Moffat County reports highest COVID-19 positivity rate yet Monday
Differences in testing, reporting variables impact positivity numbers, but last two spikes of this size were during major local waves
It’s been almost two years since the beginning of widespread COVID-19 cases in the county, and positivity rates in Moffat County are higher than they have ever been.
Monday, Moffat County marked its highest one-week average positivity rate from reported tests of the virus, meaning out of every COVID-19 test reported, more tests came back positive in a one-week span than at any point in the pandemic.
According to data from Moffat County Public Health and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, on Dec. 27, the one-week cumulative incidence rate was 90.3. On Jan. 3 — just one week later — the one-week cumulative incidence had skyrocketed up to 398.9. Cumulative incidence is calculated as the number of new events or cases of COVID-19 divided by the total number of individuals in the population at risk for a specific time interval.
The average positivity is almost 26%, meaning that over one in four tests have come back positive.
“It is important to remember that as the number of individuals testing positive increase in surrounding counties and as we see an increase in Moffat the monoclonal resource is available for our region,” Moffat County Public Health director Kari Ladrow said in a statement. “Our priority remains providing education to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. Testing is also available Friday, Saturday and Tuesdays at the parking lot from 12-6 pm for individuals seeking a test. We would like to emphasize the importance of overall health maintenance including mental, spiritual and physical health as we look forward to serving the community in 2022.”
The next highest positivity rate was seen in mid-September of 2021, followed by November of 2020, which were two of the higher spikes experienced by the community throughout the pandemic.
Because a different number of tests — positive and negative — are reported to CDPHE every week, this can affect positivity data, as well. Oftentimes, at-home rapid tests are not reported, which would influence data, and more people tend to test before holiday gatherings.
Because of the inclusion of 5 to 11 year olds in vaccine data, vaccination rates in the county have dipped — down to 42.9% for patients who are up-to-date for the COVID-19 vaccine. In late 2021, Moffat County residents had surpassed the 50% vaccinated checkpoint, but with the addition of children into eligibility totals, that number has dropped. Children in Moffat County remain scarcely vaccinated. Only about 5% of children in the county have received at least one dose.
Concerns around the Omicron variant have risen over the course of the holiday season, mainly because the variant is highly contagious despite seeming to more often carry less severe symptoms. According to reporting from the Denver Post, CDPHE reported 50,974 new coronavirus infections statewide in the week ending Sunday — 75% more than the week before — but it’s not completely overwhelming the state hospital system.
In just a week — from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19 — the proportion of positive tests that came back identified as the Omicron variant went from 27.5% to over 91%, according to data from Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Monday there were no admittances to Memorial Regional Hospital’s COVID unit, hospital CEO Jennifer Riley wrote to the Craig Press via email. However, in nearby Routt County, public health officials have warned that Omicron is causing the largest surge of COVID-19 cases so far in that county, and Routt County’s board of health was considering implementing an indoor mask mandate Tuesday after the county reported over 400 new cases in a week, but ended up choosing not to pursue it.
Across the Western Slope, mountain communities are facing a wave of positive cases. Summit, Pitkin and Eagle Counties are facing some of the highest transmission in the country, according to data from the CDC and the New York Times. In counties attended regularly by holiday travel and busy tourist seasons, these communities are at risk to see higher numbers as more positive cases rise. This trend isn’t special to Colorado communities; Monday, the United States reported over 1 million positive cases nationwide, breaking the worldwide record for positive cases in a single day.
“The Moffat County Public Health Department is focusing on opportunities to offer education related to vaccination and offering resources for those who have tested positive,” Ladrow’s statement also reads. “We have scheduled the CDPHE monoclonal antibody treatment bus to remain available by self-referral through January 15 and it is located at the Centennial Mall parking lot.”
CDPHE has sent vaccination resources, as well as a treatment bus for patients looking for monoclonal antibody treatments to Craig. In recent weeks, both have set up shop at 1111 W. Victory Way in front of Centennial Mall for patients. The COVID-19 vaccine and monoclonal antibody treatments have shown to reduce COVID-19 symptoms and keep patients out of the hospital. Though the vaccine is to be used as prevention against getting the virus, monoclonal antibody treatments are given to patients who already test positive.
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 12 to 15, and allowed them to get it five months after their second shot. People 16 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine were told to wait six months.
On Tuesday, the CDC authorized that adults who received Pfizer vaccines can now receive a booster dose after five months. The agency has not changed the recommended booster interval for people who got other vaccines.
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