19 Dashboard.

On the state level, 2,558,028 people have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 1,763,809 are fully immunized as of April 27. Though there are 1,362 vaccine providers in the state, vaccine rates have begun to decline. More information and statistics are available on the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Data Dashboard.

Though CCPH has concluded its first-dose mass vaccination clinics, CCPH still offers COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public by appointment. Those seeking first-dose vaccination appointments can contact CCPH at 719-539-4510 or to schedule their vaccination. 

  • Thursdays, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. utilizing Moderna vaccine, beginning April 29th, 18 years+
  • Fridays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., utilizing Pfizer vaccine, beginning April 30th, 16 years+ 

COVID vaccine recipients should ensure their availability for a second dose 28 days following the first dose for Moderna or 21 days following the first dose for Pfizer. CCPH also encourages people to coordinate small groups to receive vaccinations at the same time to help CCPH avoid vaccine waste, due to the number of doses within each vial. 

Courtesy of CCPH, CDC.

Moving Toward Normal and Choosing Safer Activities

In conjunction with yesterday’s announcement by the Centers for Disease Control that fully vaccinated people can now go outside for activities or be in small groups without facemasks, the chart on the left recaps the differences between what fully vaccinated people can now do, versus those who aren’t yet vaccinated. The differences are clearly marked as green (free to do) yellow or red (less able or not at all allowable.)

It does tend to be a visual reminder that the road to return to normal runs through the vaccination process.

All Coloradans, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should continue avoiding medium and large gatherings with people from different households and should continue wearing well-fitting masks and practicing physical distancing while in public and at work.

Vaccinations are usually administered at the CCPH offices within the Touber Building at 448 East First Street, Suite 137 in Salida. For COVID vaccinations for larger groups, there may be opportunities for CCPH to offer off-site mini-clinics. Please contact CCPH at 719-539-4510 for more information and options for mini-clinics.

A complete list of all COVID-19 Testing Options available in Chaffee County can be found online. To schedule a COVID-19 test with CCPH whether you are symptomatic or asymptomatic, call 719-539-4510. Testing will be conducted at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds, located at 10165 County Road 120, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on April 29 and  May 3, 4 and 6.