COVID-19 death toll rises again in Grand County |

COVID-19 death toll rises again in Grand County

This graph shows the one week cumulative number of new cases depicted by the green line and the two week number in black. The tan bars represent the number of new cases by day, showing COVID-19 cases have risen sharply in Grand County since July.
Grand County COVID-19 monitoring dashboard

Two Grand County residents have died from COVID-19 in the last seven days.

On Tuesday, Grand County Public Health Director Abbie Baker confirmed to commissioners that local COVID deaths have doubled in the last week by jumping from two to four.

Baker said that while the vaccination status of those who died due to COVID-19 was recorded, that information couldn’t be shared to protect patient information. No additional information was given.

Two other residents have died because of COVID-19 complications since the pandemic began. The first death in the county was reported in November 2020 and the second in January.

The county has reported another four deaths with COVID-19, but local officials have determined those deaths were not caused by COVID-19. Altogether, the county has reported eight deaths from and with COVID-19.

However, Baker said the state has the COVID-19 death count at 10 in Grand County, which combines deaths due to and deaths with COVID.

But the state’s reporting also includes two gunshot wound deaths in which the individuals had tested positive for COVID-19 before dying. Grand County does not include those two individuals in its counts of COVID-19 deaths.

On Tuesday, as the county’s health department was reporting the second death in the last seven days, some county commissioners took solace in the fact that Grand hasn’t seen more deaths due to COVID-19.

“Truly, isn’t that really good? Four deaths out of the last 18 months,” Commissioner Merrit Linke said.

Baker agreed that while no deaths would be ideal, severe illness has been limited in Grand County during the pandemic.

Hospitalizations have also been on the rise locally. On Friday, the health department reported nine hospitalizations due to COVID-19. According to Baker, seven of those people were not vaccinated.

“We’ve seen more hospitalizations in the last 30 days than we’ve seen in a while,” Baker told commissioners.

Seven hospitalizations have occurred within the last two weeks, meaning 6.67% of COVID-19 cases have resulted in hospitalizations in Grand County during that same time period.

Statewide vaccine breakthrough reporting has found that unvaccinated people are four times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 and nearly six times more likely to die.

An increased number of COVID hospitalizations across the state is a growing concern with 209 ICU beds available in Colorado as of Friday morning, according to state reporting.

When it comes to ICU bed capacity, Grand County is part of the Foothills RETAC Region with Boulder, Gilpin, Clear Creek and Jefferson counties. As of Sunday, only 17% of ICU beds — 47 beds — in the region were available. Two regions in southern Colorado have no ICU beds available at all.

There have been 43 COVID-19 cases reported in Grand County over the last seven days, and there are three active outbreaks.

“We actually are higher than we were at this time last year,” Baker warned of case rates.

As of Tuesday, 63.3% of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Baker reiterated that vaccination is the best way to avoid severe illness, hospitalization and potentially death from COVID-19.

For individuals who choose not to get a vaccine, public health strongly recommends layering other prevention strategies, including indoor masking, social distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home when ill.

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