News Bites 7-9-20

By Amber McIver-Traywick

The Surveyor

****Berthoud remains at 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no new reported cases in the past week. Larimer County as of July 7, has had 794 confirmed COVID-19 cases, an increase of 64, and 284 suspected cases, an increase of 20 from last week. 30 deaths are now attributed to the virus, an increase of 1 from last week. These numbers mean that one in 441 residents of Larimer County have now tested positive or are suspected of having the COVID-19 virus. 3.5% of individuals tested in the county have been positive. The risk score, which takes into account data elements in real-time, including hospital capacity and new cases, puts Larimer County at medium risk. Hospital utilization for the county decreased from last week to 55% and ICU capacity decreased to 60%. There are currently only 11 patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus in the county. In the past 24 hours 12 news cases have been confirmed which increases the risk to the county from low to medium. Larimer County ranks 39 among the 53 counties that have reported cases of the virus. Eleven counties have had no confirmed cases.   

According to the Larimer County Health Department residents have done a great job flattening the curve, but considers the increase in infections, “…a concerning trend.” Residents need to continue to be diligent. Ages of reported cases have continued to drop, and the median age of cases is now between 20 and 30 years old. While this age demographic doesn’t tend to get very sick from COVID-19, these cases continue to create community spread in our county.  

In a press release, LCHD says that face coverings, social distancing, handwashing and frequent cleaning all help slow the spread of the virus in the community. These requirements must continue in order to allow Larimer County to move forward with reopening. “We all need to stay diligent with these behavior modifications to help protect high-risk residents and slow the spread of COVID-19 in Larimer County,” says Tom Gonzales, Public Health Director for Larimer County. “Everyone needs to do their part so that we can keep our community open.”

Local Public Health agencies will have the opportunity to move forward into the next statewide phase of reopening, called Protect-Our-Neighbors. Counties must qualify for Protect-Our-Neighbors status which requires that counties meet certain baseline metrics for COVID-19 cases. This increase of cases could mean Larimer County might not qualify to move to the next phase of reopening.  

****COVID-19 cases have increased over the past two weeks across the state. The three-day moving average of reported cases has increased to 229 as of July 6 from the states lowest reported average from June 15 of 127 cases. The number of reported COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized increased from 5,675 last week to 5,741 as of Monday July 6. State and local public health officials attributed the increase to communities and the economy reopening with less social distancing. There continues to be a growing number of cases among young people, with case clusters reported following social gatherings, protests and travel.

****The economic fallout in the U.S. from the global pandemic got a bit of good news recently. June’s 4.8 million job addition was the largest one-month job gain in U.S. history, shattering last month’s record. The past two months, 7.5 million jobs have been added.

The June jobs report smashed a whole host of other records too including the largest one-month women’s job gain in history (+2.8 million); The largest one-month decline in unemployed workers (-3.2 million); The largest one-month drop in the unemployment rate (-2.2%).

Also, 356,000 manufacturing jobs and 158,000 construction jobs were added in June. 404,000 jobs were added for black Americans in June and 1.47 million jobs were added for Hispanic Americans.

ISM Manufacturing Index measures manufacturing activity based on a monthly survey. The ISM index jumped 11.7 points to 57.1 in June, according to a report released Monday, July 6. It’s the largest ever single-month jump for the index and pushes it to a four-month high following two months of contractions. It also exceeded the median economist estimate of a rise to 50.2. 

Due to incredibly low mortgage rates in the U.S. which fell to another all-time low last week, 3.26%, the housing market is also seeing improvements. The National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales rose by a record 44.3% in May following its historic April decline, as buyers returned to the market drawn in by the low mortgage rates and improving the job market.

Temperatures will remain in the upper 90s and could exceed 100 degrees in Berthoud over the next two weeks. Despite the soaring temperature health officials still recommend individuals over the age of 2 and anyone who does not have any difficulty breathing wear a face-covering while in public to prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The CDC however says people should not wear cloth face coverings while engaged in activities many undertake to stay cool that may cause a cloth face covering to become wet, like swimming at the beach or pool. A wet cloth face covering may make it difficult to breathe. For activities like swimming, health officials warn it is particularly important to maintain physical distance from others when in the water.

To avoid overheating or heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion or heat stroke, it’s recommended to stay inside in an airconditioned space as much as possible. Schedule outdoor activities in the morning and evening hours to avoid the hottest part of the day. If any exertion in the heat makes your heart pound or leaves you gasping for breath stop all activity. Get into a cool area or shade and rest especially if you become lightheaded, confused, weak, or faint. Drink more fluids regardless of how active you are.

The CDC says that individuals who work outdoors may prioritize the use of cloth face coverings when in close contact with other people, like during group travel or shift meetings, and remove face coverings when social distancing is possible.

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