Delta County reached a milestone reporting 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases on July 28 with a female in her 30s self-isolating at home and a male in his 80s under the care of a personal physician.
The following day, the health department reported 101 cases and announced that the Delta County Sheriff’s Office was cited as a COVID-19 outbreak site with four employees testing positive. On Aug.3 the number of COVID-19 cases reported by the health department reached 108.
The county reported that a coordinated investigation team including Delta County Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) worked together to identify the positive cases at the Sheriff's office and immediately began contact tracing.
“By the time an outbreak is identified, infection prevention actions have already been taken to contain further spread and we don't consider this office at any higher risk compared to others,” the release stated.
Delta County Health Department reported three new cases on July 22 and one new case on July 23. The four cases included a male in his 30s, a male in his 40s, a female in her 50s, and a male in his 30s, all self-isolating at home. Due to HIPAA requirements, county officials would not disclose the testing sites, dates or case details.
The sheriff’s office was designated an outbreak on July 22 with three staff members testing positive. According to the county, CDPHE only reports outbreaks on a weekly basis, typically on Wednesdays, the information was not in the state report until July 29, the same day information was released to the public.
The county reported that the employees, displaying mild symptoms, followed CDPHE guidelines and have returned to work. Ironically the outbreak at the sheriff's office happened only days after Delta County Sheriff Mark Taylor said his department would not enforce the governor’s mandatory mask order, leaving enforcement up to the health department.
Currently the office is on the "active" CDPHE’s outbreak report and will be removed when the site has 30 days of no new positive cases from the facility.
Delta County's first confirmed COVID-19 case was reported on March 24 as a female in her 30s reported to be in close contact with someone who tested positive from another county in Colorado. To date the county is reporting 97 individuals recovered from COVID-19, one person hospitalized and one death.
The county remains in the Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors phase and has not applied for or moved into the Protect Your Neighbor phase. After covid cases rose statewide, Gov. Jared Polis placed all variance requests on hold for at least two weeks beginning on July 16.
Plans to band together with Mesa and Montrose counties for a regional variance were scrapped after Mesa County had an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Mesa reported 233 cases with one death and Montrose County had 260 with 13 deaths, as of July 27.
According to CDPHE the best prevention against COVID-19 is to wash your hands thoroughly and often, maintain 6 feet of physical distance and wear a mask. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, or those who have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive should contact their primary care physician or the Delta County Health Department at 970-874-2172 to make an appointment.
COVID-19 testing is also available at North Fork EMS in Hotchkiss, Delta County Memorial Hospital Urgent Care and Delta County Memorial Hospital Clinics in Delta, Hotchkiss and Paonia.