Leadville and Lake County continue to see COVID-19 cases each week, although officials are optimistic about bringing back events (particularly outdoor ones) for the summer.
In a recent online town hall, Colleen Nielsen, Director of Lake County Public Health Agency, joined with several other county officials in providing the current outlook on COVID-19. After the state stopped using the color-coded dial in applying restrictions, Lake County is now allowing 100 percent capacity in most businesses. But the caveat is they still must adhere to distancing practices as well as masking for people age three and older.
The public health order allows for indoor events – with distance and masking – with a maximum of 500 people. “But we really don’t have any venues that suit that, as opposed to some of the larger metro areas,” said Nielsen.
Outdoor events appear to be the potential bright spot this summer, whereas they mostly disappeared a year ago during the height of the pandemic. Nielsen said they would be examined on a case-by-case basis regarding capacity, and that the county will continue to examine the current health order through the end of May and compare it with vaccination rates, case numbers, and hospitalizations.
She reminded the group that the way out of the pandemic is a combination of vaccinations, continued distancing, and masking in public – even for those who have been fully vaccinated – as well as testing. Right now vaccine clinics and events throughout the state are free and open to all people age 18 and older (16 and older with the Pfizer vaccine). “You just need to sign up,” she said, adding that identification is not required.
As well, vaccines are available in neighboring counties, making it easier for those who work out of town. As of late April, 32 percent of Lake County had been fully vaccinated.
The town hall included some commonly asked questions about vaccine safety. “These vaccines have gone through the same measures as any other vaccine that we currently use,” she said. Regarding messenger RNA, which is employed in the Pfizer and Moderna products, she said, “It does not mess with your body, it does not change your DNA… It’s just new technology.”
While there is skepticism about the fast rollout of the vaccines, she said there was a lot of initial competition early on among vaccine developers, but due to the vigorous process involved, most of the companies dropped out, leaving safe products that work at a rate of 94.6 percent.
“Those are pretty good odds,” she said.
She reminded the group, though, that “COVID-19 is still here. It is not going to just disappear.” That is evident in the continuing cases in Lake County, which is currently monitoring 7 active cases, bringing the total to 786 since the pandemic began over a year ago.
Lake County Public Health Agency is holding a vaccine event on Wednesday, May 5 at Colorado Mountain College for those 18 and older. To register, click here.
Providers in Leadville:
- Safeway safeway.com/covidclinic carries the Pfizer vaccine for people age 16 and up
- Rocky Mountain Family Practice: 719-486-0500 for people age 18 and up
- St. Vincent Health: 719-486-0230 for people age 18 and up
- Summit County: comassvax.org
- Eagle County: https://sites.google.com/eaglecounty.us/covid/vaccine-appointments?authuser=0
- Chaffee County: https://chaffeecounty.rsvpify.com
For updates, follow Lake County’s COVID-19 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/COVID19LakeCountyCO/