Yuma County cases keep dropping while going up everywhere else

Yuma County’s new cases of COVID-19 have dropped significantly in recent weeks, and a change in testing procedures and quicker results is being credited.

As of the November 12 update on the Northeast Colorado Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard, Yuma County’s estimated active cases had dropped from 82 on October 28 to 42 in just over two weeks. There still were 22 new cases over the 14-day period, but that still was a significant drop, and test positivity had dropped to 3.6 percent. There was a drop in new tests, but there still had been 249 over the 14-day period.
Over the seven-day period as of November 12, there 12 new cases with there being an increase in new tests to 160 over seven days.
There was one hospitalization in Yuma County as of earlier this week.
Yuma County remains on Level Yellow on the state’s COVID-19 dial, though Morgan and Washington counties joined Logan County on the more restrictive Level Orange, beginning this past Monday. The Burlington Record also reported that Kit Carson County would go to Level Orange this past Monday due to rising cases.
Members of the Yuma County COVID-19 Task Force credited people doing better about staying home with helping slow the spread.
Yuma County Administrator Andrea Calhoon and R.N. Jennifer Kramer with the Wray Community District Hospital, noted people that had been tested had to wait several days to more than one week for results, and were tending to still go out in public because they had little or no symptoms.
That likely led to spreading the virus before they received their results.
“I can’t say that I really blame them because they may only have a sore throat or congestion and they were being asked to stay home from work or school for sometimes over a week before results came back,” Kramer said.
State Health Department PCR tests have become delayed up to 11 days at times.
However, Wray Community District Hospital has added drive-thru antigen testing with same day results, for the cost of $35, as well in-house PCR testing with same day results, which is billed to insurance. Though those tests are not infallible, the same-day results have led to better compliance with quarantine and isolation recommendations.
WCDH is limited to 20 same-day tests per day, so is asking only people who are symtomatic or have been directly exposed be tested. Yuma County residents, and Wray Clinic patients that live outside the county get priority for the tests if demand increases. Kramer said people have from as Sterling and further away to get the same-day tests.
R.N. Beth Saxton, the CEO of Yuma District Hospital, said that facility always has tested only those who have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive. YDH continue to uses the CDPHE test kits, and the turnaround time has improved recently, currently being about five days. Patients are not charged for the testing. One must make an appointment. The testing is Monday through Friday, one session beginning at 8 a.m. and the other at 3 p.m.
Saxton said YDH is discussion changing up its testing process, but has not made a final decision yet.
“(We are) working through a few kinks while ensuring we meet the needs of all community members,” Saxton said.
While Yuma County has seen a positive trend lately, that is not the case everywhere in the region.
As mentioned above, neighboring Washington County moved to Level Orange beginning Monday.
As of Thursday’s NCHD update, a total of seven Washington County residents had been hospitalized with COVID-19 complications, though those hospitalizations are spread out in other counties, including some at Yuma District Hospital. (Yuma County shows one hospitalization, but hospitalizations are assigned to the county where the person resides, not where they are hospitalized.)
WashCo had 40 new cases over a 14-day period, and a test positivity of 14 percent. There was some exposure in the Otis schools again, resulting in the cancellation of last Friday’s high school football game, and the potential of Friday’s season finale also being called off. Otis’ opponent, Idalia, is just coming off a two-week quarantine/remote learning after cases cropped up in that school.
Morgan County also has moved to Level Orange after having 284 new cases in 14 days, an increase of 188 new cases from the previous 14-day period, as well as test positivity increasing more than 10 percent to 17.8 percent, and an uptick in hospitalizations to 14. Morgan County had 161 new cases in week, and a 21.6 percent test positivity during that time.
Logan County remains on Level Orange as its new cases continue to rise.
Phillips County remains on Level Yellow despite it experiencing 26 new cases in the past week, as of November 12. Sedgwick County also is at Level Yellow, and has seen its new cases level off after a big uptick in October.