Variants of concern in Boulder County, increases in cases and infection rates among younger residents, Boulder County Public Health’s mask mandate update and vaccine efforts were the topics of discussion Wednesday during the county’s biweekly COVID-19 virtual community meeting.
County health officials also reported 127 new coronavirus cases, seven additional hospitalizations and no new deaths.
The 127 new cases reported Wednesday bring the county’s total cases to 21,304 and the seven new hospitalizations bring the county’s total to 734, with 22 residents currently hospitalized with coronavirus. Seven residents were discharged Tuesday after receiving COVID-19 treatment. The number of resident deaths remains at 250 for the 27th day.
Three variants of concern
Much of Wednesday’s discussion centered on the variants of concern detected in Boulder County residents. BCPH Dr. Chris Urbina said there are three different variants of concern detected in Boulder County residents for a total of 66 cases.
The B.1.1.7 variant of concern was detected in a Boulder County resident and announced by CDPHE on Jan. 13; this form of variant was first detected in the United Kingdom and thought to be highly contagious. According to Urbina, there have been a total of 42 B.1.1.7 cases among Boulder County residents since it was first detected in the county.
The B.1.427 variant of concern, previously named and reported as L452R but later renamed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was detected in a Boulder County resident and announced by CDPHE on Feb. 8; this form of variant was first detected in Denmark, but it changed slightly and came to Colorado from California. According to Urbina, there have been a total of 22 B.1.427 cases among Boulder County residents since it was first detected in the county.
The newest variant of concern, P.1 was detected in a Boulder County resident and announced by CDPHE on April 6; this form of variant was first detected in Brazil. According to Urbina, there have been a total of two P.1 cases among Boulder County residents since it was first detected in the county. He also said these two cases are still under investigation with CDPHE to determine the origins and travel histories of the two persons it was detected in.
The breakdown of the 66 variants of concern cases detected in Boulder County residents are:
- B.1.1.7: 42 cases,
- B.1.427 (previously named and reported as L452R): 22 cases,
- P.1: 2 cases.
A fourth variant detected in Colorado, but not yet detected among Boulder County residents is B.1.351; this form of variant was first detected in South Africa.
Increases of cases, infection rates among younger residents
BCPH interim Executive Director Lexi Nolen briefly went through the county’s COVID-19 dashboard and data. Nolen presented a slide indicating the seven-day positivity rate in Boulder County is 5.3%. She also told attendees the county has seen 11 days of decreasing and stabilizing hospitalizations, which keeps Boulder County in Level Yellow “concern” on the state’s new 3.0 COVID-19 dial.
Nolen also quickly mentioned the uptick in cases among younger persons in the county and presented a slide showing similar trends in other counties in the Denver metro area.
“We’re seeing an average of 82 cases per day, which has been increasing since early March,” Nolen said. “If we look a little bit more closely at the age breakout — what we see is that the 18- to 22-year-old age group is spiking somewhat significantly, a number of those are students,” she said.
Nolen also told attendees there has been an increase in cases in kids under 18 because “kids are back in school now. This is not particularly unexpected; we knew that there was a trade off between being in school and keeping our cases low.”
“What we do is keep an eye on these trends though, because we are concerned, particularly as variants continue to spread,” Nolen said.
Nolen presented another, more detailed slide with the break down of case infection rate increases among residents age 17 years and younger.
Between March 22 and March 28, there was one case among residents 4 years old and younger and the rate of infection was 7.3 per 100,000. However, last week, there were eight cases among residents 4 years old and younger and the rate of infection increased to 58.7 per 100,000.
Between March 22 and March 28, there were 13 cases among residents age 5 to 9 and the rate of infection was 79.8 per 100,000. However, last week, there were 22 cases among residents age 5 to 9 and the rate of infection increased to 135.0 per 100,000.
Between March 22 and March 28, there were 16 cases among residents age 10 to 14 and the rate of infection was 84.3 per 100,000. However, last week, there were 25 cases among residents age 10 to 14 and the rate of infection increased to 131.8 per 100,000.
Between March 22 and March 28, there were 14 cases among residents age 15 to 17 and the rate of infection was 113.5 per 100,000. However, last week, there were 26 cases among residents age 15 to 17 and the rate of infection increased to 210.7 per 100,000.
Lastly, Nolen described a slide indicating disparities in cases among Latino residents is lower than it was in February, which she attributed to the ongoing equity efforts from community partners and ambassadors.
“We know that disparities have been a very big concern over time and what we are seeing is, although our case rates are increasing, is the disparities are not increasing at the same rate.” Nolen said. “We’re actually seeing fewer disparities among different populations, particularly the Latinx population,” she added.
BCPH mask mandate update; county vaccine efforts
Boulder County Deputy Attorney Trina Ruhland expanded upon previous concerns regarding BCPH’s updated mask mandate.
Ruhland, who was sitting outside at a park and maskless said, “Boulder County updated its mask order last Friday, April 2, to no longer require masks outdoors.” However, she said that although masks are not required in public outdoor spaces, they are still recommended — especially where social distancing is not possible, but they are still required in public indoor spaces. She also told attendees that the mask change made at the state level last week does not apply to Boulder County.
During the meeting, BCPH Emergency Manager and Vaccine Lead Chris Campbell also reported there have been 56,301 Boulder County residents who have received a partial COVID-19 Moderna or Pfizer vaccination dose, which is 20.5% of the county’s eligible population. Another 70,891 people have been fully vaccinated with both doses, which also now includes the one-shot Johnson & Johnson shot and accounts for 25.8% of the county’s eligible population. A total of 127,192, or 46.4% of residents, have been given at least one coronavirus vaccine dose in Boulder County.
Campbell also told attendees the county is averaging 3,500 vaccines administered daily and 24,500 inoculations given a week in the county. He also said the county is projected to have 70% of its currently eligible residents vaccinated by May 2 and all residents vaccinated by June 5.
In an email Wednesday, BCPH spokeswoman Angela Simental wrote despite recent reports of 62 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine being checked for contamination, it could have little affect on the county’s vaccination efforts because “the allocation of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the state has been inconsistent.”
Simental also stated county providers received 2,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which largely went to equity approaches, “particularly for community members that have transportation barriers or live in congregate settings.”
The University of Colorado Boulder updated its dashboard Wednesday. During testing on Tuesday, there were 11 positive test results from 100 diagnostic tests and 1,665 monitoring tests. The dashboard showed 20 of the university’s isolation spaces were in use, which is 4% of the reserved space for quarantines. Since the start of spring testing Jan. 4, there have been 618 positives from 9,497 diagnostic tests and 80,839 monitoring tests. The university has used an isolation space 432 times since the start of the spring semester.
Boulder Valley School District updated its dashboard Wednesday. The district reported 30 active cases with 440 students and six staff members in quarantine.
The St. Vrain Valley School District reported on its dashboard Wednesday with 52 active cases, split between 52 students and zero for staff members. The district has seen a cumulative 825 student cases and 247 staff cases, totaling 1,072.
Statewide, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported there have been 472,167 cases. A total of 6,285 deaths have occurred because of COVID-19. The state reported 6,139 deaths among cases. To date, 25,960 people have required hospitalization. Of Colorado’s more than 5.7 million population, there have been 2,766,845 people tested.
Vaccines administered in Boulder County
- 56,301 received a partial dose (includes Modern and Pfizer vaccines only)
- 70,891 received full vaccine (includes new Johnson & Johnson 1 dose shot)
- 127,192 received at least one dose
*Updated by the county on Mondays and Thursdays, and live every other Wednesday during the virtual BCPH COVID-19 community meetings.
Boulder Valley School District active cases and quarantines
BVSD elementary schools
- Eldorado PK-8: 2 cases; 44 students quarantined
- Emerald: 3 cases; 7 students quarantined
- Flatirons: 1 case; 16 students quarantined
- Lafayette: 1 case; 22 students quarantined
- Monarch PK-8: 1 case; 28 students quarantined
- Superior: 1 case; 29 students quarantined
- Whittier: 1 case; 24 students quarantined
BVSD middle schools
- Casey: 2 cases; 27 students and 2 staff members quarantined
BVSD high schools
- Boulder: 3 cases; 52 students quarantined
- Broomfield: 1 case; 7 students quarantined
- Centaurus: 3 cases; 24 students quarantined
- Fairview: 4 cases; 57 students and 1 staff member quarantined
- Monarch: 3 cases; 69 students and 2 staff members quarantined
- Centaurus v. Boulder Tech: 1 case; 5 students quarantined
BVSD other departments/campuses
- Manhattan School of Arts Boulder: 2 cases; 14 students quarantined
- Mapleton Early Childhood Education Center: 1 case; 14 students and 1 staff member quarantined
*Cases listed include all active cases and do not necessarily represent cases newly determined at time of publication.
St. Vrain Valley School District active cases
SVVSD elementary schools
- Black Rock: 4 student cases
- Eagle Crest: 1 student case
- Erie: 1 student case
- Prairie Ridge: 2 student cases
- Red Hawk: 1 student case
- Soaring Heights PK-8: 7 student cases
- Thunder Valley PK-8: 2 student cases
SVVSD middle schools
- Erie: 5 student cases
- Mead: 2 student cases
SVVSD high schools
- Erie: 9 student cases
- Longmont: 2 student cases
- Mead: 6 student cases
- Silver Creek: 6 student cases
- Skyline: 1 student case
SVVSD other departments
- LaunchED Virtual Academy: 3 student cases
*SVVSD only updates active quarantines on Fridays. Cases listed include all active cases and do not necessarily represent cases newly determined at time of publication.