In the last week, Gunnison County saw a slight decline in positive cases. For the seven-day period ending 9/19/21, Gunnison County residents recorded 38 positive cases. A total of 45 positives across all testing were identified during the same time period. This mirrors statewide data that has been identified as ‘unpredictable’ by State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy.
As cases continue in Gunnison County, it’s important that residents be mindful of the best practices that we have learned throughout the course of the pandemic. This includes seeking testing when experiencing symptoms or after a known exposure to COVID-19.
Testing continues to be available through a partnership with Gunnison Valley Health. To schedule testing, please call 970-641-3244 to find an appointment. Testing is available Monday-Friday. Consistent testing helps appropriately identify positive cases and allow for thorough contact tracing to help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
The Delta variant is more contagious than previous variants and spreads more readily from person to person. The exposure risks for the recent local cases are varied including unvaccinated individuals, recent travel, recent attendance at a large gathering, household or close contact and other risk factors.
Week to week, Gunnison Valley Health continues to see individuals with COVID-19 admitted to the hospital and treated appropriately based on their level of illness. Additionally, patients who need a higher level of care continue to be transferred to out-of-county hospital systems. CDPHE is now reporting daily hospitalization data. This also includes a breakdown of vaccinated/unvaccinated hospitalizations statewide. As of this writing, 720 hospitalized individuals statewide are unvaccinated and 148 individuals are vaccinated. Statewide, that means 83% of the hospitalized are unvaccinated.
The CDC COVID Data Tracker that is linked to the local covid19.gunnisoncounty.org does display hospitalization information. However, it can be a little challenging to interpret. The data portrayed on the CDC COVID tracker appears to account for anyone who was in the GVH hospital system with COVID over the course of the last seven days. The number does not purely represent new admissions in the last seven days.
Statewide, vaccinated individuals are more than 3.4x less likely to contract COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals are also 3.7x less likely to be hospitalized and 5.8x less likely to die from COVID-19.
Gunnison County is actively monitoring the progression of research, recommendation and approval around booster doses for Pfizer/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA and CDC are finalizing the COVID-19 booster dose recommendations this week for individuals who are 65 and older, individuals who have occupational risk (e.g. health care workers) and individuals who are at risk of COVID-19 disease complications. We will have a Virtual Townhall on 9/27/21 at 4:00 pm to cover final guidance for booster eligibility.
At this time, we anticipate hosting a vaccine clinic on 9/29/21 from 4:30 – 6:30pm at the Fred Field Western Heritage Center. We expect this will be for individuals who have had 2 prior doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination with the 2nd dose at least 6 months ago. Clinics will also be scheduled weekly in October for COVID-19 booster vaccinations.
Federal guidance still requires that individuals maintain the same brand of vaccine they received as booster doses become available. Federal regulators are still considering the data for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Immunocompromised community members who need to schedule an additional dose are encouraged to consult the links to the CDC and HHS at the end of this document before calling Gunnison County Health & Human Services (HHS) at 970-641-3244.
Throughout the pandemic, Gunnison County residents have been successful in the COVID-19 response on many levels. Vaccination levels across Gunnison county are greater than 70% for eligible individuals and over 11,000 individuals have taken important steps to protect themselves and their families. It’s important for all county residents to continue to take actions to protect themselves as individuals and the larger community including:
- Get vaccinated if you are eligible (ages 12 years and older), be sure to complete the entire vaccination series.
- Assure best ventilation for all interactions including, outdoor spaces, outdoor air circulation and air filtration as needed.
- Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, isolate if you experience symptoms. Stay home if you are sick and away from others as much as possible.
- Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms
- Wear a mask if unvaccinated in all indoor settings, especially where distancing is not possible. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends all persons (regardless of vaccination status) wear a mask in indoor settings.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with your face, especially eyes and mouth.
Please visit: https://covid19.gunnisoncounty.org for information on where to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or testing.
Full Approval for Pfizer Vaccine: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine
CDC Vaccine Booster Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html
US HHS Statement on Vaccine Booster Doses: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/08/18/joint-statement-hhs-public-health-and-medical-experts-covid-19-booster-shots.html
CDC Vaccination Efficacy and Variant Impacts https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/pdfs/mm7034e1-H.pdf