Garfield County Public Health shifts COVID-19 metrics page to reflect new stage in pandemic

March 7, 2022

Garfield County Public Health is updating its COVID-19 data page.

“As we enter a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are condensing the daily metrics that we have been reporting out and shifting focus beyond cases in the community. We are directing our efforts toward protecting people at high risk for severe illness,” said Mason Hohstadt, public health specialist. “Garfield County is in a different place now than it was on March 14, 2020, when the first case of COVID was reported.”

Vaccines and testing are now widely available, therapeutics exist for those that catch the disease early, and close to 90 percent of Coloradoans have some type of immunity.
Nearly 75 percent of county residents have had at least one dose of vaccine, 67 percent have had two doses, and the county continues to see people begin their vaccine series. Though at 48 percent, Garfield is behind in the number of eligible persons vaccinated with a third or booster dose.

“We are changing our reporting metrics because some of the tools that we used in the past no longer accurately reflect a person’s COVID risk when they are going about their day-to-day activities,” continued Hohstadt.

The data page continues to provide a snapshot of the virus risk with a color-coded scale that is weighted on multiple factors, including vaccination and hospitalization rates. Daily cases, deaths, and seven-day incidence continues to be reported. The department is looking at metrics that would indicate a more severe strain of the virus has emerged and is working with local hospitals to determine the best way to report hospital capacity.

Despite high case numbers in the recent omicron wave, hospitalizations remained low, especially for those who received vaccine boosters. Daily case counts are not the best method for conveying medically significant disease or strain on local healthcare systems. The widespread use of home test kits also presents a challenge in getting accurate daily case numbers, as most home results are unreported. Individuals who receive positive results from at-home tests still need to follow current isolation protocols.

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