Level Blue slips out of reach as county COVID cases rise

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RBC | Hopes of being able to move into the Blue level on the state’s COVID-19 dial have been dashed by a rise in case counts. “We’re not going in the right direction,” RBC Public Health Director Alice Harvey said. “We were very hopeful we’d be able to go to Level Blue, but continued to see an increase in cases the last two weeks.”

RBC has seen an increase in all three metrics: test positivity, hospitalizations, and case counts.

Variant strains of the novel coronavirus have been detected in the county, and have caused some reinfections in individuals who already had COVID-19. “It’s not over yet,” Harvey said.

The Moderna vaccine, which is what RBC has been distributing, appears to be effective against the variant strains, Harvey said. Previous COVID-19 infection alone does not seem to provide the same level of protection against the variants. Individuals who have already had COVID-19 are encouraged to get the vaccine when they are eligible to do so.

As for vaccinations, RBC is in the top tier per capita for the number of people vaccinated through public health. More than 1,200 people have had at least one dose.

“The new tier opening up will cover a large portion of the county,” Harvey said. “[Vaccine] allocations are steady and we haven’t had to turn anyone away.”

As of March 5, the state will open vaccinations to a new tier that includes people 60-plus, some frontline essential workers (grocery stores, agricultural processing, etc.), and people 18-59 with two or more high risk conditions: “cancer (defined as patients who are currently receiving treatment or have received treatment within the last month for cancer), chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes mellitus (types 1 and 2), Down syndrome, specific heart conditions (heart failure, cardiomyopathies or coronary heart disease, and severe valvular/congenital heart disease), obesity (BMI ≥30kg/m^2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, solid organ transplant, individuals with disabilities who require direct care in their home, and people with disabilities that prevent them from wearing masks.)

Harvey said they anticipate vaccination clinics will be open to all Coloradans by summer.

Testing continues in Meeker and Rangely. No appointment is needed for testing on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-11 a.m. For tests on Tuesday or Friday, call Public Health at 970-878-9520 in Meeker or 970-878-9525 in Rangely and leave a message to schedule a testing appointment.

Case Counts As of Monday, March 1:

Meeker Active: 25
Rangely Active: 4
Current Hospitalized RBC: 3
School District Meeker: 10
School District Rangely: 0

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