COVID-19 ‘kind of bumping along’ in Pitkin County
Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock summed up the county’s current COVID-19 situation Tuesday.
“Not much has changed,” he told county commissioners during their regular weekly work session.
The virus’ incidence rate per 100,000 residents was at 174 on Tuesday and has remained between about 140 and 174 for the past week. The county has logged 43 new positive cases in the past seven days, including 31 residents and 12 out of county cases, according to Pitkin County online dashboards.
That means COVID-19 numbers have gone down a bit but not nearly enough to begin the 21-day timeline that could lead to the end of the indoor mask mandate. The incidence rate must be below 50 for 21 consecutive days before the mask mandate can be lifted, according to the latest Pitkin County public health order.
“We had hoped the trend down was going to continue, but it’s kind of bumping along,” Peacock said.
He told commissioners, however, that he thought Aspen Valley Hospital might move back to “comfortable” status Wednesday from “cautious.” The hospital’s move to cautious last month had mainly to do with regional availability of acute care and intensive care beds, Peacock said.
Meanwhile, more details on what the COVID-19 situation in Aspen will look like for the upcoming winter season will be presented at the Pitkin County Board of Health meeting Oct. 14. Because of the advent of vaccines, the winter will look different than last winter season, he said.
For the 2021-2022 winter, the likely metric triggers for mitigation and capacity restrictions will be measures of serious illness and local hospital capacity, including the ability to transfer serious patients to regional and Denver hospitals, Peacock said.
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While Aspen’s upcoming winter season will contain echoes of last winter’s COVID-19 mitigation strategies, vaccines and booster shots will likely allow for a simpler set of guidelines this time around.