BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- The number of Coloradans sick with COVID-19 has tripled in recent weeks. The 7-day average has gone from 302 people with COVID on March 26 to more than 1,000 in early May.
“We’ve been seeing cases trending upwards for the past four weeks or so,” says Carol Helwig, the Communicable Disease Epidemiology Program Manager at Boulder County Public Health. “Transmission is increasing, although it’s increasing more so related to cases,”
She says rising COVID cases may push Boulder County into the CDC’s “Medium Community Level.”
The Community Level system was set up as a guideline for communities so they know what measures to take to prevent hospitals from becoming overrun. Helwig says Boulder County is headed in the wrong direction.
“Cases increasing always precede the hospitalizations increasing,” she said.
If the spread hasn’t slowed by Wednesday evening, Helwig says they are ready to reinstate masking in correctional facilities and nursing homes Thursday. She also says Boulder County residents should make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations and boosters and should talk to their doctor about ways to keep safe.
“None of us want to get the disease and we also don’t know about the impacts of long COVID,” she said.
Boulder County isn’t alone. State epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy says cases are up statewide.
“We’re seeing an increase in cases. We’re seeing an increase in test percent positivity, our wastewater surveillance data which is one of our newer tools is also seeing an increase,” said Herlihy.
She also says most Coloradans are protected by immunity from vaccines or getting the virus itself. Still, right now might be a good time to boost your immunity if need be.
“We know that vaccination continues to be the best way to protect yourself,” she said.
Masks aren’t mandatory anywhere in the state, but Helwig and Herlihy say Coloradans should consider wearing one because it will protect their health.
“Even though it’s not required. It’s a good idea at this time to wear a mask if you’re going to be in a group setting,” Helwig said.
According to the CDC’s website with rising COVID cases, it’s also a good idea to have a testing plan in place. That means having some rapid tests on hand and researching where you can get a traditional COVID test in case you start feeling ill.