News Bites – March 11, 2021
*Larimer County COVID-19 data
- Total Cases: 20,878 (+1,566 from last week)
- Total Cases in Berthoud: 864 (+58 from last week)
- Deaths: 229 (+5 from last week)
- New positive cases in 24 hours: 77
- 14-Day Case Rate per 100k: 262
- Hospital Utilization: 68%
- ICU Utilization: 75%
- 14-Day test positivity rate: 4.1
- Risk Score: Medium
COVID patients in hospital: 22
- 5.75% of the population of Larimer County has been reported to have contracted the virus. Deaths attributed to the virus comprise 1.10% of reported cases. Of reported deaths 26% were age 75 to 84 and 50% were 85 and older.
*Case numbers as of March 10, 2021.
Colorado’s mask mandate was extended for another 30 days by Gov. Jared Polis Friday last week. The executive order requires people to wear a medical or non-medical face covering in any indoor public spaces.
Earlier in the week the governor said he hoped the majority of Coloradans may not have to wear masks by summer.
The extension will continue for 30 days from the order being made. The first mask mandate went into place July 2020 and has been extended every 30 days since.
At a news conference Tuesday Governor Jared Polis gave updates on the vaccine distribution across the state and was joined by Dr. Rachel Herlihy the state’s head epidemiologist who discussed the new variants of COVID-19 being detected in the state.
Polis announced that the state would be receiving 7000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which only requires one dose to be considered effective two weeks after the vaccine is administered. It was also announced the state would receive 10,000 Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as well. Polis reiterated that all three covid-19 vaccines are “very close to 100% effective in preventing any COVID-19 deaths” but not 100% for preventing infections. He continued by saying that the vaccines are 70-95% effective at preventing infection.
The governor announced that teachers and educators who became eligible to receive the vaccine Feb. 8 exceeded the state’s goal of having 75% vaccinated and currently 90% have received their first dose. Polis stated he was excited to see these numbers and said, ”It’s no surprise that well educated teachers and others have a higher uptake rate about 90% ….I’m proud the teachers are leading the way.”
Around 11% of the population in Colorado has currently been vaccinated.
Dr. Herlihy confirmed the state had found three cases of the B.1.351 variant, which was first found in South Africa last October. The variant has now been confirmed by at least 20 other states. The cases were an inmate and two employees at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex.
Dr. Herlihy also said the Brazilian variant and one being detected in the northeastern U.S. have not yet been detected in Colorado. She also explained that random genetic sequencing of around 5% of specimens are being tested by the state to identify the variants.
Colorado has confirmed 265 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, a version of the novel coronavirus that spreads more easily and appears to be more deadly. Colorado was the first state to find that variant, which overwhelmed hospitals in the United Kingdom last fall. There are additionally 161 variant investigations of concern.
The B.1.1.7 variant accounts for between 3% and 6% of the COVID-19 samples the state is currently sequencing, indicating it’s not spreading as quickly as it did in the U.K., Herlihy said. She continued by saying in addition to spreading more easily and more quickly variant B 1351 is a concern because data has shown that the variant, “… may more easily evade the immune response that our bodies build through prior infection and vaccination.” She explained that the genetic mutations in the variant change and the immune system does not recognize it. Herlihy said this could also mean those who have previously been infected with another variant of the COVID1-9 virus may be more likely to contract the mutation.
Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of recommendations on activities that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely resume.
The new guidance—which is based on the latest science — includes recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit with other people who are fully vaccinated and with other people who are not vaccinated. This guidance represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities in our communities. CDC will update these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change, and additional scientific evidence becomes available.
“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities.”
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart.
- Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
- Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. Although vaccinations are accelerating, CDC estimates that just 9.2% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine that the FDA has authorized for emergency use.
The National Weather Service is predicting a significant storm system will bring widespread snowfall to northeast Colorado Friday night through the weekend. Snowfall amounts across the urban corridor and foothills, including Berthoud, could be between 1 to 3 feet with potentially higher amounts in the northern foothills. Travel across the urban corridor and foothills may become nearly impossible Saturday evening through much of Sunday. The snow will wind down late Sunday night and into Monday as the system exits.
Berthoud will see 1-3 inches of snow Thursday evening. The heaviest snow is expected to start falling in Berthoud around 7 p.m. Friday. For updated information and forecasts visit forecast.weather.gov.
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