COVID-19 Response Press Releases
In April, 2020, the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) Board of Health signed a resolution declaring a local public health emergency for the special district of the Northeast Colorado Health Department. During their board meeting on June 23, 2021, the board rescinded the resolution.
In Colorado and within Northeast Colorado Health Department’s s six county health district, COVID-19 cases are increasing, and hospitalizations are also on the rise. According to Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado State Epidemiologist, half of these new cases are the B.1.1.7 variant, a strain first discovered in the U.K., and is more contagious and associated with more severe symptoms. This is not the only variant of the original COVID-19 virus the state lab is tracking. Variants will continue to be a concern as long as we give the virus an opportunity to evolve and allow it to transmit from person to person. Our best defense against this scenario is to quickly get a majority of the population vaccinated, eliminating the progression of the disease.
Are you thinking about getting a COVID-19 vaccination? In making your decision, it is important to gather all of the information needed and weigh the benefits versus the risks. It is known that not everyone will be able to get vaccinated due to special health conditions that prevent them from receiving the vaccine, but there are many more that are eligible to get vaccinated. Of those, some may still be waiting for a variety of reasons. If you are considering getting the vaccine, there are several benefits to the COVID-19 vaccinated including immunity and protection for those you love.
Beginning Friday, April 2nd Colorado will move to Phase 2 of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution allowing everyone age 16 and older to be vaccinated. There has been a lot of information in the news recently on the COVID-19 vaccines and they have been proven safe and effective. Yet there are some individuals who may not be eligible to get vaccinated or may need to visit with their healthcare provider prior to getting vaccinated.
On March 5, 2021 with the guidance of Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) began vaccinating Coloradan’s in Phase 1B.3 of the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution plan. To mark that occasion, NCHD hosted an on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic, also known as a Point of Dispensing, or POD, at Cargill Protein in Fort Morgan, on Friday and Saturday, March 5 and 6. If you are the decision maker or owner of a grocery or agriculture facility located in one of these counties and would like to offer employee vaccinations, please visit https://www.nchd.org/covid-19-vaccine, click on the “Agriculture and Grocery POD Inquiry Form” button. Fill out and submit the pop-up form and an NCHD COVID-19 Response Coordinator will be in contact to discuss employee vaccination options.
There are now three vaccines available with FDA Emergency Use Authorization and soon all adults over 18 will have the opportunity to be vaccinated. Now is the time to become more educated on these vaccines, the possible side effects and why this is all good news for our immune system and our community as a whole.
While the COVID-19 vaccine won’t end the pandemic overnight, and we will all still have to follow public health protocols for a while longer, each vaccination will move us closer to doing the things we miss most. A lot of people are excited to get vaccinated and local vaccine providers are excited to administer the vaccine. However, there are limited doses at this time and all vaccine providers must work through the phases and protocols outlined by state health officials. We continue to ask everyone to have patience, as NCHD and our healthcare partners work hard to get the vaccine to everyone who wants it as soon as we can.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) and other local vaccine providers are now beginning to provide 2nd doses to those individuals who received their initial dose in December. Colorado continues to follow the CDC recommended schedule of 21 days after the first shot for Pfizer and 28 days after the first shot for Moderna. It is important to get both doses of the vaccine so that your body develops enough antibodies to fight the COVID-19 virus if you get exposed at a later time.
Today's vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, are developed and tested to ensure they are safe and effective. Tests and trials are conducted to evaluate immunity, safety and how long the immunity lasts. Before pharmaceutical companies produce the vaccine for public use, the vaccine must go through four clinical trial phases and receive approval from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has moved all counties that had been situated at Level Red on the COVID-19 Dial, to Level Orange. This change went into effect on January 4, 2021, at 12:00 pm, and brings with it a lower level of restrictions for businesses, gatherings, etc.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been long-awaited, and now that it is here a lot of people are excited to get it. At the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD), we are just as excited to administer the vaccine to help end the pandemic. However, in order to utilize our limited doses in as thoughtful a way as possible, we must work through the phases and protocols outlined by state health officials.
There was new hope on ending the pandemic in Northeast Colorado today as the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) conducted its first COVID-19 vaccine clinic, also known as a Point of Dispensing or POD. NCHD has been planning for the implementation of PODs since last summer and is excited to begin the process of providing vaccination to everyone who wants to be vaccinated. It will likely be a few more months before enough vaccine is available for the general public. Until then, we all need to continue do our part by continuing to wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and limit the size of gatherings.
12-28 Coping with Fatigue
Many have grown weary of the limits placed on activities and the extra steps required to follow the precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic. These precautions are important to protect your health and the health of others, but they can be hard to sustain for months on end. However, giving in to that weariness and letting down your guard has consequences. How do we sustain safe behaviors when our emotions are tempting us to abandon them?
A much needed, long awaited COVID-19 vaccine has arrived. A vaccine that has been in the making since the start of the pandemic, really just a little over 9 months. However, scientists have been puzzling out how to safely and effectively accelerate the development of a vaccine in case of a pandemic since 2017.
It’s crazy to think that the holidays are already upon us. We are 24 days away from Christmas, opening presents and enjoying the delicious cookies and milk. This is also a time to be cautious about our bubble of contacts and the ripple effect that each interaction has. During the next month we really want to encourage people to be careful when shopping, attending or hosting gatherings, traveling and preparing food.
Although a number of mitigation plans were initiated in the hopes of reducing the amount of COVID cases, those actions haven’t done enough to lower the number of COVID cases and as of 5 p.m. Friday November 20th, Logan, Morgan and Washington counties will move on the COVID-19 Dial to the newly restructured Level Red. As the cases increase, we have begun to see a stress on our local healthcare systems including hospitals and long term care facilities. The new level will place more restrictions and requirements on our community and businesses in order to try and reduce that stress. Between now and the first of December, we are asking our communities to unite and work to reduce the spread of this devastating virus.
The Washington County commissioners were notified on November 6th by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, that the county has been moved back to Level Orange on the COVID-19 Safer-at-Home Dial. Washington County had been situated at Level Yellow since the dial was initially introduced. Because of the significant increase in case numbers over the past month, the county has been moved to Level Orange: High Risk. This means a greater level of restrictions and requirements are in place effective Monday. This also means that the variances the county had previously gotten approved are now revoked. Specifics can be found by visiting: https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial.
The Morgan County commissioners were notified on November 6th by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, that the county has been moved back to Level Orange on the COVID-19 Safer-at-Home Dial. Morgan County had been situated at Level Yellow since the dial was initially introduced. Because of the significant increase in case numbers over the past month, the county has been moved to Level Orange: High Risk. This means a greater level of restrictions and requirements are in place effective immediately. Specifics can be found by visiting:
The Yuma County COVID-19 Task Force had a meeting on Friday, October 30th with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the Northeast Colorado Health Department, to discuss how the county is doing with their metrics on the COVID-19 Dial. The Task Force talked with CDPHE about the steps that the county is taking to keep the numbers down and how they can get from level 2 where they are currently, back up to level 1 where they were before.
It is that time of year, its Halloween. Time for endless candy and tummy aches and faces covered in chocolate. This year Halloween is going to be a little different, but we still get to enjoy our traditions of Trick-or-Treating.
It’s important to follow best practices to help prevent the virus from spreading. Wear a mask that fully covers your nose and mouth, wash your hands frequently, and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from people outside your household. In the rest of the article, you will find some guidance for doing Halloween in our neck of the woods.
10-23 Step up and Step up Now
The rate of COVID-19 cases is increasing at an alarming rate across much of Colorado. There are currently 35 counties outside of their assigned metrics on the CDPHE COVID-19 Dial (https://covid19.colorado.gov/data/covid-19-dial). If the upcoming two weeks have the same rate of growth in hospitalizations that occurred the previous two weeks, Colorado will reach the same April-peak level of hospitalizations in early November. The time to make the numbers go down is closing fast and it doesn’t leave us much time to step up and slow the spread. In addition, it also does not help that we are beginning to see higher levels before we encounter holidays, flu season, increased indoor activity, and other factors that introduce even more risk than what we are currently experiencing.
According to the Colorado Department of Public health and Environment, Logan County has been moved back one level on the COVID-19 Safer-at-Home Dial. Logan County had been situated at Level 2 since the dial was initially introduced. Because of the significant increase in case numbers over the past month, the county has been moved to Level 3: High Risk. This means a greater level of restrictions and requirements are in place effective immediately. Specifics can be found by visiting:
10-16 Change the Atmosphere
The atmosphere of COVID-19 has been “do this and do that,” and that will stop the spread of COVID-19. But why? Why does a mask work? Why does wearing a mask in a business matter?
Think about it: wearing a mask puts you in control of your droplets. It puts you in control of what you spread and what you don’t spread. Wearing a mask stops you from spreading your droplets, whether they have COVID-19 in them or not, to someone else around you. As community members, you have the power to stop this. You have the ability to make the numbers in your community go down; you have the power to change the atmosphere in your community.
COVID-19 is still causing increasing issues in some of our counties. COVID-19 has taken loved ones, changed many of our lives, and it’s not asking for our opinion. We at NCHD are calling upon everyone to do their part. We aren’t asking as your health department; we are asking you as your fellow community members to put your community spirit on display and lead by example.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous disruptions to our lives and this has increased stress responses on all levels for individuals, families, organizations and communities. We are all experiencing losses. Cancellations of special events are difficult. Individuals who are in a high risk group are challenged with having to continue to isolate at home and missing the social contact and relationships they had a few months ago. The loss may differ among individuals but each loss hurts. Not only have there been losses over the past few months but there is also anticipatory grief. What does the future hold? What will remain the same and what will never be the same again?
Sterling, Colo – September 23, 2020: It is with heavy hearts that the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) announces that we have been notified of a death in Yuma County caused by COVID-19. We are working with medical providers and other Yuma County leaders as well as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to investigate the details of this unfortunate situation.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department would like to invite you to look at our new COVID-19 data dashboard. This new dashboard has been in the works for several months. The COVID-19 dashboard has been developed by an internal team at NCHD, consisting of a data analyst, epidemiologist, and an external consultant.
The goal of the COVID-19 dashboard project is to make COVID-19 data as easy to access as possible. NCHD built the dashboard to ensure our residents can quickly find out the most current information about the impact of COVID-19 in our communities.
Throughout history there have been numerous pandemics. The influenza pandemic of 1918 was the most severe, worldwide pandemic in recent history. In the United States, it was first identified in military personnel in the spring of 1918 and mortality was high. With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, wearing face coverings and limitations of public gatherings. Case investigation and contact tracing is another important intervention that has been used for decades by state and local health departments to interrupt the spread of infectious diseases (i.e., syphilis, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis) and prevent outbreaks. The goal of contact tracing is to stop or limit the transmission by finding everyone an infected person has been in contact with, quarantining them and possibly testing them, especially if they have symptoms.
Since the beginning of the 19th century, deleting disease has been the goal for public health around the world and now is no exception. In fact, COVID-19 has added even more importance to getting vaccinations to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases and reducing the stress on our healthcare system during the upcoming cold and flu season. You may be wondering is it safe to get immunized right now? Policies are in place at hospitals, doctor offices and clinics to ensure the safety of all visitors including those needing immunizations. More than any other, 2020 is the year, that everyone needs to be up to date on their immunizations and since August is National Immunization Month, it’s a good time to talk about what is needed and why.
People often have questions related to COVID-19 testing and the process behind it. Testing is a crucial part of treating and limiting the spread. There are three kinds of tests available for COVID-19: PCR, antigen and antibody tests.
You have probably heard a lot about contact tracing, which is the process the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) uses to contact people that have tested positive or been exposed to someone with COVID-19, instructing them to quarantine or isolate and monitor their symptoms daily. However, it has come to our attention that scammers, claiming to be employees of the health department are either texting or calling residents asking for personal information or money.
Report scams at StopFraudColorado.gov or 1-800-222-4444
It is with great sadness that the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) announces the notification of a confirmed death associated with COVID-19 in a Sedgwick County resident.
Summer is in full swing and COVID-19 cases have been low for our six county health district. Over all, cases have decreased since the mid-May and for several days in June, we didn’t have any new reported cases for several days. However, recently we are seeing an uptick in cases here in northeast Colorado and statewide, while neighboring states such as New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are experiencing very severe outbreaks. Nationally, case increases are attributed to young adults participating in risky behavior, while about 1/3 of new cases in our district are related to people traveling to attend funerals, weddings and other gatherings. So in order to keep our community safe and our local economy strong, we need to reverse this trend by continuing to be vigilant and smart about how and when we attend activities and events. Nevertheless, how do you measure the risks involved?
The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been working closely with the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners, Emergency Manager and Sedgwick County Memorial Hospital in response to the recent positive COVID-19 cases within the County. Ultimately, social distancing, wearing face coverings in public settings, and good hand hygiene are powerful tools to help prevent infection. By using these tools consistently, we can continue to enjoy more of a “normal” existence while still protecting our families, friends, and neighbors.
NCHD wants to encourage our communities to keep in mind that COVID-19 is a worldwide health crisis and while we all agree that mask wearing can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, it is also a small act of kindness we can do to help our community, our economy and ourselves.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has identified the first positive COVID-19 test result in a Sedgwick County resident through the Colorado Electronic Disease Reporting System. Case investigations are in process and NCHD will be contacting anyone determined to have had direct contact with any individual(s) who have tested positive for COVID-19. In order to protect the privacy of the individuals, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public.
While it might seem like we’ve been in collective quarantine forever, Covid-19 has only been present in humans for just over 6 months. COVID-19 is still a very new disease that shares a familial strain with the seasonal flu, but is not flu. Health professionals and scientists agree that there is still a lot to learn about this disease.
There has been a lot of discussion around COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing but what is it and why is it so important now that our counties are reopening? Case investigation and contact tracing is valuable in protecting friends, family, and community members from future disease spread and potential outbreaks. The concept of tracing the origin of a disease is nothing new. In fact, it was a major factor to beating smallpox and polio and has been a core disease control measure to prevent the spread of many infectious diseases throughout the 20th century and is still utilized today for tuberculosis, H1N1, HIV, Measles, E.coli and sexually transmitted infections, among many others.
As our counties begin to re-open and we have access to more options and opportunities, it is exciting to start participating and doing some normal things again. However, participating in a cautious way is important. It’s good to remember that COVID-19 is a new virus that scientists have not seen before, it is highly contagious without a cure and is still very much in our communities. We have all heard this statement, “wear your mask and stay back 6 feet” in every article and from every television report, but WHY? Here is the WHY behind masks and social distancing.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges as well as questions. The terms ‘pandemic’ and ‘epidemic’ are being used but what do these words mean? An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease within a community, population or region at a particular time while a pandemic is a global outbreak. Pandemics happen when a new virus emerges to infect people and spreads between people because there is little or no pre-existing immunity against the new virus. A pandemic is an epidemic that travels. For example, when COVID-19 was limited to Wuhan, China, it was an epidemic and then when it geographically spread it turned into a pandemic. Anxiety often results from a sense of what we think we should be able to control, but can’t. Our mental health can suffer. It is important to remember that we can always choose our response. If you are struggling, here are some things you can do to take care of yourself and your mental health as we face uncertainty.
The pandemic of COVID-19 is creating a lot of stress for individuals, families, organizations and communities. There are steps all of us can take to cope with the stress of COVID-19 that will make us stronger. We all respond differently based on our background, personality as well as the community we live in and specific circumstances. Taking care of yourself, your family and friends can help you cope with the stress. Helping others cope with their stress can help make the entire community stronger. Elderly or medically higher risk adults, teens and children have specific needs that may need to be addressed.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the national focus has turned to concern about the strength of the food supply chain. Having multiple critical businesses that are associated with food processing in our six-county (Logan, Morgan, Phillips, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma) health district, Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) is continuing to work closely with each business to provide technical support and guidance to improve staff protection from infection so that they can safely remain open. One such facility that is at the forefront of state and national attention is the Cargill meat processing facility located in Fort Morgan.
It is with heavy hearts that the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) announces that we have been notified of 3 confirmed deaths, one each in Logan, Morgan and Yuma Counties that are associated with COVID-19 and additional deaths may be attributed to COVID-19 pending further review. Case investigations are ongoing.
In recent days there has been a sudden increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases reported to the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD). There are several factors to consider when viewing the numbers of positive COVID-19 cases on NCHD’s website.
On Monday, Governor Polis extended the Stay-At-Home order through April 26. Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) wants to remind everyone that although we are embarking on Easter weekend and concluding Holy Week, it’s extremely important to continue to comply with the Stay-At-Home Order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
An updated Public Health Order (PHO) implementing stay at home requirements was issued on Thursday, April 1, 2020. NCHD is actively providing information to reduce confusion around this PHO. The intent of this PHO is to minimize the number of people exposed to this virus in our communities and workplaces and preserve critical emergency and healthcare capacity across the State of Colorado.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) began monitoring the novel coronavirus in early January 2020. As more information became available, our emergency preparedness and communicable disease staff implemented our preparedness plan to ensure all systems were in place to respond to the pandemic. In February and early March, our response preparedness activities included sharing health alerts with our local healthcare partners, updating contact lists, monitoring and sharing guidance from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).
On March 25, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) amended the Public Health Order closing all Colorado bars, restaurants, theaters, gymnasiums, casinos, noncritical personal services facilities, and horse track and off-track betting facilities to include all businesses except critical businesses outlined by the order. The order also forbids gatherings of people and mandated those that are sick or have been exposed to the virus to self-isolate or quarantine to protect the public health.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of the first positive COVID-19 test result in a Phillips County resident. Melissa Memorial Hospital collected the sample and sent it for testing.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) wants to remind everyone that isolation and quarantine are serious steps taken to protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick. Generally, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for quarantine and isolation.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of another positive COVID-19 test result in a Logan County resident. The sample was collected at the Haxtun Hospital District and sent for testing. Case investigation is in process. In order to protect the privacy of the individuals, identifying information and medical records will not be released to the public. This brings the total number of cases for northeast Colorado to 12 (Logan County (5), Morgan County (4), Washington County (1) and Yuma County (2). There are no confirmed cases in Phillips and Sedgwick Counties.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of the first positive COVID-19 test result in one Washington County resident as well as a second Yuma County resident.
3-24 Mental Wellness
During the past few weeks, the Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has repeated the messages about how everyone
can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus including abiding by the public health order to practice social distancing, washing your hands and staying home if you are sick in order to keep our community healthy. However, it’s not just your physical health that you
need to be mindful of, but also your mental wellness as well. There are steps we can all take to promote our mental wellness during a stressful time such as this.
The Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) Board of Health has signed a resolution declaring a local public health emergency for the special district of the Northeast Colorado Health Department.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of the first two positive COVID-19 test results in Logan County.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of a positive COVID-19 test result in a Morgan County resident. This is the first positive COVID-19 test result in Morgan County but it is the second positive test result for northeast Colorado.
Northeast Colorado Health Department (NCHD) has been notified of a positive COVID-19 test result in a Yuma County resident. At this time the person is not hospitalized but in appropriate isolation and is recovering at home
There are currently no COVID-19 positive test results within the six counties served by the Northeast Colorado Health Department. While there are people across the entire state of Colorado being tested at this time, not everyone is being tested. Many physicians are following the testing guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Resources need to be thoughtfully used during this critical time. And those individuals who are screened and found to be at the highest risk are the ones who will be prioritized for testing.