UPDATE: Delta variant drives summertime COVID-19 case numbers in Garfield County | PostIndependent.com

UPDATE: Delta variant drives summertime COVID-19 case numbers in Garfield County

Latest Garfield County COVID-19 statistics and risk level


Cumulative cases: 6,579

Deaths since outbreak began: 51 confirmed

Current Risk Level: Yellow-Concern

Recent 7-day case totals: July 26-Aug. 1 – 57; July 19-25 – 65; July 12-18 – 86

Two-week daily case average: 8.71

Single-day high: 101 on 12/10/20

7-day incidence rate: 94.7 per 100,000 people

7-day test positivity rate: 5% (14-day: 5.8%)

7-day hospitalization rate: 4%

Vaccines administered (as of 7/29): 59,003 (32,151 first doses; 26,852 second doses; 57% of eligible population fully vaccinated; 63% have first dose). For vaccination information, visit Garfield-County.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/

Source: Garfield County Public Health

HOSPITAL STATS (Updated weekly on Tuesdays)

Valley View Hospital, as of 7/27/2021

Specimens collected through Valley View Hospital: 29,886 (+509 since 7/20)

Positive results: 2,274 (+15 since 7/20)

Hospitalizations since outbreak began: 289 (1 new since 7/20)

Grand River Hospital, as of 7/27/2021

Specimens collected through Grand River Health: 9,153 (+77 since 7/20)

Positive results: 1,497 (+18 since 7/20)

Hospitalizations since outbreak began: 57 (0 new since 7/6)

Source: Valley View and Grand River hospitals


(7/28 Update)

Mountain Valley Developmental Services Bookcliffs House, Parachute: Date determined, 7/1; 4 resident and 12 staff cases.

Heritage Park Care Center, Carbondale: Date determined, 7/8; 9 resident cases (1 death), 1 staff case.

Source: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment COVID-19 outbreak data page

Updated mask guidance from the CDC

On July 27, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance on mask usage due to COVID-19. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possible spread, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public in communities with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19.

Areas of substantial transmission are defined as 50 or higher total new cases per 100,000 persons over a seven-day period and a test positivity rate greater than 8%. Areas of high transmission exceed one or both of these metrics.

“Garfield County Public Health reminds everyone that getting vaccinated continues to be the best way to combat COVID-19. The vaccine prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death; it also helps reduce the spread of the virus in communities.”

Vaccination opportunities are available on the Garfield County COVID-19 vaccination page.

Garfield County Public Health recommends checking real time data on the Garfield County COVID-19 cases page.

Public Health Update for the week of July 19

All COVID-19 hospitalizations involving Garfield County residents since June 1 have been unvaccinated people, according to Garfield County Public Health.

Also, since June 1:

  • There have been nine deaths due to COVID. Five were unvaccinated, four were vaccinated — two were part of long-term care outbreaks due to unvaccinated staff, two had severe underlying conditions placing them at high risk.
  • 86% of people testing positive for COVID are unvaccinated. Since June 1, there have been 360 COVID cases. Of those, 50 people who contracted COVID were fully vaccinated. One third of the 50 were infected through long-term care facility outbreaks.

Back to school is nearly here, leave kids enough time to get both doses.

Garfield County schools are back to class in mid-August. Parents looking to have their students fully vaccinated by the start of the 21-22 school year need to allow 21 days between doses of vaccine. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective.

That means that this week is the optimal time to get students vaccinated to have them fully protected at the start of this school year.

Rifle vaccination rates half of Glenwood Springs, Parachute a third; infection rates follow.

Garfield County has 56% of the population fully vaccinated, with 62% having at least one dose.

Rates of vaccinations in Rifle are almost half of those in Glenwood Springs. Rates in Parachute are less than a third of those in Glenwood.

To hit the goal of 70% fully vaccinated, Garfield needs 4,239 more people got get a first dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J), and more than 7,000 people to become fully vaccinated.

HIPAA and privacy laws for COVID vaccines

Vaccination is covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), however it only applies to HIPAA-covered entities (healthcare providers, health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and the business associates). HIPAA does not apply to most employers.

Employers may ask for proof of vaccination.

If an employer asks an employee to supply proof of COVID vaccine to allow that individual to work without wearing a facemask, that is not a HIPAA violation.

Asking about vaccine status would not violate HIPAA, but other laws could be violated. An example would be requiring employees to share additional health information, such as the reason why they are not vaccinated, could potentially violate federal laws.

CDC designates Garfield a virus hot spot

The delta variant is now the dominant strain across the globe. In Colorado, 89% of all COVID test results are currently delta variant. Garfield County made national news last week as a virus “hot spot.” This designation was given to Garfield due to a high incidence rate (how much of the virus is circulating) and increase in test positivity (how many tests come back positive). The increase in test positivity, was higher than Mesa County for the period. The designation also looked at hospitalizations and ICU bed use from COVID admissions which are both “high.” These statistics coupled with mediocre vaccination rates compared to the rest of the nation contributed to the designation.

Delta – one person can infect six others

Studies are showing that the delta variant is more contagious (one person can infect up to six others) but not necessarily more severe or lethal than other variants. For comparison, a person with seasonal flu typically infects only one additional person.

Vaccines still showing 88% efficacy

The vaccines on the market currently are still showing an efficacy rate of 88%. They are not necessarily developed to keep people from being infected, rather to keep people from developing symptoms and spreading the virus.

For vaccination information, visit Garfield-County.com/public-health/covid-19-vaccine/

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