March 18, 2022 4:46 PM
Public Health Reflects on Two Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic
(March 18, 2022) – Today marks two years since COVID-19 closed the county as the virus spread rapidly throughout the world. The pandemic upended daily routine, closed businesses and schools as cases were detected throughout Colorado.
During the two years since the coronavirus entered the United States, San Miguel County has experienced 2,702 cases amongst residents, 33 hospitalizations and eight COVID-related deaths. Across the country, there have been 79,486,762 confirmed cases of the virus and 965,575 deaths according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
“Two years ago, life as we knew it changed,” said Public Health Director Grace Franklin. “We have come so far as a community to protect ourselves, loved ones, and at-risk neighbors. In the recent, quiet weeks, we have been able to enjoy what we hope will be a prolonged, though cautious, sense of regularity. Our team looks forward to phasing out of our emergency response and into a preventative stage, safely incorporating COVID into our daily lives.”
Since the pandemic shuttered the county, Public Health and its partners have administered thousands of COVID tests, tracing the disease with thousands of phone calls to prevent continued spread. Cutting edge wastewater testing in the East End of the county has provided advance notice of spikes in disease as well as detection of new variants.
With the introduction of vaccines to the county just over a year ago, Public Health and community medical centers have administered 12,059 COVID vaccine doses to residents as 6,592 people, 85.3% of the population, have become up to date with their COVID-19 vaccine.
As the recent omicron wave introduced increased natural immunity from infection along with ongoing immunity from vaccination, the county has enjoyed a respite from towering case counts and preventative restrictions. As the months become warmer and outdoor gatherings return, the recent decline in cases is expected to continue, bringing the endemic stage of the COVID-19 pandemic even closer.
With the close of the winter season brings Spring Break and off-season travel for many county residents. As such, Public Health encourages travelers to plan ahead for testing requirements and pay special attention to requirements for travel out of the country.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has transitioned to the Biden administration’s free at-home test program. Every home in the U.S. is eligible to order two sets of four free at-home tests. The program delivers free over the counter self-tests directly to residents’ homes.
Telehealth options, such as eMed, offer FDA-authorized, virtually proctored at-home COVID tests for travel and treatment which usually qualify for reentry into the United States. Check with airlines for additional valid testing options. Before boarding a flight to the United States, all travelers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 1 day before travel. There is also an option for people who have documented recovery from COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
Regionally, testing is available at various urgent care clinics, retail pharmacies and various distribution centers. For more information regarding community, pharmacy, and at-home testing, visit the CDPHE testing page.
Public Health will continue to provide weekly testing on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays through the end of March. This testing includes PCR tests that can take about 48 hours to process. To register for a testing appointment, visit the Public Health COVID Testing page at bit.ly/smccovidtest.
Public Health has confirmed five new positive cases of COVID-19 from test results received from in the last seven days. There have been 2,702 total COVID cases among residents including 172 total breakthrough cases, and eight COVID-related deaths. To learn more about the county’s current COVID-19 metrics, please visit the SMC COVID-19 dashboard.