No Restrictions Looming
Many municipalities across Colorado have experienced a big spike in in COVID-19 cases, with some jurisdictions implementing mask mandates and other restrictions.
That trend doesn’t appear to be in the works for Teller County, which is surviving the latest Delta variant invasion with only a few battle wounds. However, the local area is definitely encountering a hefty increase in COVID activity, but hospitalization numbers remain low.
Even with an increase in cases in Teller County, the commissioners have stated that they will not be issuing any local mask mandates or restrictions. They also said that they do not plan to make getting vaccinated a requirement to work for the county.
Since the pandemic struck in March 2020, the county has seen nearly 2,100 positive cases of COVID-19. The daily case count has increased in Teller, but not as much as other trouble spots.
Unfortunately, the seven day case count has recently seen a spike as it was reported at 32 cases last week or 128 per 100,000 people. The numbers last week were the highest experienced since mid-July.
The positivity rate at local testing sites has also been slowly rising. Between Aug. 15 and Aug. 21 the positivity rate at all of the testing sites in the county was 7.39 percent, rising from 1.72 percent the week before. At the county’s testing site, the rate rose to 17.8 percent from 8.3 percent the previous week.
However, even though the cases have seen an uptick locally, the hospitalizations and deaths caused by the disease remain low. Since the disease struck the county, there has been a total of 152 hospitalizations or 7.38 percent of the total number of positive cases.
Currently, there is only one person from the county hospitalized due to COVID. This occurred on Aug. 23. In the past several months, the number of hospitalizations has been dropping.
Since March 2020, the disease has taken the lives of 19 Teller County residents. But on the upside, the county has not seen a death caused by COVID-19 since June 15.
The data also shows that Woodland Park is still Teller’s leading COVID hub, accounting for 59 percent of the positive cases. Florissant has snagged the second-place position with 17 percent, and then Divide reporting 15 percent of the total positive cases in the county.
Southern Teller has fared the best since the pandemic started, and they have not had large increases. Cripple Creek and Victor combined only account for about nine percent (less than 200 combined) of the total cases reported in the county.
The good news is that the vaccination numbers in the county keep increasing. Last week about 51 percent of the county’s population had received the anti-COVID shots.
No Local Restrictions
However, the vaccinations only rose about 0.3 percent from the previous week. According to County Administrator Sheryl Decker, the county has tried promotions to try to get the vaccination numbers to increase.
“We got approval from the state to offer the Walmart gift cards. but they didn’t go over real big,” Decker said. “It has just been a slow increase. I think that the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine might have had something to with the recent increase. We haven’t found something that will really shoot our numbers up.”
As far as restrictions go, Decker said that they have not heard anything from the state regarding whether any statewide restrictions. She also reiterated the fact that the county would not be imposing any COVID mandates.
“They (the county commissioners, who act as the board of health) are not going to impose additional mandates or impose any vaccine mandates,” the county administrator said. “They are sticking to it and believing in the fact that it is each person’s choice to protect themselves the way they see fit the best. If that means wearing a mask, then wear a mask. If that means getting vaccinated, then get vaccinated. We all need to get along and respect each other for our own choice. They are really trying to keep the divisiveness in check.”
She said that the county will not be requiring vaccines for their employees. But in a cautionary note, the county administrators stated that the local government can’t do anything to keep private companies from requiring vaccines. More companies and many federal/state agencies are taking that position.