Jefferson County in 'high risk' category for COVID-19

This bar chart produced by Jefferson County shows how rapidly the number of COVID cases is accelerating. The chart depicts the number of cases from May 3 to Oct. 3.

JEFFERSON — As Jefferson County surpasses 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the county’s health department is strongly urging every resident to play their part in reducing the spread of the virus.

The county is in a “high risk” category for COVID-19, according to Jefferson County Epidemiologist Samroz Jakvani.

The Jefferson County Health Department monitors many metrics to understand the activity and impact of the virus. Data shows the most significant contributor to the high rate of spread of coronavirus is a lack of adherence to essential public health guidelines.

The activity level of COVID-19 in Jefferson County is very high and requires the attention of every resident, Jakvani said. Over the past several weeks, the average daily case incidence, average weekly positivity rate and rate of community transmission have sustained at high values. The average daily case rate went from 16.5 at the beginning of September to 36.8 at the beginning of October, an overall high.

These trends are consistent across the state, with all counties experiencing a high or very high level of COVID-19 case activity.

The contact tracing and hospital capacities are becoming increasingly burdened, Jakvani said.

“We anticipate that infections will rise significantly during the winter season, so it is now more important than ever that we take action to reduce the spread of the virus so it is as low as possible going into the colder months,” Jakvani said. “In other words, the extent of the increase in COVID activity during winter will be a result of COVID activity prior to the winter season.”

County health officials are recommending mitigation measures to deal with the very high COVID-19 activity level. Those measures include no indoor gatherings outside of household members; 10 people or fewer for outdoor gatherings; consider take-out, curb side pick-up or delivery only for bars and restaurants; consider not opening salons and spas; consider allowing only essential workforce on site with active monitoring of symptoms, physical distancing and face coverings when feasible; consider only mail delivery and curbside pickup for retail businesses; and consider not opening except for minimum operations for gyms, campgrounds, and hotels and not hold festivals and sporting events.

The county is encouraging residents to take responsibility for the collective health of the community.

The health department is encouraging physically distancing of six feet; wearing a mask that covers the nose and chin; wash hands frequently; stay home if experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; and avoid indoor gatherings and limit outdoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

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