MINERAL COUNTY- Mineral County Commissioners renewed the emergency declaration during their meeting Dec. 7 and heard an update on COVID-19 in the area from Silver Thread Public Health District Director Tara Harding. Harding began her presentation with current COVID-19 numbers in both Hinsdale and Mineral County stating that Mineral County has one active positive case and zero pending test results as of the morning of Monday, Dec. 7.
“Quick update on our numbers is one active and zero pending. We do have increased testing capabilities. Vaccines should be arriving in Colorado sometime between Dec. 15 and 17. It is a much lower amount than we originally anticipated, it was much lower than we thought. We did not opt for the ultra-cold storage for the vaccine, we are opting to take whatever vaccine we can get. We have a tabletop exercise scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16, to determine how we will distribute the vaccine.”
Harding also stated that the department is working on spending the CARES Act funding that was received earlier this year. “We received some funding through the CARES Act and another allotment through CDPHE for rural frontier communities. Both of those expire Dec. 30 so we have been working to spend some of that funding down. We have been purchasing PPE for both communities and contracted out for improved websites to make our communications a little bit easier so that hopefully we can start directing people to our website and have additional information and an easier way for people to look up our COVID numbers and get more information on that.”
Harding continued stating that the department is also purchasing supplies for vaccine distribution and that the vaccine will be available in tiers beginning with health care workers. “We have been working with both school districts deciding on how to handle increased travel risks during the holidays and monitoring student and staff health and offering, if they want, the rapid tests upon reentry after the holiday break.”
Harding spoke briefly about working with Wolf Creek Ski Resort and providing guidance to the resort to ensure safety while they are open for the season. “We have been providing guidance to the resort in regard to employees and symptomatic employees even though they are not in our county. The resort is a big driver in our economic viability for our county, so we have been working with them hand-in-hand.”
Harding finished stating that their main push right now is around the safety of the upcoming vaccine and how they will be distributing it once it has been released. “The big push right now is around the vaccine and the efficiency of how the vaccine works. We are promoting and keeping the community aware on how it will work.”
The county switched to orange status on the State’s COVID -19 dial in an effort to remain proactive in their response to COVID. Mineral County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate dropped from 5.6% to 4.3% over the past week. Active cases continue to rise in the San Luis Valley which Dec. 8 had 28 COVID-19 related deaths and 17 COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the Valley.