EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) — El Paso County reported single-digit COVID-19 deaths for most of the pandemic until the week of Oct. 25, 2020.
According to the county’s COVID-19 dashboard, 14 COVID deaths were reported that week. It was the beginning of a deadly trend in Southern Colorado. Temperatures got colder and Coloradans spent more time together indoors.
“That fall surge that we’re talking about probably happened because we moved inside,” said El Paso County Public Health Data Scientist Stephen Goodwin.
In the following weeks, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths increased significantly. The week of Nov. 29, 2020, is on record as the deadliest week so far in El Paso County. Public Health reported 191 hospitalizations and 92 deaths due to the virus the week after Thanksgiving. However, health officials don't attribute the increase to the holidays.
Since then, El Paso County has reported a 96% drop in COVID-19 deaths. According to the dashboard, there were four virus-related deaths the week of Feb. 14, 2021, and 27 hospitalizations. However, the numbers are subject to change as more data is reported to El Paso County Public Health.
The health department is hoping the trend will last.
“Right now we’re looking to either be at the downtrend of the wave, perhaps at the floor,” said Fadi Youkhana, an epidemiologist at El Paso County Public Health. “What we’re hoping to see is that that floor becomes lower and lower and lower that it reaches the floor level of previous waves.”
The week of May 31, 2020, is the most recent period where no COVID-19 deaths were reported locally.
With warmer weather on the way and vaccines being administered constantly, health officials hope there are more factors working with them rather than against them.
“The variants are working against us,” said Goodwin. “But the weather in the future will turn into our favor and the vaccines are in our favor.”