As the next Board of Health meeting is not scheduled until Dec 10th the following report has been provided by the Pitkin County Public Health Epidemiological team as an update for our community on our current status, trends we are seeing and what to anticipate following the Thanksgiving holiday.
Pitkin County had 20 cases reported on Sunday, 11/30, another all-time high for any one day during the pandemic in Pitkin County. 18 of the 20 cases were results of positive COVID test results on 11/25 (the day before Thanksgiving) or earlier, indicating this increase is not yet a reflection of an expected Thanksgiving surge.
But moving into Tuesday, we will likely begin to see cases pick up. The current plateauing of cases, seen here and across the country, is likely a result of reduced testing during the week of Thanksgiving. From 11/21-11/27, only 395 tests were reported among Pitkin County residents, while during the week prior, 11/14-11/20, 659 tests were reported. The day after Thanksgiving, there were more than 170 tests in Pitkin County alone.
The current incidence in Pitkin County (as of right now) is 681, up from 563 on 11/27 despite reduced testing last week. In addition, our positivity rate is increasing quickly at 7.9%. If current rates hold steady, we could reach 15% in the next 3-4 weeks. And lastly, there are 93,000 people across the US are hospitalized. We currently have 2 hospitalizations.
Since we are a county with a population <30,000, we move into the red hospitalization category if we have more than 2 new hospitalizations reported in any one day.
We continue to have outbreaks caused by social gatherings and are seeing cases attributed back to worksites. As a reminder, all personal gatherings, even in the private home, is limited to no more than 5 persons from two households.
Our team continues to closely monitor disease and hospital data knowing that Thanksgiving and other holidays pose even greater risks of uncontrolled gatherings of people with the potential to cause further spread of the disease. We continue to see cases attributed to social gatherings and worksites and fear looking at trends that the Orange level measures may not be sufficient.
Therefore, we are asking all Pitkin County residents to do the following:
- Avoid in-person interactions. If you can work from home, do so. If you can conduct business virtually, do so. If you can provide curbside service to keep customers from gathering inside, do so. Remember, the safest place to stay is your home.
- Wear masks everywhere. It doesn’t matter how much you trust your friends. This is not a trust issue. It’s a kindness and safety issue.
- Avoid gatherings over 5 people. To help our residents stay connected while limiting the threat of large outbreaks, we ask everyone to identify a small group — under 5 people — that you come in regular contact with. That could be your family or perhaps another household that you regularly interact with. It could be close friends or colleagues. We ask that you limit your personal interactions to this group of no more than 5 from 2 separate households.
- Self-quarantine when participating in large gatherings. If you have participated in a gathering such as a wedding, a party or a funeral, or if you have traveled to see others, it is our strong recommendation that you immediately self-quarantine for 14 days. This will limit the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others. No gatherings are safe. This cannot be emphasized enough. There are not enough protections that can be in place for weddings, services, events, festivals, or a party in your own backyard that will keep people you love safe from COVID-19. We ask that you go virtual with these gatherings, or wait.
- Hands, face, space. Now, more than ever, remember this: hands, face and space. Wash your hands regularly, cover your face with a mask and keep six feet of space between yourself and others.
- Do not go to work sick. With several cases attributed to worksites, we ask that you follow your employers workplace requirements and guidance. Conduct daily symptom checks, do not go to work if you are feeling sick, and get tested if you develop symptoms.
We urge everyone to take these steps now to give us a chance to avoid more drastic orders. Do it for your community, for your friends and for your family.