Chaffee County Moves to “High” CDC COVID-19 Status – by Ark Valley Voice Staff – The Ark Valley Voice

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With the rise of the COVID-19 Omicron variant BA2.12.1, Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) reports that Chaffee County continues to be experiencing a steady pattern of incidence.  While the increase in incidence has moved Chaffee County from a “low” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Level to a “high” status, the majority of cases reported to local public health continue to have mild to moderate symptoms.

According to the CDC’s county-level dashboard that was recently updated on the evening on Thursday, June 16, the case rate per 100,000 in Chaffee County is 230.89 or about 46 based on a 20,000 person population.  Hospitalizations continue to be low, although Colorado is experiencing an increase in them across the state.

COVID-19 vaccines. Photo by Daniel Schludi for unsplash

“While the recent local rise in COVID-19 transmission is concerning, it is not cause for alarm for most of us at this time.  However, we must continue to do our part to protect our community’s most vulnerable,” said Director of CCPH and COVID-19 Incident Commander Andrea Carlstrom.

“Testing, vaccinations, and treatment for COVID-19 are all readily available throughout the county,” she continued. “We all must remain vigilant to stay home when we are feeling ill, even when the virus is not detected.  It is fortunate that we are in the midst of outdoor event and activity season where the risk of transmission is extremely low. It is also really encouraging that now everyone over six months will have access to protect themselves from this virus.”

In a “high” Community Level, the public is encouraged to wear a mask indoors in public, especially if distancing or ventilation are uncertain, and on public transportation, to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, and to get tested if symptomatic.  Members of the public who are at high risk for severe illness should consider taking additional precautions.  The public should expect the levels to vary from week to week.  The CDC’s COVID-19 dashboard is updated every Thursday evening, and the local dashboard will reflect the current Community Level to be updated every Friday morning.

In addition, the CDC now strongly urges people 50 and older and those 12 and older who are moderate to severely immunocompromised to get a second booster of an mRNA vaccine, either Moderna or Pfizer if it has been 5 months or longer since the last shot.  They have recently changed their language from “may” to “should.”

If you are unsure about your eligibility, you can find more information in the following link:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html.

The definition of “up to date” for those 50 and older has changed to include the second booster dose.  People 50 and older who have not received a second booster dose are no longer considered up to date.

Boosters are now available for young people 5 years old to 11 years old, 5 months after their primary series. Those moderate to severely immunocompromised should receive their third doses 3 months after their initial series.

On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 to include use in children down to six months of age.  For the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) to include the use of the vaccine in individuals six months through 17 years of age.

The vaccine had been authorized for use in adults 18 years of age and older.  For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA amended the EUA to include use of the vaccine in individuals 6 months through 4 years of age. The vaccine had been authorized for use in individuals 5 years of age and older.  Chaffee County Public Health (CCPH) will announce clinic dates in the near future as soon as the vaccine becomes available to local public health agencies.  For more information on the FDA order authorizing Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for children down to 6 months of age please visit this FDA web page.

CCPH has an ample supply of rapid at-home tests available for those who are symptomatic, a close contact, etc.  These are not meant for travel purposes.  Contact CCPH at 719-539-4510 to schedule a time to arrange a pick up.

For testing information, go to:  bit.ly/ChaffeeCOVIDTesting.

For vaccination information, go to:  bit.ly/ChaffeeCOVIDVaccines.

For treatment information, go to:  bit.ly/ChaffeeCOVIDTreatment.

For information on what to do if someone tests positive or is a close contact, go to: https://www.chaffeecounty.org/Public-Health-Coronavirus#positive.

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