COVID numbers encouraging as state prepares new dial

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is proposing an update in the COVID-19 dial system, which it’s been using to balance COVID-19 containment and the need for guidance during the pandemic.

The proposed update — called Dial 2.0 — would have an impact on business operations and daily life for Coloradans.
As part of the proposed change, dial updates would be based on how many people are infected with COVID-19 coupled with the number of people who have been vaccinated. These updates are currently based on 14-day time periods. Under the new proposal, it would change to seven-day time periods.
Another potential update would include a smaller percentage of Coloradans needing to test positive for COVID-19 in order for a county to move to Level Yellow or Level Orange.
In counties with less than 20,000 people, the CDPHE would have the ability to determine what level they feel is suitable based on positivity rates.
However, it was unclear yet earlier this week exactly how the changes would impact Yuma County, as well as its neighbors in the region. Nearly all of the Colorado counties currently are at Orange Level.
Yuma County Administrator Andrea Calhoon noted earlier this week that the county’s COVID numbers were getting close to what was needed to move to Yellow Level — after just one week earlier expressing worry about the difficulty of getting to that level. Trish McClain with the Northeast Colorado Health Department is working on behalf of Yuma and the other counties to find out exactly how much negotiation room rural counties would have under the state’s new system.
Yuma County’s numbers mostly have continued to improve. According to the COVID-19 dashboard at nchd.org, as of February 1 the county had just 57 active cases, including 35 new cases over the past 14 days. However, the test positivity had increased to 8.6 percent.
The new threshold proposed by the state is a 7.5-percent test positivity rate.
However, if going by the seven-day metric, as proposed by the state, Yuma County had just nine new cases and a test positivity of 7.2 percent. There were two new hospitalizations this past week, and Yuma County now has 16 deaths attributed to COVID-19.
Washington County had only one new case over seven days, with a 1.2 test positivity, and had just nine estimated active cases.
The updated COVID dial will be announced by the state later this week.