EL PASO COUNTY — The record January spike of COVID cases in Southern Colorado has turned, and numbers are making a steady decrease.
"I'm very excited that the trend of cases has gone down for almost two weeks in a row but I'm always thinking in the back of my mind, that [the] percent of positivity is still pretty high so we might be missing some cases," said Microbiologist Phoebe Lostroh, a PhD with expertise in Virology.
There is also caution, because although the numbers are decreasing, case numbers are still high. There are other data points like hospitalizations and percent positivity showing less of a drop.
The decreasing numbers are encouraging but expanded prevention measures need to continue. “Keep it going for a few more weeks,” said Lostroh.
She points out a lot more people are doing the right thing with at-home testing, but that can also skew numbers. "If you do those home tests and get a positive, but don't get a PCR test to follow-up, then your case is not added in the numbers and your percent positivity is not added into the numbers."
Infection numbers are important benchmarks, but Lostroh points to other areas of progress on a steady path toward helping in the battle. Along with prevention breakthroughs, there are also scientists making strides in the areas of better treatments. "Medication that we can take that will prevent us from progressing to more serious disease." Better treatment will prevent strain on hospitals and decrease deaths.
More advances do need to happen. “So be cautious and yet hopeful and positive about the way we’re moving forward,” said Lostroh.