COVID cases rising in Larimer – hospitalizations remain low
Health officials in Larimer County hosted a virtual meeting on Friday to update the community on recent developments in the county pertaining to Covid-19. The county has recently moved into the medium-risk category due to an increased number of confirmed cases.
As of Tuesday, Larimer County is at 254.8 new cases per 100,000 residents, with 2 Covid-19 positive hospital admissions. The 7-day test positivity rate, which is another indicator for community spread rose to 11.1% this week. The lowest number of reported cases per 100,000 residents was recorded back in March when the number dipped to 53.2.
During the meeting Friday the population epidemiologist for Larimer County, Jared Olson said that an estimated one out of every 108-150 Colorado residents are currently infectious, and stated, “You should know it’s time to increase your precautions a little bit.” Olson also commented that the current estimates are somewhat “unstable” as the testing landscape has changed with the potential of individuals testing positive at home and not reporting the information to health officials has increased.
Health officials have been using modeling estimates along with wastewater testing in the county which is showing viral loads similar to the increased rates found during the Delta wave of the pandemic.
Health officials said that wider availability of treatments for COVID-19, like paxlovid, remdesivir, and other drugs that can reduce the threat of severe infection if administered immediately after the onset of symptoms, means that the risk is lower even if people do test positive for the virus, but only if they act quickly after they begin to exhibit symptoms.
Larimer County Medical Director Dr. Paul Mayer noted during the meeting that residents do not need a positive PCR test to receive Covid-19 treatments like paxlovid which can reduce the risk of hospitalizations by nearly 90 percent. Mayer said if you have a positive at-home test with classic symptoms contact your primary care physician to arrange the therapeutic treatments. Mayer also mentioned those at an increased risk for severe Covid-19, estimated to be around 75% of the population, including obesity, being over the age of 65, being physically inactive, and even those who have ADHD and depression are included in this category.
Mayer commented on the importance of vaccination, “There is a great deal of protection having your four shots,” but that the protection isn’t complete, “The shots are not perfect, people can still get quite sick so that’s why we really want to talk about these therapeutics.”
Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales said that everyone in the county should have a plan in place which includes keeping test kits on hand, talking with their primary care providers and being ready to seek treatment as soon as symptoms appear is of utmost importance to prevent severe illness and hospitalizations.
The health officials confirmed that the virus is changing with the combination of vaccinations and previous infections resulting in less severe and looks much different than the deadly delta wave.
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