EL PASO COUNTY — There is encouraging COVID-19 news in El Paso County. "Which makes us all really happy," said El Paso County Public Health, Medical Director, Dr. Robin Johnson. Data shows case numbers dropping to an important benchmark below the rate of 100 per 100,000 over 14 days.
When previous trends earlier in the summer showed improvement and variances eased, numbers started rising rapidly. Numbers got so high it put variances at risk of going away. A mitigation plan had to submitted to the state.
There was a push for better prevention measure compliance. State leaders mandated masks, at the county level public health campaigned for renewed social distancing efforts, hand washing, choosing outside activities, and avoiding large groups After a couple of weeks numbers started to decline. Now, just over a month later the goal of getting below the 100 level was just achieve "That decrease is due to this layered approach," said Johnson. Another data point tracks the percentage of people testing positive for COVID-19. The average over 14 days shows a decrease to less than 5%.
With the good news, there is also a caution to stay the course. A lot of people got more casual about prevention when numbers improved back in June. Variances also allowed more activity, and summer travel expanded. Numbers soon spiked. Dr. Johnson pints out several events in the weeks ahead that could once again undermine COVID-19 improvements. "We have to be aware that our school settings are opening. Even hybrid, there is going to be more interactions and then we have Labor Day coming."
The presence of COVID-19 will not be eliminated any time soon. Johnson says it is clear people are tired of the extensive prevention measures, but, assures that scientists are making progress. "While it seems like it's slow, it is faster than it has ever occurred in history." While they work, prevention remains the best weapon against COVID-19.