August 19, 2021 6:51 PM
Delta Variant Causes Severe Spike in Wastewater Data and Positivity Rate
(August 19, 2021) – San Miguel County Public Health has detected an alarming increase in COVID presence in the community similar to that of January 2021 through recent wastewater sampling.
As the sampling data predicted in July, cases continue to climb week over week as the Delta variant makes up the entirety of the last three samples.
“We knew the risks of the Delta variant before we first detected it in May,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “We are now reaching concerning levels of disease prevalence in our communities and must take immediate action to curb transmission rates. This includes wearing masks indoors, limiting group size and reverting to our pandemic pod mentality.”
On July 27, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that everyone in areas with high COVID infection rates wear masks in public indoor spaces, regardless of whether they are vaccinated. New findings that were released last week surrounding the Delta variant revealed that vaccinated people can in fact transmit the virus. Due to these findings, universal masking is now strongly recommended for all in public indoor spaces.
“A year ago, these positivity and incidence rates would have put the county in Level Red,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “The vaccine works really well for severe outcomes, but it’s not the sole remedy to ending the pandemic. The time is now to proactively change our behavior to prevent the continued spread to vaccinated and unvaccinated people.”
San Miguel County Public Health has begun discussions with the Board of Health to evaluate current disease burden and caseload data to determine whether proactive preventative mandates would be suitable in the coming weeks.
Public Health has updated the COVID dashboard to include variant prevalence information to better inform the public of the details surrounding wastewater and case data. Vaccine and testing opportunities can be found on the SMC COVID webpage.
Public Health has confirmed twenty new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from August 13 through 18. Of these cases, sixteen are confirmed as east end residents while one is confirmed as a west end resident. As of release time today, there are 17 active cases, all actively contagious cases are currently in isolation. To-date, there have been 984 total COVID cases among residents including 41 breakthrough cases and one COVID-related death. To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the SMC COVID-19 dashboard.