Despite Release of Mask Mandate, Teller County and Colorado Not Out Of The COVID Woods

Coronavirus economic impact concept image

Fourth Wave of Inflictions Beginning to Ease Up

Trevor Phipps and Rick Langenberg

Talk about a case of bad timing or bad luck.

In just a few days after Colorado Governor Jared Polis released the statewide mask mandate, Colorado had the highest seven-day case count out of any state in the country.

In fact, Colorado held that spot for the next few days after the mask mandate turned into a suggestion.

 But luckily in the last week this infliction trend has decreased and Colorado and the local region are trending much better, according to officials. What some experts call the fourth wave of the coronavirus epidemic is beginning to subside.

According to state data, Colorado is slowly recovering from the fourth wave of COVID-19, which struck in late March. Health experts say that this fourth wave had the potential to become the second greatest surge the state experienced since the pandemic struck. April, 2021  was especially a rough month on the COVID-front, and it appeared that the state could be in danger again

 Some recent counts also weren’t very encouraging.

According to an article written by the Colorado Sun, if the state’s COVID-19 dial was in place, several counties would be at risk of businesses shutting down. “If the state were still operating under its original dial framework, 11 Colorado counties would currently have red-level incidence rates,” the article said. “If the state still had its most recent version of the dial, which had more relaxed standards, two counties would be in level red, three more would be in level orange and 23 would be in level yellow.”

However, luckily the daily case rates have dropped in the last week. Colorado is no longer seeing the highest daily average of cases, as this load has dropped by about 30 percent. On a state level, news reports have indicated that there are 855 active outbreaks in Colorado, which is much lower than the previous week.  This marks the first decline in outbreaks since the fourth wave of the epidemic struck.

 There are still signs of danger on the COVID front.

According to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker, Colorado is still high for daily average case rates as it only sits behind Michigan and Maine nationally. The good news is that more vaccinations have been rolled out with 42 percent of the state’s population getting fully vaccinated.

Local Cases Dropping

Locally, although still not as low as desired, the daily case count numbers and seven-day case count stats have been slowly dropping for the last couple of weeks. As of last week, the county’s seven-day case count was 41 cases or 164 per 1000 people. According to the previous dial that has since been eliminated by the governor’s office, Teller County would be in the yellow area but close to changing to orange.

For the last couple of weeks, the county has seen less than 10 new positive COVID-19 cases per day.

 These numbers are much better than what they were when they were at their peak last November. The county hit a recent rough stretch in April, recording 238 positive cases, according to Cripple Creek Finance Director Paul Harris, a member of the county’s COVID-19 task force.  In a report before the city council last week, Harris stated that the so far in May, the county had 109 cases, and was  on track to experience a significant decrease from the red-hot month of April. In March, the county reported 150 cases.

He also said the case load was showing signs of a decrease from the previous week. “Our numbers are trending well,” said Harris.  In the main categories of reporting, the county is faring better, noted Harris.

In addition, he stated that 40.7 percent of the Teller population are completely vaccinated. That is one of the most encouraging statistics locally and on the state level.  Local elected leaders have disagreed on some aspects of the mask mandates, but have agreed in relaying one overriding message:  Get vaccinated.

 Since the state started keeping data in March 2020, the county has seen a total of 1,783 positive cases. Out of those, there have been 125 people hospitalized and 16 deaths caused by the disease.

 On, the state reports only 15 deaths, whereas county numbers say 16. According to county administrator Sheryl Decker, the discrepancy is due to the fact that former Woodland Park Mayor Val Carr is counted as a COVID-19 death by the county but not by the state.

Decker said that the state wouldn’t count Carr’s death as COVID-19 related because he did not test positive for the disease less than 30 days before he passed away. But the county includes his death in the statistics because most community members believe he died due to the novel coronavirus.

 As of May 19, there were currently three people hospitalized in the county with the last hospitalization date being May 17. Woodland Park still sits at the top in the county of cases with over 1,000 or 60 percent. Cripple Creek and Victor’s numbers have stayed low and have only accounted for a combined 9 percent of the county’s total amount of positive cases.