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COVID-19 HHRC Update: GCPH Notifications, Antigen Tests & Director Resignation; COVID Vaccine Update

December 11, 2020

Information shared from Grand Country Public Health

GCPH COVID Notifications

Though social media is a convenient way to disseminate information, Grand County Public Health (GCPH) recognizes that not everyone is on Facebook.  For this reason, Public Health puts all our updates on Grand County’s COVID-19 webpage. Additionally, anyone wishing to be personally notified via text or email when COVID updates are made can sign up for notifications at CO.GRAND.CO.US/COVID19NOTIFY.

GCPH Antigen Tests

Last week, GCPH officially launched its Rapid Antigen Testing Program focused on testing local, asymptomatic Grand County residents who have either been: 1) exposed to a positive COVID-19 case, 2) are on quarantine orders, or 3) are a critical/frontline worker in Grand County.  In reality, GCPH has been performing Antigen tests since the end of October; however, prior to last week, the program was targeted toward outbreak testing and testing related to the fire response.  In total, since the end of October, GCPH has performed approximately 1440 rapid antigen tests.  About 85 of these tests have produced positive COVID-19 results (equaling approximately 6% positivity).  Grand County will continue to use rapid antigen tests in the coming weeks to quickly identify positive cases and contain potential outbreaks.   

COVID Vaccine Update

Today, Governor Polis announced preparations for the release of COVID-19 vaccine to various healthcare centers around the state.  While the Pfizer Vaccine will be arriving in Colorado next week, Grand County does not have access to “Ultra-Cold Vaccine Storage units” or pelletized dry ice required to recharge the ultra-cold storage for the Pfizer Vaccine product.  Thus, instead of getting the Pfizer Vaccine, Grand County will wait for the Moderna Vaccine that is set to arrive later this month (specific date not known at this present moment).

The governor’s goal for vaccination is two-fold: to save lives and to end the pandemic/crisis. Phases for COVID-19 vaccine delivery was established by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP), which made their recommendations to the CDC and were then adopted by the State of Colorado. These phases are subject to change as more information and vaccines become available. Visit, for additional information.

Phase 1A:  Highest-Risk Healthcare Workers and Individuals (Winter 2020-2021)

  • Inpatient Healthcare Workers, ICU, ED Staff, Assisted Living Facility Staff
  • Long Term Care staff and residents.

Phase 1B:  Moderate-Risk Healthcare Workers and Responders (Winter 2020-2021)

  • Healthcare Workers with less direct contact with COVID-19 patients, i.e., Outpatient Healthcare Workers and Outpatient Pharmacists.
  • Workers in Home Health & Hospice
  • EMS, Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Correctional Workers, Dispatchers, Funeral Services, other 1st Responders and COVID-19 Response personnel including Public Health Personnel. 

Phase 2A:  Higher-Risk individuals and Essential Workers (Winter/Spring 2021)

  • 65+
  • Any other healthcare workers not included in Phase 1.
  • Persons of any age with obesity; diabetes; chronic lung disease; significant heart disease; chronic kidney disease; cancer or who are immunocompromised.
  • People who interact directly with the public at work, such as grocery store workers and school staff.
  • People who work in high-density settings, i.e., congregate living.
  • Workers providing essential services to maintain the health and safety of the community, i.e., Mountain Parks Electric, Propane and natural gas vendor staff, water and water treatment staff, CDOT, Grand County Road & Bridge, etc.
  • Adults who received a placebo during a COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial.

Phase 3:  The General Public (Summer 2021)

  • Anyone age 18-64 without high-risk conditions.
  • High-Risk Conditions include: obesity, diabetes, chronic lung disease, significant heart disease, chronic kidney disease, cancer or who are immunocompromised.

Director Brene Belew-LaDue’s Resignation

On December 8, 2020, Director Brene Belew-LaDue tendered her resignation which will be effective January 15, 2021. For the past 17 years, Brene has served as the Director of GCPH and has led the County’s response for outbreaks of pertussis, influenza, hepatitis A, and tuberculosis. She has been the lead for three community health assessments and was a key individual behind the ACHES & PAINS programs. She has also served on the Grand County Rural Health Network Board of Directors. The health of the community has always been her first priority, which is why her decision was a difficult one to make. Nevertheless, GCPH will continue serving the community at the highest level possible. Additionally, Emergency Management and Public Health will be meeting in the coming days  to decide what staffing help will be needed to increase capacity for both testing operations and logistical needs as well as vaccine clinics.