YC’s increased cases catch state’s attention

State health officials have been in contact with Yuma County in regards to the increase in COVID-19 cases over the past month, and Wray High School is on remote learning for two weeks, in the ongoing saga of the novel coronavirus.

Wray School District RD-2 made the announcement on its Facebook page Monday morning that it had received its first positive case within the high school. Contact tracing was being done to identify those who need to be quarantined.
It announced a little later that the high school would be on remote learning until October 16, but PreK-8 would continue normal classes. Superintendent Levi Kramer said the decision was made due to not having staff for in-person instruction, not because of a high number of cases.
Yuma High School spent two weeks on remote learning last month. The district as a whole ended up with 11 positive cases.
As of earlier this week, Yuma County was identified as one of 14 counties — which also included Washington and Logan counties — that need to bring their average of two-week cases down, or possibly increase restrictions, according to the state’s color-coded dial framework.
Yuma County was one of four exceeding a 5-percent positivity rate, Adams, Grand and Summit being the others. Plus, Lincoln County had topped 15 percent. The YHS softball team played last Saturday in Limon, situated in Lincoln County, and the football team’s season opener is there Monday night.
County Administrator Andrea Calhoon confirmed Tuesday that the county had received a letter from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) asking the county to develop a mitigation and containment plan to address the increased numbers.
Yuma County had an “estimated” 60 active cases as of the October 5 update on the Northeast Colorado Health Department’s online dashboard.
The county had 77 new cases over the past 30 days (an increase of 73), 54 over the last 14 days, and 17 over the last seven days. The seven-day increase was 20 less than the previous seven-day period.
The 54 cases over a 14-day period was an increase of 33, and the test positivity was 6.2 percent.
However, most importantly, hospitalizations have remained low.
Calhoon said the state focuses on the 14-day average, allowing a bit more flexibility. She noted that many of the active cases were set to expire Tuesday or Wednesday, so county leaders were waiting to see if the active case count recedes a bit.
As for the state’s request for a mitigation and containment plan, Calhoon said the Yuma County COVID-19 Task Force already had one. A couple of tweaks were made to it last week under the advisement of Trish McClain from the NCHD.
McClain submitted it on behalf of the county to the CDPHE on Tuesday. Calhoon said McClain explained it is more of a cooperative process with the state, rather than the state ruling with an iron fist. The state might counter with some additional efforts and requests. It likely will be a couple of days for the county to hear back from the CDPHE.
“Our conversation with the state centers around the fact that our local plans identified and responded to increased numbers quickly and appropriately, so while our numbers are up, we were able to limit spread in most instances and our hospitalizations remain low,” Calhoon explained in an email.
Through October 5, Washington County had nine new cases, over the 14-day period, and a total of 12 active cases. Test positivity had decreased significantly to 3.9 percent.

Testing procedures
The Yuma and Wray hospital districts now are following CDC guidelines asking people to wait between five to seven days after exposure to COVID-19 to get tested. People also are asked to stay at home during that time.
If a test is done before that timeframe, one likely will get a negative result which may turn positive at a later time. Plus, it is wasting precious resources locally if one gets tested too soon.
In response to a question on its Facebook page, the Wray Community District Hospital explained: “I think it is important to understand that health experts are still learning about COVID. Locally, we do our best in following the most recent recommendations to keep everyone safe. Current recommendations:
When contagious after exposure: Day 2
When symptoms start: average day 5-6 but can be anywhere from day 3-13.
Best time to test after exposure: Day 8 -accuracy sharply declines before day 5 and after 3 weeks.
This information is the purpose for quarantine for 14 days after exposure regardless of test results.