Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

Delta variant of COVID-19 increases in Larimer County

By: Amber McIver-Traywick | The Surveyor | August 05, 2021 | Health & Fitness

The Larimer County Department of Health & Environment provided an update for the community on the COVID-19 response in Larimer County last Thursday via Zoom and Facebook Live. Topics included the Delta variant, vaccination uptake and trends, and what challenges the community might face as the fall season comes around.

Jared Olson, a population epidemiologist for the country stated that the Delta variant currently accounts for 90 to 95% of all cases in Larimer County. He said the new variant is much more infectious than previously dominant variants. With earlier variants, a person with COVID-19 infected an average of three other people. With the delta variant it is six people, he said.

“We can also say we are not seeing hospital resources stressed but are seeing an increase in our key metrics,” Olson said. As of Tuesday morning, there were 25 patients hospitalized in the county that have tested positive for COVID-19 well below the peak in April of 46 patients. Olson also commented that there have been 5 children hospitalized state-wide and no deaths with the virus.

Speaking in conjunction with Public Health Director Tom Gonzales the two shared their concerns about the increasing number of cases but Gonzales made it clear the county, as of last week had no intention of reinstating mask mandates for individuals who are fully vaccinated or other measures seen in the past year. “Right now we are not making any changes to our current recommendations – unvaccinated people should wear a mask in public,” but continued by saying the county would continue to monitor the situation and remain receptive to guidance provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as the CDC.

Both Olson and Gonzales stressed the importance of vaccinations to help prevent serious complications from the virus. “The best defense is the vaccination…we need to protect those who aren’t able to get vaccinated for medical reasons and those 11 and younger,” Gonzales said.

When asked about breakthrough cases, individuals who have been vaccinated and still become infected with the virus, Gonzales stated that the viral load with the Delta variant is higher than previous variants which negatively affects vaccines and causes more breakthrough but again reiterated that symptoms will likely be minor and not involve hospitalization for those people. He also commented on the fact that earlier in the pandemic an approved treatment was not available to healthcare providers but recently a preventative antibody injection for people at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 after exposure has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Discussing schools Gonzales said he was highly in favor of returning to in-person learning and encouraged vaccinations for students 12 and up, “We want to have safe in-person learning and we are working very closely with our school districts, charters and private schools for protective measures.” He continued by saying through conversations with local school officials all pathways are being considered for the health and safety of staff and students. As far as any additional safety measures like mask-mandates Gonzales stated he is waiting for guidance from the state health department.






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