BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — Colorado's mass vaccination and testing sites close on Thursday. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) stated it is a step in the state's 'Roadmap to moving Forward' as they move toward traditional healthcare settings to provide vaccines and testing for Coloradans.
The closures come as Boulder County sees a slight uptick in COVID-19 cases. The Boulder County Fairgrounds is one of the sites that will no longer operate. 9NEWS spoke to Carol Helwig, the Boulder County Public Health communicable disease control manager, to see if there should be any cause for concern.
What are the current COVID-19 case numbers looking like for Boulder County?
Helwig: When I last looked at our trendline, it is looking a little bumpy, I wouldn’t necessarily call it an uptick right now I would just call it a bumpy way down post Omicron right now.
Is there an explanation for the 'bumpiness'?
Helwig: It can be a lot of things. It could be, ya know, changing behaviors after we rescinded our public mask order for example, our schools are no longer requiring masks to attend school so there is a shift in the level of exposure. Although we have not seen impact to our hospitals because we have great levels of vaccination rates in the community and since we’ve went through this very large Omicron spike there is also some natural immunity in our community as well.
But those bumps are normal and natural. We just had spring break recently so there may have been a lot of traveling to different states or different counties and of course with travel, there can be exposure for folks not just for COVID but to other respiratory diseases or other illnesses. We see spikes in illnesses after breaks very regularly, it’s a regular thing that happens.
Is the 'normal bumpiness' the reason why the county is comfortable with closing the Boulder County Fairgrounds testing and vaccination site?
Helwig: We do have a testing site at the Boulder County Fairgrounds and that site has been incredibly valuable in increasing access and it was a drive-thru site and made a lot of access for our community. I think also there’s supply and demand and right now we do have a lot of clinics available in our community. Boulder County Public Health has vaccination opportunities for the community. So there’s a lot of availability.
And with that fairgrounds site, with the warmer months coming, the community needs that site for other activities and other events that are coming but vaccines are still very widely available for everyone as well and there are still many testing sites available. There is the Stazio site in Boulder and we also have other opportunities.
Do we think these site closures are an end of a chapter during this pandemic?
Helwig: I think not just the fairgrounds but I think everything feels like a very big shift right now. I think it has been many ups and downs these past two years. The period we had before vaccines were widely available and we were really widely susceptible and vulnerable to severe outcomes, and then when vaccines became available and then the uptick was really slow.
We’ve all been through different phases of the pandemic together and I do think we are in a very different place and that is primarily because of the availability of vaccinations, the willingness of the community to roll up their sleeves to take those vaccinations.
I think when we look back and we really get to assess how everything went I think our community really stepped up and did a good job.
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