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Crowley County sees unique impacts of COVID-19


CROWLEY COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) - The COVID-19 rural fight in Crowley County continues as the community experiences an increase in virus cases -- 20 percent of the county's 3,200 population have contracted the virus since March 2020. 

“It consists of four small towns. It’s more of a ranching community now. We have two prisons," Commission Chair Blaine Arbuthnot said. 

Officials say pandemic impacts on the small Southeastern Colorado community are unique. 

“It didn’t affect us near as much as other counties because a lot of what we have are simply the essentials. We don’t have a tremendous amount of shops and restaurants," Arbuthnot said.

Federal CARES Act funding helped the few shops and restaurants after the shutdowns. The County Commission Chair says the community is ready to put the pandemic behind them, despite an increase in cases recently. 

“They are sick of it. They want things to get back to normal as all of us do. We have several who just, I don’t want to say they don’t believe in it, but they don’t believe in some of the requirements the health department put out," Arbuthnot explained. 

Twenty-five residents have died after contracting the virus. The grief of those deaths lingers. 

“I belong to a coffee club and every morning we’d meet and within a year, four of us five are dead; three from COVID," the commission chair said. 

There are no vaccine or mask mandates in the rural county. The commission passed a resolution supporting personal choice on both virus mitigation measures this fall. 

Data compiled by 13 Investigates shows that one out of five Crowley County residents have been infected with COVID. About 47% of the population in the county is fully vaccinated. These numbers don't include inmates incarcerated in two Department of Corrections facilities located in Crowley County. Inmates account for the vast majority of the COVID-19 cases listed on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's website, with roughly 650 cases being contracted by Crowley County residents.

“With both the infection rate and individuals that got their shots. At some point, you would think you’d get to the herd immunity. It appears the disease will not go away. Perhaps, with the immunities and the shots, it becomes more of a flu-type symptom versus ending up in the hospital and fighting for your life," Arbuthnot said.

Officials believe the new rise in cases could be connected to recent weddings and funerals. As the county pushes through a new wave of COVID-19, the commission chair urges caution.

“You know, everyone just needs to be cautious. If you have some underlying issues you need to wear a mask and pay attention to where you’re going," Arbuthnot said. 

Chelsea Brentzel

Chelsea is an investigative reporter for KRDO NewsChannel 13. Learn more about Chelsea here.



  1. Gotta love those that say my friends are dying, but yet do nothing to stop it from continuing. Gotta love natural selection. This virus is weeding out the morons.

    1. I have a friend in the hospital in a coma and on a ventilator due to covid. He was fully vaccinated. So yes natural selection but not because he was a moron. It is a joke to think that the shot will be a cure all and all the people who do not get it will die. So….. you comment just shows how little you know.

      1. Self & spouse have had exposure to people who’ve contracted covid, both of us have so-called comorbidities, yet blood test I had showed no antibodies. When a branch of junior family contracted it, asked spouse if desired fresher exposure, but never answered, so didn’t proceed. Have to wonder if the Ascorbyl Palmitate program I’ve got us on has traction in preventing either of us getting it…

      2. To think the shot is cure is joke. The shot is to help prevent you from getting it or it putting you in the hospital. Does your friend have underlying conditions. Did your friend continue mask up and stay away from crowds? Did they do their part to prevent them from getting it? Shows how little you know. As you know a lot of people only care about themselves. They won’t mask up, they won’t even try to stop the spread. If your friend followed all guidelines and still got it, blames those that have no consideration for other people.

      3. HE got VED- Vaccine Enhanced Disease. More people are dying from this than anything else except maybe drug OD’s.
        I hope your friend gets better. This also happened to my elderly neighbor next door.HE was in the hospital for over a month after “full vaccination”
        Why is the government SO afraid of this virus that they are actually hurting people “for the greater good”? NOT RGHT.

  2. and how many of those “cases” actually died from Covid?? They won’t tell you that or how many “fully vaccinated” people ended up in the ICU. TONS OF THEM. But they will only focus on “the unvaccinated”. KOAA does stories under the byline”Covering Colorado” but they are actually stories about people from other cities.

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