While COVID-19 cases remain low in Larimer County, the health department is seeing a slight uptick as the fast-moving Delta variant spreads across Colorado and the U.S.
The county’s seven-day case rate has doubled in less than a month, going from a low of 22 cases per 100,000 people on June 16 to 48 per 100,000 as of Tuesday.
At the pandemic’s height, Larimer County reported a seven-day case rate of 522 per 100,000 people on Nov. 19, 2020.
“We still have some work to do,” Larimer County Population Epidemiologist Jared Olson said during a virtual COVID-19 update Monday afternoon. “Vaccination is by far our most powerful tool.”
Given how much more transmissible Delta is compared to previous COVID-19 variants, it quickly overtook the U.S. this spring and summer, becoming the dominant strain in Colorado by the week of June 6, per Colorado’s state health department.
One month later, it became the dominant strain nationwide, the CDC announced July 6.
Current evidence indicates that COVID-19 vaccines approved under emergency use in the U.S. are effective against the Delta variant, according to the CDC.
In Larimer County, 97.4% of COVID-19 cases reported since March 1, 2021, have been among unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people, health officials said Monday. In the rare breakthrough cases seen in fully vaccinated individuals, most have led to mild symptoms or fully asymptomatic responses, Olson said.
If you opted to forego your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, a single dose is less effective against the Delta variant compared to previous variants, Olson said.
In Larimer County, 7,033 people have not received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine within 42 days, though it’s possible some received a second dose outside of Larimer County, according to the county health department.
Even if you have gone longer than 42 days since your first vaccine dose, the county still recommends getting your second dose.
As August — and a full return to in-person schooling — nears, Olson said one of the health department’s biggest concerns is a fall surge of COVID-19 cases in Larimer County schools.
Children younger than 12 remained the only age group without an approved COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday.
Since the Delta variant became dominant in Colorado last month, 45 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 17 probable cases have been reported among children under the age of 11 in Larimer County, according to the county’s case data. The youngest person to get COVID-19 in that time was 1-year-old.
Larimer County has not experienced any juvenile deaths related to COVID-19 infection.
When school does start this fall, the county hopes to see 60% of high school-age children have at least one vaccine dose. About 47% of that age group — ages 14-17 — had received one dose of the vaccine as of Monday.
For middle schoolers, the county is shooting for a one-dose vaccination rate of 45%, up from its current 27%.
More information on the fate of masks in schools this fall is expected next week, Larimer County Public Health Director Tom Gonzales said Monday.
Despite the recent bump in COVID-19 cases, Gonzales said Larimer County likely won’t have to revert back to any of the restrictions imposed during the height of the pandemic, citing a good handle on COVID-19 hospitalization rates.
Erin Udell reports on news, culture, history and more for the Coloradoan. Contact her at ErinUdell@coloradoan.com. The only way she can keep doing what she does is with your support. If you subscribe, thank you. If not, sign up for a digital subscription to the Coloradoan today.