EL PASO COUNTY — COVID-19 infection rates in El Paso County and the rest of Colorado have steadily dropped since the peak back in December. The result is the emergency declaration in state lifted and most prevention measures eased. "It [the virus] has not been retired," said El Paso County Public Health, Data Epidemiologist, Fadi Youkhana. Despite, more manageable numbers there are risk factors still in play.
The Delta variant is rapidly spreading. It appears more prevalent in parts of the United States with lower vaccination rates. "Our trends of cases have moved down, but now they're leveling and beginning to rise and that we think is a consequence of Delta and areas of the United States that are less vaccinated," said El Paso County Public Health, Data Epidemiologist, Stephen Goodwin.
The Delta variant could easily become a factor in El Paso County. "Right now, we're looking at El Paso County having the highest [COVID-19] incidents of the ten most populated counties in Colorado," said Youkhana. Infections higher, while the vaccination rate in the county is among the lowest in the state. 60% in the county have at least one dose. Just over 50% have gotten both of the necessary doses.
"Right now it's vaccine verses Delta," said Goodwin. There is potential for the more aggressive Delta variant to spread rapidly in populations with low vaccination. “Naturally if the place that you live has more people that are not vaccinated the virus has more room to spread and it has more targets.," said Youkhana. It is reason for continued caution as the pandemic appears to ease.