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If there was any doubt that the COVID-19 Delta variant is the dominant strain of the virus in Colorado, dismiss that thought. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) reports that 99 percent of the state’s cases are Delta. Since late June, 100 percent of cases here in Chaffee County are the Delta variant.

It is 1,000 times more transmissible than the original (in fact health experts say it spreads faster than chickenpox) and some studies say it is more virulent. It is definitely hitting younger people than earlier strains of the virus. Against this backdrop, a reminder to those who ignore general prevention practices: our nation’s children under age 12 cannot yet be vaccinated.

Major surges in states such as Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Florida, show what can happen in just a few weeks’ time; hospitals across these states are full, in some areas they have run out of pediatric intensive care unit beds, and they are calling in federal support. The nation is again seeing 100,000+ cases of COVID-19 a day.

Chaffee County is currently categorized as having reached a “Substantial Level of Community Transmission” through the CDC’s monitoring system, viewable at

Case Rates Growing in Chaffee County

Chaffee’s local dashboard provides real-time updates and the most current information available to Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) regarding COVID-19 in the county. The county has had 18 new COVID-19 cases in the past 7 days, more than 94 percent are symptomatic, and 54 percent of the cases are from the north end of the county. Some 10 percent of them have been hospitalized.

There have been 42 COVID-19 cases in Chaffee County in just the past 14 days. What is different this time, compared to the surges of last summer and this past winter, is the age of those testing positive; more than half the infections are in people ages 20 to 40, rather than those over 65.

The county’s positivity rate has gone over the 5.0 percent threshold said to keep the risk of infection in check. The county’s positivity rate now sits at 6.5 percent — a rate it has not been at in months. (A county positivity rate from 5.0 to 10.0 percent is deemed a county of significant risk of rising COVID infections.)

CCPH reports that since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the county has had 1,371 cases of COVID in residents. In a county of just over 20,000 people, that’s a 7.4 percent infection rate.

The central Colorado mountain counties, all popular summer tourist destinations, have seen cases rise since the Fourth of July, the vast majority of cases among the unvaccinated. This morning Eagle County reported that three more local people, all under the age of 60 have died from the variant.

The current Chaffee County Public Health Order was adopted Monday, August 9.
Public Health Order # 2020-08 – Amendment 24 includes the following updates:

  • Incorporates the key guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recommend individuals wear a mask or face covering when indoors in public places, regardless of vaccination status, while Chaffee County’s rate of transmission is deemed substantial or high level.
  • Addresses the prominence of the Delta variant as having increased transmission risk.
  • Recommends schools and childcare facilities follow CDC guidance for masking guidelines, including indoor masking for teachers, staff, students, and visitors.
  • Testing and quarantine instructions modified to instruct that if an individual has come into close contact with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, to test 3-5 days following possible exposure and to self-isolate for 14 days or until receiving a negative test result.
  • Retains the 5,000-person outdoor event capacity limit.
  • Extending Order through September 30, 2021.

Yesterday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women get vaccinated against COVID-19. Citing new safety data, the agency said the benefits of inoculation outweigh any known or potential risks.

The County has updated its own COVID precautions policy for staff and elected officials to mirror the updated local Public Health Order and has posted signs and is now requesting that all individuals wear face coverings within indoor public spaces in county facilities when others are present, regardless of their vaccination status.

Readers can Monitor information on Chaffee County’s COVID-19 response and data at:

The good news in all this, based on data as of midnight on August 10:

  • 22,232 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to Chaffee County residents. (Does include ages 12+).
  • 70 Percent of eligible Chaffee County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Does NOT include Department of Corrections, but does include ages 12+.)
  • 64.9 Percent of all eligible Chaffee County residents are fully immunized.

Population Group   One Dose Received       Fully Vaccinated

Ages 12+                           70%                                                 64.9%

Ages 18+                           72%                                                 67.2%

Ages 65+                          83.3%                                              78.9%

Fact: The best defense against any variant of COVID-19 remains vaccines; they can protect you from getting COVID in the first place, or from dying from the virus if you contract one of the exceedingly rare breakthrough cases. COVID-19 Testing Sites are available throughout Chaffee County and the vaccine is free.

For a complete list of all COVID-19 Testing Options available in Chaffee County, and for a recap of possible symptoms, follow this link: