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Stuck too high: El Paso County COVID-19 numbers flat for two months

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Posted at 7:32 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 06:41:50-04

EL PASO COUNTY — Vaccination numbers are rising at a fast rate in Colorado, yet the decline in COVID-19 cases has slowed. "We know that the virus is still circulating," said El Paso County Public Health, Medical Director, Dr. Robin Johnson.

It took 60 days to complete the first 100,000 COVID-19 vaccinations in El Paso County. For the next 100,000 it was just 30 days. "The more people that get vaccinated, the more blanket health protection we are able to provide," said El Paso County Public Health, Director, Susan Wheelan.

There are now 220,000 people in the county with at least a first dose. Tens of thousands more need to happen.

The numbers show vaccinations heading rapidly in the right direction, but still months from the goal of lowering the need for other prevention measures.

El Paso County experienced a rapid decrease in COVID-19 case numbers from December to February. It dropped the county’s color-coded risk designation from red to orange and now yellow.

The decrease then stopped before making it to the lesser blue or green categories. "You have to have a seven-day incidence below 100 and unfortunately we have not been able to achieve that since October," said Wheelan.

Since mid-February numbers have basically been flat, hovering just above the 100 incidence rate over a seven-day average.

"Are we still at risk for a spike? Yes," said Dr. Johnson. Consider things like spring break and people traveling."Spring is coming; we've been doing this a year, we finally have really good news and I think the temptation is to just throw caution to the wind and say we're done, but we're not quite done."

It means spring break is not a break from COVID prevention. The increasing vaccination rate could get Colorado to that break by summer.

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