Lake County has joined the surge in COVID-19 cases across the state and U.S. – and the planet, for that matter. With 16 new COVID-19 cases between April 2 and 10, the county’s positive tests total 725 since the pandemic began.
That means the two-week positivity rate increased to 14.6 percent, representing 23 positives out of 213 tests. Lake County’s data compare to the state’s seven-day positivity rate, which, despite vaccines now being rolled out to anyone age 16 and older, has climbed to 11.47 percent. This isn’t where Colorado wants to be, said Lake County Public Health Officer Lisa Zwerdlinger, M.D., in her COVID-19 update for the week of April 4.
“Unfortunately, Colorado has taken a bit of an uptick,” said Zwerdlinger, adding that rates are lower than over the winter holidays, but are now higher than any other point. Hospitalizations are following the trend, but deaths have hit a plateau – primarily due to the highest-risk age group receiving vaccines, she noted.
The good news in Lake County’s case is the surge occurred in an isolated group of people. “The infections were very, very well contained and no one else in our community was exposed,” she said.
The other good news is the majority of Coloradans age 65 and older have been vaccinated, and Lake County is 38 percent of the way in its goal of 12,000 shots. As of the update, 4,574 people have been vaccinated in Lake County.
“We’re definitely getting there,” she said.
The not-so-good news? “The interest in getting a vaccine is not as vigorous as it was a couple weeks ago,” she said, encouraging people to talk to their friends and family about getting shots sooner than later. She said that anyone who comes into her office for just about any reason is asked about getting vaccinated.
Discussion among the update’s Zoom audience turned to younger people and COVID-19, and the possibility of them hastening herd immunity by getting infected. The “getting-it-over-with” rationale was that young people are perceived to weather the symptoms better than their older counterparts.
“You can tell that to my 17-year-old hospitalized patient who has COVID right now in my hospital,” Zwerdlinger said. She added that while some people think of COVID exposure among young people as tantamount to the chickenpox parties of days gone by, “there are people who are young who are still very susceptible to complications with COVID.”
Lake County continues to use the Moderna and Pfizer two-dose vaccines, with the latter available in limited amounts at the Leadville Safeway. The Pfizer product has been deemed safe for people 16 and older.
Zwerdlinger said that the Johnson & Johnson 1-dose vaccine has seen availability in Chaffee County largely because of its correctional complex and the product’s use in incarcerated and homeless populations. If there is unused vaccine, it becomes available to the public.
To get a vaccine:
Lake County Public Health vaccine clinics at Leadville’s Colorado Mountain College for those 18 and older:
Noon to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 28: https://tinyurl.com/CMC-APRIL28
Noon to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 5: https://tinyurl.com/CMC-May5
Safeway in Leadville: safeway.com/covidclinic
St. Vincent Health: 719-486-0230
Rocky Mountain Family Practice: 719-486-0500
Chaffee County: https://chaffeecounty.rsvpify.com/
Eagle County: https://tinyurl.com/yh9mk8kk
Summit County: www.comassvax.org