By Lisa Young
Delta County received a “green light” by state officials to move back a notch on the state’s COVID-19 dial to Blue or “Caution” last week.
To remain in the Caution level the county must remain below 5% positivity rate, between 15-100 cases per 100,000 a week and have no greater than 25% in the county’s referral hospitals or no more than two hospital admissions with COVID-19 on a single day in the past seven days.
Delta County it a high water mark in November landing on the state’s Orange or “High Risk” level. At that time, the county hit 10.7% for a two week positivity case while averaging nearly 20 new cases per day.
On Feb. 7, the county was moved back to Yellow or “Concern” level as the state implemented its new COVID-19 2.0 dial. The new 2.0 dial made it possible to “swiftly move into more restrictive levels when their numbers go up, and more quickly into recovery when their numbers go down.”
Last week’s move back to “Blue” for Delta County brought a sigh of relief for officials and a hope that numbers continue to trend down.
“We are absolutely thrilled to see our positivity rate continue to move in the right direction, for Delta County. We are finally able to share good news with our residents, that things are opening up more and more, and that is a fantastic feeling,” said Darnell Place-Wise, county public information officer.
While the news is good, Place-Wise reminds residents that the county’s status can change very quickly.
“While we know that dial levels are based on the number of new cases, the percent positivity of COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations, that information is now reviewed on a weekly basis at the state level, and could change from week to week,” Place-Wise said, adding, “Let’s please keep up the good work Delta County so we can stay in blue, and hopefully migrate to green by summer.”
Even with the change in status the county remains under CDPHE restrictions.
The new restrictions include personal group gatherings are up to 10 individuals from no more than two households. Restaurants can operate at 50% capacity up to 175 indoors with 6 feet between parties. Outdoor gatherings are per county health department guidance.
Last call for alcohol is 12 a.m. on premises; Non-critical manufacturing is at 50% capacity up to 175 persons; Offices can operate at 50% capacity; gyms and fitness centers are at 50% capacity up to 175 persons.
Group sports and camps have 50 person cap per activity; personal services can operate at 50% capacity up to 50 people; indoor seated and unseated events and entertainment has 50% capacity up to 175 person cap and outdoor seated and unseated events and entertainment can operate at 50% capacity up to 250 people. Despite moving back a notch on the dial, bars remain closed.
The entire list of COVID-19 restrictions in Delta County can be found at: covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial-dashboard
Delta County continues to get vaccines at a steady rate and has been vaccinating individuals in the 1A, 1.B.1 and 1.B.2 phases which include anyone 65 and older, healthcare workers, first responders, educators, and licensed child care providers.
Place-Wise said the county is currently planning a large scale vaccination event with Delta Health at the hospital; however, individuals had to register in advance and no walk-ins will be taken.
“We are grateful to be able to offer this large vaccination event with the hospital,” said Robbie LeValley, county administrator. “It’s good to be able to come together and offer something positive in the world of COVID.”
Beginning Friday, March 5, the county will begin 1.B.3 vaccinations which include agricultural workers, grocery workers, individuals 60 and older, individuals 16-60 with two or more comorbidities or underlying medical conditions like heart, lung, or kidney disease, cancer, Down syndrome, obesity, sickle cell disease, or diabetes.
Anyone interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine can sign up on the county’s waitlist, which can be found at deltacounty.com/covid-19. The web-site lists the different phases and encourages everyone to fill out the registration form for the phase they qualify for.
Delta County call center remains open every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. -1 p.m. and can be reached at 970-874-2172 for general information and to sign up for a vaccination appointments.
COVID-19 testing continues, each Friday and Saturday with pre-registration required.
Testing will take place every Friday in Delta at the Lion’s Pavilion near Bill Heddles Recreation Center from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pre-register online at:mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2402.
Every Saturday, free COVID-19 mobile testing will take place at Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Pre-register online at:mako.exchange/scheduler/registration/?location=2413.
As of March 1, Delta County reported one new positive case for a total of 2,472 cases with 29 active and 2,386 individuals recovered. The county currently has one individual hospitalized. Delta County Health Department is reporting one additional death bringing the total to 58, a female 65-74.