For the seven-day period between 12/26/21-1/1/22 a total of 150 confirmed cases were identified in Gunnison County residents. A reminder that a confirmed case is a positive result from a PCR test. In total, 209 positive results were identified including probable and suspect cases reported through at-home antigen tests and cases amongst visitors. Across all known testing sources, 639 tests were conducted over the same time frame yielding a positivity rate of 24%.
|Confirmed Cases in Gunnison County||Probable and Suspect Cases in Gunnison County|
Based on early data from testing this week, case counts continue to grow at a rapid rate as the potential for exposure over the holiday weekend was significant.
On Monday, 1/3/22, Gunnison County Health and Human Services received confirmation of our first cases of the Omicron variant. Currently, 7 individuals in Gunnison County have been identified as being infected with the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of the SARS-COV2 virus. While we have suspected that the variant has been in our community for several weeks, the genomic sequencing from CDPHE confirms this. Since sequencing is back-dated by more than a week it is likely that there are substantially more Omicron cases in our community. Official confirmation of the Omicron variant coincides with rapid growth of COVID-19 infections in Gunnison County.
As we face the growth of the Omicron variant, it is crucial that we collectively take-action on limiting the spread of the coronavirus in our community.
Over the course of the pandemic, our collective response has led to much of our success in reducing transmission and minimizing impacts to the health of our community. With case counts rising Gunnison County strongly recommends the tactics we have come to know well:
- Get vaccinated if you are eligible (ages 5 years and older), be sure to complete the entire vaccination series.
- Get a booster if you are eligible! Boosters limit the potential for several illness from COVID-19.
- Wear a mask in all indoor settings, especially where distancing is not possible. This is particularly important in large indoor gatherings.
- Limit Exposures, try to avoid large, indoor gatherings with folks you don’t know or where vaccination status is unknown.
- 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.
- Get tested if you have any COVID-19 symptoms. Many vaccinated individuals experience very mild symptoms that could be overlooked.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with your face, especially eyes and mouth.
As a community, we can work together to minimize the spread of coronavirus and the associated impact. An essential part of limiting transmission is testing. If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 we encourage you to seek testing and isolate until you have a result. Even if your symptoms are minor (scratchy throat, nasal congestion, etc.) we recommend you seek testing.
To better accommodate the numbers of people seeking testing at the community testing site and help with traffic flow at GVH, the location of community testing will be moving. Starting on Thursday, 1/6/22 the free, community testing site will move from the GVH parking lot to the parking lot that hosts the Cattlemen’s carnival in the summer time. This parking lot is at the corner of S. 14th Street and Evans Street. The site should be accessed by coming down S. 14th street and turning left on Evans (just before the Public Safety Center). We will be updating the covid19.gunnisoncounty.org website with a map of the testing site soon.
Over the last two weeks, the testing site has been exceptionally busy in the morning. We recommend those making an appointment consider a slot later in the day. If you would like to schedule a test you can complete the process at https://my.primary.health/l/gvh.
Many individuals are able to test at home with a rapid antigen test (BinaxNOW). If you test with a BinaxNOW test, we ask that you please report the result – particularly if it is positive – through https://covidbinax.colorado.gov. You will need to create an account. If you receive a positive result on an at-home rapid antigen test, you should inform your recent contacts. If you are symptomatic and have a negative antigen result we encourage you to confirm it with a PCR test.
Due to the number of people testing positive in our community, it is likely that the COVID-19 Team at Gunnison County Public Health may not reach you in the case investigation and contact tracing process. If you test positive for COVID-19, please isolate appropriately and begin informing your close contacts. Those who are exposed should review the updated quarantine guidelines from the CDC. Vaccination status, and how recently you were vaccinated impact the quarantine process.
The updated CDC guidelines on isolation and quarantine appear to be causing that these guidelines are causing some confusion across the community. With the new guidelines, individuals are only allowed to end quarantine after day 5 if they are asymptomatic OR their symptoms have resolved. Symptom resolution means that you know longer have symptoms. If you continue to have symptoms, you should continue to isolate. Also, those leaving isolation after 5 days must wear a mask in public for an additional five days.
A table summarizing the changes in the isolation and quarantine guidance from the CDC can be found here.
Data indicates that boosters continue to provide improved protection against serious illness. While Omicron is highly infectious, boosters have been shown to help restore protection against infection and serious illness. With that in mind, Gunnison County encourages those who are eligible and have not yet received a booster to consider receiving one.
Gunnison County will be hosting a community-wide COVID-19 booster clinic on 1/6/22 at the Fred Field Center from 3:30 – 6:30pm. All three vaccines will be available. Boosters are available for those 16+. Additionally, the CDPHE mobile vaccine bus will begin making three-day stints in Gunnison County starting on 1/14/21.
If you need to receive an initial vaccination, get a booster shot, or get your children vaccinated, you will want to consult the resources found on our Vaccine Resources page.
Current statewide data from CDPHE shows that fully-vaccinated individuals are 12.4x less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and 12.7x less likely to die from COVID-19.
Gunnison Valley Health continues to see patients seeking care for COVID-19 across its services but few patients need to be admitted. Last week, one patient was admitted for care at GVH while others sought care through GVH Urgent Care and the Emergency Department. Currently, GVH continues to offer effective care and is able to transfer patients who need higher levels of care.
Across the State, hospitalizations have increased slightly as more than 1,200 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19. Of hospitalized individuals in Colorado, 76% are unvaccinated.
Please visit: https://covid19.gunnisoncounty.org for information on where to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination or testing.