Eagle County reports more than 8,200 total doses of vaccine distributed
Local public health officials anxiously await state approval to widen eligible population
Eagle County public health officials believe by week’s end, any county resident who is currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and who has registered to do so, will have received a first shot.
During his weekly update to the Eagle County Board of Commissioners, Eagle County Emergency Management Director Birch Barron noted that more than 8,200 vaccinations have been administered locally.
“That is an incredible effort considering the first vaccine dose was given three weeks ago,” he noted.
Currently vaccination is limited to residents in group 1A — front-line medical workers, EMS personnel, law enforcement and residents age 70 and older. The county is now awaiting approval from the state of Colorado to proceed to group 1B, which includes front-line essential workers including teachers, grocery store employees, public transit workers and others.
“There are so many groups in our community that are still incredibly high risk who are not yet eligible for vaccine,” Barron said. “I want to make sure those people get vaccinated in a priority list as soon as we can.”
He noted vaccine supply is limited, but he county continues to receive its weekly allotment. The amount the county receives each week reflects the number of people who have signed up for vaccination and who are currently eligible. For this week, Eagle County received 832 doses of vaccine, with just over half of the shipment dedicated to second doses. When the state makes the determination to expand the eligibility pool, Barron said the county will be ready to act.
To sign up for vaccination, eligible residents can visit the county’s registration website or call 970-328-9750. County officials are confident the system will effectively meet the community need as vaccination eligibility expands.
After registering, residents are contacted for a vaccination appointment. Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry noted that locally, vaccination clinic officials report that nearly all of the people who make appointments ultimately show up to get vaccinated.
Because local health officials don’t yet know what the priority groups will be for the next round of vaccination, only currently eligible residents can register for vaccination. The county’s one exception is people who are between the ages of 65 and 69. Those residents can register but are not yet eligible.
Barron noted that not all areas of the state have had as much success vaccinating their eligible populations and Colorado officials don’t want to have a situation where some counties are vaccinating populations that are not high risk when other counties are still working to get vaccine out to high risk people. That’s why the determination about when counties can branch out is left to the state.
As local vaccination numbers climb, COVID-19 spread in the community has leveled off. But disease numbers remain high.
There were 434 COVID-19 cases reported in Eagle County over the past two weeks and the county remains in Level Orange on the state’s risk meter.
“Across a lot of the country and across Colorado, we are seeing decreases in COVID-19 cases,” Barron said. “We are on a pretty steady three-week decline.”
But Barron also noted that Eagle County’s COVID-19 fatality number now sits at 17 and six of those deaths occurred in the last two months of 2020.
“One of the things these deaths make clear to me … is we are starting to see the true toll of the spike we saw in November,” Barron said. “The toll of this crisis is still very present.”
For more information on COVID-19 and the vaccine rollout, visit eaglecountycovid.org