Officials at San Miguel County Public Health say coronavirus cases are rising again at record rates, including within the Norwood population. County public information consultant Lindsey Mills told The Norwood Post on Sunday that the rise in positive cases is attributed to the holiday season, and likely has to do with both an influx of tourists but also local household gatherings.
She said now the county is seeing a lot of household spread.
“When one person gets infected, they’re spreading it to their household,” she said. “It’s a direct result of private gatherings.”
She said health officials are concerned people are relaxing under Level Orange, which gives restrictions of two households and no more than 10 people for social gatherings. She said it’s likely that folks are socializing more than the restrictions allow.
Mills added that twentysomethings, who work in the food and beverage industry, are also seeing a spike in cases.
On Saturday, the county announced 18 new cases with half of them being non-residents. Of those, she said not many were infected in the workplace, though. She said it’s mostly been traced to social spread in the last few days.
“The realization again is that it’s coming,” she said.
According to her, health officials tend to see spikes after holiday periods. She said this spike in positive cases could last a few days or a few weeks.
As of press time on Tuesday, nearly 600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed within San Miguel County. Two vaccination clinics happened at the Lone Cone Library last Thursday and Friday.
“The turnout was really solid,” Mills said. “We can confirm 120 doses alone were given last week in Norwood.”
Initially, the county had reserved 20 doses for Wright’s Mesa. The state allocated another 100 to public health that also arrived, making the total 120.
Mills said the vaccinations last week began for those ages 70 and over, but still included some of the folks in Phase 1A, like firefighters and EMTs, who didn’t get the shot initially. She said some wanted to hedge the risk of the vaccine before getting it themselves, or they had scheduling conflicts.
She said what’s next is continuing to move through the 70-plus age group, and public health is planning a vaccination clinic in Norwood and also Egnar on Feb. 4.
Over the next few weeks, public health is hoping to get a greater number of vaccine doses.
“Hopefully we start seeing greater allocations than 100,” she said. “The presumed trajectory of allocations should increase over coming weeks. Our allocation should increase as well.”
She said public health has demonstrated efficiency and functionality in running the vaccine clinics. She said if the county got 1,000 doses, public health is confident it could execute the distribution efficiently.
Soreness in arm where the vaccine is administered is the most consistent side effect that the county is seeing with the first dose. Second doses, since the Moderna vaccine requires two shots, begin next week. Mills said the consensus is that the second one “kicks the butt a little more.”