The rate of new cases of COVID-19 in Montezuma County continues to decline, but deaths have increased, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
CDPHE reported 95 new cases from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31, a decrease of 50% compared with the previous two weeks.
From Dec. 3 to Dec. 17, 189 new cases were reported. The rate of new cases in November also declined.
The two-week average positivity rate is 6.4% for the county, and 61% of residents ages five and older have been immunized with the COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, 70% of those eligible have been fully immunized.
Deaths from COVID-19 are increasing. Seventeen deaths have been attributed to the virus in Montezuma County as of Dec. 31, up from 14 on Nov. 29.
Of positive cases, 54 died with the COVID, but the virus was not the cause of death. A month ago, 47 died with the disease.
Health officials are concerned about the new, more contagious omicron variant, which spreads more rapidly.
Omicron has not been confirmed in Montezuma County, but it is likely here, said Marc Meyer, director of Pharmacy Services and Infection Control at Southwest Health System, based in Cortez.
Of the COVID-19 samples genetically tested Dec. 19 by the CDPHE, 91% were the omicron variant.
“Because it spreads so fast, there is the potential for a lot of people to sick all at once,” Meyer said.
The 25-bed Southwest Memorial Hospital has had five to seven COVID patients every day over the past two months, he said.
There are 12 active outbreaks in Montezuma County, including two new outbreaks at the Cortez Walmart and the Vista Grande Nursing Home. CDPHE defines an outbreak of COVID-19 as five or more positive tests at a single location within 14 days.
- On Dec. 6, the Cortez Wal-Mart reported 15 staff members had tested positive.
- On Nov. 21, the Vista Grande Inn nursing home reported one resident and six staff had tested positive.
- On Nov. 5, Manaugh Elementary School reported four staff members and seven students had tested positive.
- On Nov. 5, Mancos Elementary School reported two staff and eight students had tested positive.
- On Nov. 5, Children’s Kiva Montessori School reported three staff and nine students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 29, Mesa Elementary School reported three staff and four students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 22, the Cortez Public Works Department reported eight staff members had tested positive.
- On Oct. 8, Dolores Elementary School reported three staff and 10 students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 4, Dolores Middle School reported four staff and 31 students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 1, Cortez Middle School reported seven staff members and 37 students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 1, Kemper Elementary reported four staff members and 18 students had tested positive.
- On Oct. 1, Montezuma-Cortez High School reported 15 staff members and 29 students had tested positive.