Moffat County’s COVID numbers trending up as Delta affects more and more younger residents |

Moffat County’s COVID numbers trending up as Delta affects more and more younger residents

The Memorial Hospital at Craig.
Cuyler Meade / Craig Press

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is now making more young Moffat County residents sick than it is older residents, according to data released Wednesday by Memorial Regional Health, and it is causing more severe illness than the original strain did.

The variant, which is now essentially 100% of the active spread of the virus, has three patients admitted at MRH as of Wednesday morning, and caused two previous patients to be transferred to higher levels of care, a release said. One of those two transferred patients is younger than 19 years old.

MRH tested 185 individuals last week, and 61 — nearly 33% — came back positive for the virus. Both of those totals are the highest they’ve been in months, though the highly variable positivity number is slightly lower than it was in mid-July, when 36 of 96 tested came back positive.

Most positive cases were in young people.

“The educated guess is that the data from last week, seeing that over 50% of the positive cases were kids 19 and under, predominantly school age, my assertion would be yes, they’re in school, interacting closely with each other, and I think that’s created an environment for rapid spread,” said Jennifer Riley, COO and spokesperson for MRH. “You’ve seen what the school district has said about positivity and quarantine numbers. They’ve done some mask mandates with adult staff, but being in school and in sports is definitely impacting the spread among kids, which is consistent with the Delta variant across the country — kids are a higher percentage of positivity.”

Thirty-two of the 61 total positive cases last week were in youth younger than 19.

The release from MRH also noted that Delta’s other particular characteristic, aside from affecting younger people, was the speed of its spread.

“Although breakthrough infections (infections in vaccinated individuals) happen much less often than infections in unvaccinated people, individuals infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit it to others,” the release read. “CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit. However, the greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to contract, and therefore transmit the virus (Centers for Disease Control, August 6, 2021).”

According to Moffat County’s website, 41.3% of eligible residents have been vaccinated.

MRH and others offer the vaccine for free regardless of insurance. To schedule a vaccine appointment at MRH, call 970-826-2400. Those who are already vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines but who have particular immunity concerns are invited to receive a third dose, scheduled by calling the same number.

Thirty people have died from COVID-19 in the county, the release said. Two additional people died with the virus, but the cause of death was determined not to be the virus.

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