Texas weather delays some of Aspen’s COVID-19 test results

Results from more than 1,000 free COVID-19 tests administered in the Roaring Fork Valley between Feb. 13 and Feb. 16 have been delayed because of winter weather in Texas, officials said Tuesday.

The tests were administered at the free testing centers in downtown Aspen, Snowmass Village, the Aspen-Pitkin County airport and other sites in the Roaring Fork Valley, said Jordana Sabella, interim Pitkin County public health director.

“We learned Monday morning we hadn’t been getting test results from the Microgen lab based in Lubbock, Texas,” she said.

Texas suffered snow and winter weather last week, which cut power and water to many areas of the state.

Some of the results from tests administered here began to show up Tuesday, Sabella said.

Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock said officials expect the backlog of tests to be processed this week.

Pitkin County’s COVID-19 incidence rate remains at the low end of the Yellow-level restrictions, with the positivity and hospitalization rates in the even lower Blue level, according to local epidemiology data. However, the backlogged results could alter that, Peacock said.

“We expect some positives out of that (backlog),” he told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday at their regular weekly work session. “So the numbers may change a bit.”

Pitkin County reported 21 positive COVID-19 cases in the past week, giving the county a seven-day incidence rate of 107 and a positivity rate of 2.5%, according to local data. All four ICU beds at Aspen Valley Hospital remain unoccupied as of Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the county will continue providing vaccinations this week after last week’s vaccine shipments were delayed because of winter weather.

The county has moved to frontline workers and people ages 18-to-64 with two or more high-risk factors for the virus. On Thursday, public health officials will administer 1,170 first doses to those in that category, while on Friday 240 second doses will be provided.

Pitkin County’s COVID-19 dashboard now provides information on vaccinations. So far, around 2,900 residents have been vaccinated, while 2,064 non-residents have received vaccinations, according to the data.