Moffat County health department reminds of COVID-19 risk contributors and the importance of seeking care early |

Moffat County health department reminds of COVID-19 risk contributors and the importance of seeking care early

Moffat County Public Health Nurse Olivia Scheele (right) administers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccination at Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab in late December 2020.

COVID-19 isn’t going away in Moffat County, and the county’s health department is trying to slow the toll it’s been taking on lives in the region.

Citing the Centers for Disease Control, a release from the health department lists again the comorbidities and conditions that increase risk of severe illness or death from contracting the disease.

It also gently recommends Moffat County residents get the vaccine.

“Many comorbidities and conditions make it more likely that a person who contracts COVID-19 will have severe symptoms, require hospitalization or die,” the release reads. “It is particularly important for those with any of these risk factors to take precautions to avoid contracting the virus as well as consider vaccination.”

Following are the listed risk factors for the virus.

  • Older age
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure or other vascular diseases, including stroke and heart disease
  • Lung disease and smoking history currently or formerly
  • Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Dementia
  • Altered immune system conditions, including HIV
  • Substance use disorder

The release notes that, “Of course having two or more on the list markedly elevates the seriousness.”

The department also noted in the release that the newly prevalent Delta variant of the virus is impacting younger folks than the earlier iteration of COVID-19 that predominated the spread last year.

“We are seeing an increase in severe illness in younger people with the Delta variant and people waiting too long to seek care, which has resulted in death,” the release reads. “If you are not feeling well or have tested positive for the virus, please consult with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider with any questions or concerns early on.”

The release comments that vaccination is a personal choice but notes the health department will continue to support those who want to be vaccinated.

Local, state, national and international doctors’ consensus is that all three vaccines available in the U.S. are largely safe and broadly effective against the spread of the virus, including the Delta variant. Of the recent COVID-19 deaths in Moffat County, none of the deceased individuals were vaccinated.

“COVID-19 disease can be very sneaky,” the release reads. “The disease can gradually come on, not unlike a cold, allergies or mild flu. In other cases, it comes on very quickly without a doubt that you are sick, sick, sick.”

The release, which comes after the recent death of a 24-year-old individual in the county who died from the virus at home and without medical care, reminds residents that some people are waiting too long to seek care.

“Reports that have come in locally indicate many people wait at home too long, thus failing to get help when the disorder is treatable and hospitalization is preventable,” the release reads. “Remember that in summer the flu and the common cold are at a low prevalence.”

Fever, shortness of breath, generalized aches including headache are all symptoms that need to be taken seriously, the release states.

“A few days later in the disease may come loss of smell and or taste, symptoms that are most likely due to COVID-19,” the release continues. “If you are experiencing severe or uncontrollable nausea or vomiting that is also a warning sign to seek care. Of deep concern are the elderly and those with the aforementioned comorbidities. The Delta variant is presenting in younger populations, making it of particular importance to monitor closely for symptoms.”

The release emphasized that symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain should prompt a call to a healthcare provider or even a trip to the emergency room.

“Medical staff on the phone can give you trusted advice,” it reads. “And if there is a high level of concern, they will ask you to come in for examination and testing. Do not wait until you are not ambulatory, in which case an ambulance trip will be required. Call or get to your health care facility if you’re in doubt. Remember, seeking care early can save you or your loved one’s life.”


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