County COVID numbers declining but another local death

County still has one of highest vaccination rates in Colorado

[ by Mark Reaman ]

A thirteenth local person has died as a result of COVID-19 complications. According to Gunnison County public information officer Loren Ahonen, Health and Human Services received confirmation that a male in his mid-70s died of COVID-19 complications in an out-of-county hospital. After being tested and diagnosed locally, the Gunnison Valley resident was transferred to Montrose based on the severity of his symptoms.

Acknowledging the death, Public Health director Joni Reynolds noted, “We are saddened by the loss of another long-time member of our Gunnison Community. We know individual losses cause a ripple in our small community and we offer condolences to all impacted.”

For the seven-day period between October 17 and October 24, there were 20 Gunnison County residents who tested positive for COVID-19. In total, 24 positive cases were identified in the county during the same span. Overall, case rates in Gunnison County continue to decline.

According to Ahonen, a variety of factors likely play a role in the declining cases that can be hard to identify in real time but similar declines in case rates are visible in other parts of the state and country. And he emphasized that one significant contributor to the good local numbers is the high rates of vaccinations in the county.

Positive cases span the demographic range and the Gunnison Watershed School District data indicates seven cases amongst students and staff district-wide for the same time frame.

Ahonen said despite regional and statewide challenges with hospital capacity, Gunnison Valley Health continues to have the capacity to see individuals with COVID-19 and is able to treat them appropriately based on their level of illness. Statewide, hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at the highest rate seen since December 2020. Currently, more than 1,100 individuals are hospitalized with COVID-19. On Monday, October 25 there was one COVID-19 patient admitted at GVH and one patient had been transferred to another hospital over the weekend.

Ahonen noted that current statewide data from CDPHE shows that fully-vaccinated individuals are 3.3 times less likely to become a COVID-19 case and 5.2 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.

CDC guidance indicates flu and COVID-19 vaccines can safely be administered simultaneously to those who are eligible. Gunnison County also encourages residents six months and older to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Easily accessible COVID-19 testing continues through a partnership with GVH. Individuals can now schedule their own testing slot online through GVH. If you would like to schedule a test you can complete the process at this web address Additionally, the testing site is also taking walk/drive-ups on an as needed basis.

As of October 25 more than 79 percent of eligible Gunnison County residents have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Statewide, Gunnison County continues to be amongst the counties with the highest vaccination rates.

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