By Lisa Young
Delta County Health Department recently revamped its community COVID-19 dashboard in an ongoing attempt to keep track of COVID-19 cases and keep citizens informed.
The new dashboard available now on county social media sites and its website will have more data points and daily updates, according to Greg Rjankowski, health department director of environmental health.
“We are working on getting both an English and Spanish version out so we can have that accessible to both populations,” Rajanowski told Delta County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.
He said the health department continues to “clean up” case discrepancies with the state noting that one case attributed to Delta County was from Sterling, Colorado.
To date, Delta County’s case count remains at 175 with 15 active cases and 160 recovered cases (unfortunately the new dashboard has removed the number of recovered cases).
The county is in the “cautious” range according to the CDPHE’s new dashboard dial with a two week 2.12% positivity testing rate. The total positivity testing rate is a bit higher with 3.53% average.
A possible covid-related death in the county is under investigation, Rjankowski told commissioners. Later in the day, the health department confirmed that a Delta County resident in their 80s passed away from COVID-19 bringing the total COVID deaths to three.
The state has also introduced a new dial framework with five levels to guide county responses to COVID-19 moving from the most restrictive Stay at Home to less restrictions in Safer at Home 3-high risk; Safer at Home 2-concern; Safer at Home 1-cautious; and then Protect Our Neighbors.
“We’re at safer level one which is just above Project Our Neighbors. There are some allowances that they’ve made for us that don’t fit those criteria completely but they’re okay with that and so are we,” said Rajonwoski adding that the allowances deal with group sizes.
When asked if the county might consider moving to the Protect Our Neighbors level, Rjankowski said the health department is “being very cautious about moving to that” because of a rise in cases on the Eastern Slope and adjacent states.
“Going to through the process to get to Protect Our Neighbors and then a week later start to see our cases spike and then having that sort of ‘whiplash’ effect going back under more severe restrictions probably wouldn’t be beneficial to our community right now so, I think we’re going to stay here for now,” he said.
The new state framework replaces the general variance process in most situations and counties will move between the levels based on the number of new cases; the percent of positivity on COVID tests and hospitalizations.
Most counties will remain where they are as the state adjusts to its new metrics and new system according to Rjankowski. He did suggest that if other counties begin to move forward and the case numbers in Delta County keep going down the conversation to move to Protect Our Neighbors could potentially take place.
In regards to the new dashboard, Darnell Place-Wise, joint information officer, said, “The new data dashboard expands on the information we have been sharing throughout the pandemic, but goes further in that it’s even more transparent as the health department has been able to to bring together the source data set with their validation process. In doing so, there is more accurate alignment of what we have, with what the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was and is reporting.”
She said the health department is now able to substantiate everything before it’s reported, as well as being able to provide that history and breakdown real-time for anyone to analyze.
“We truly are providing as much information as we can, and hope that this new visual gives individuals the information they are seeking,” she added.
The new state COVID-19 dial dashboard can be found at covid19.colorado.gov.