News bites – October 8, 2020
**** Public health officials are concerned that rising numbers of COVID-19 as well as an increase in hospitalizations in the state may mean trouble for the holiday season.
At a news conference Tuesday Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment head epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said, “The position that we’re going to be in going into those holidays really depends heavily on the level of disease transmission we experience here in the state over the next couple weeks.”
Herlihy explained that before both the surge of cases that came after the Fourth of July as well as Labor Day, cases had greatly decreased so the surge was not compounded by already high rates. This is the situation both the governor and Herlihy say they want to avoid during the winter holiday months.
Gov. Jared Polis followed the doctor’s remarks by reiterating the importance of avoiding large groups, wearings masks and social distancing to help prevent community spread of the virus and said by doing so, “We can set ourselves up for a successful holiday season.”
**** Berthoud has 83 confirmed cases of COVID-19, up four from the past week. Larimer County as of Oct. 7, has had 2,798 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases which represent 0.78% of the population, this is an increase of 231 cases with an additional 470 suspected cases. 54 deaths are attributed to the virus, up 1 from last week and representing 1.93% of reported cases. The risk score for Larimer County remains at a medium risk due to the number of days in the past two weeks that have had more than 15 news cases reported per day and the 14-day case rate per 100,000 residents being at 120. ICU utilization is at 84%. There are currently 17 patients hospitalized with the COVID-19 virus in the county. Hospital utilization is 63%. Of those individuals who have been tested for the virus in the county, 3.3% have returned positive.
Weld County has had 5,006 confirmed cases which is an increase of 231 from last week. The county has seen 98 deaths associated with the virus a number unchanged from last week. There have been no fatalities associated with the virus since Oct. 1. There are currently 55 individuals hospitalized in the county who have tested positive for the virus.
****Larimer County Public Health, in partnership with local hospitals, has increased COVID-19 testing capacity in the community.
If you’re experiencing symptoms, even if you think they might be related to the air quality, health officials encourage individuals to be tested.
Testing supplies have become more readily available and local providers have been able to provide testing options for their patients. Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should call their provider to discuss symptoms and determine whether a COVID-19 test needs to be ordered. Many providers locally can now order tests for their patients.
Larimer County Public Health provides no-cost drive-thru testing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays:
Tuesdays and Fridays: 9 a.m. – Noon
Colorado State University Parking lot #740, by the Tennis Complex
2350 Research Blvd., Fort Collins, CO 80526
Wednesdays: 9 a.m. – Noon
Larimer County Loveland Campus
200 Peridot Ave., Loveland, CO 80537
Anyone 18 and older, with or without symptoms, is eligible for no-cost testing with the health department for current infection with COVID-19. Antibody testing is not currently available. Walk-ins will be accepted but testing is prioritized for those who pre-register.
Health officials recommend minors only be tested if they are symptomatic or have been identified as a close contact of a known COVID-19 case. Parents and guardians must be able to safely control their minor child or health professionals may be unable to perform the test due to safety concerns.
For more information visit larimer.org/covid-19-testing or call 970-498-6767.
If you have a health care provider, call their office first. Most insurance plans cover the cost of COVID-19 testing
**** The Cameron Peak fire that has been burning west of Fort Collins since Aug. 13 has grown to 129,055 acres and is now considered 42% contained. Wednesday firefighters successfully burned out heavy fuels near the fireline in the Long Draw and around homes in the vicinity of Sleeping Elephant Mountain. They also focused on securing containment lines and spots outside of firelines after Monday’s Red Flag wind event. Due to the continued warm and dry weather, the fire remained very active yesterday and is anticipated to do so again today. This warm, dry weather, coupled with winds expected to have gusts of 25 to 30 miles per hour this evening, resulted in a Red Flag Warning being issued for this fire area only (not a general Red Flag for adjacent areas). Today, due to these conditions, firefighters will focus on holding and mopping up. The weather is projected to start trending slightly cooler with slightly high relative humidity over the next few days and into the weekend.
**** Beginning Oct. 13 timed entry permits are no longer required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park. To increase park access during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide the public a reasonable opportunity to comply with health guidelines the park temporarily implemented a timed entry system June 4. Many parks in the National Park system also require timed entry during the peak summer season. During the 2018 season, 4,590,493 people visited Rocky Mountain National Park.
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