Here's where Larimer County stands with COVID hospitalizations, wastewater trends and more

Wondering what the COVID-19 case rate and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention risk level are in Larimer County? Looking for current vaccine rates? Read on for information on where the county stands on a variety of metrics, including those.

This story and its infographics were initially published to help you better understand the data associated with the county's mask mandate that began in October 2021 (that mandate expired on Feb. 12, 2022). Since then, we've periodically updated its format based on how the county health department, CDC and other experts evaluate COVID's impact on our community.

As of mid-January 2023, you'll see a summary of Larimer County wastewater trends included below. You'll also see more information about how case and vaccination rates are currently calculated.

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And a quick aside: Compiling information like this into a user-friendly format (and providing meaningful enterprise work on COVID-19 and beyond) takes time, resources and local journalists. If you find the work we do valuable and aren't yet a subscriber, support us by purchasing a digital subscription today.

Larimer County's COVID-19 risk level designation

The CDC's current COVID-19 guidelines balance COVID-19 admissions, inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and case rates to assess community risk.

As of Jan. 27, 2023, the county's online COVID-19 dashboard lists its COVID-19 community level as "low," according to the CDC's guidelines, with the below metrics reported:

  • Seven-day total of new COVID-19 admissions: 4.5 per 100,000 people (If this number rises to 10 or higher, that will bump the county to a higher risk level, even if the other metrics stay below their thresholds.)

  • Percent of staffed inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients (7-day average): 1.6% (If this number rises to 10% or higher, that will bump the county to a higher risk level, even if the other metrics stay below their thresholds.)

  • Seven-day case rate: 60.2 per 100,000 (If this number rises to 200 or higher, that will bump us to a higher risk level, even if the other metrics stay below their thresholds.)

A caveat about our case rate: As of November 2022, the county's case rate no longer includes at-home test results reported to the state, county health department spokesperson Kori Wilford told the Coloradoan. That rate is now based only on proctored testing — if you went to a doctor's office, for example.

We did ask the county how many at-home tests are reported, for a point of reference. In December, there were 16 positive at-home test results reported by Larimer County residents through the state, according to Wilford. The county doesn't have any data on how many at-home tests are conducted, but the state recently announced the closure of community testing sites because of the prevalence and availability of at-home tests.

So that brings us to: How else are local health officials measuring COVID-19 risk in the county?

The hospitalization numbers used for the CDC's risk level are part of that, as they show COVID's impact on our health care system. (You can see a graphic of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Larimer County later in this story.) The county also reviews the percent positivity metric, which is included on the online dashboard, along with a look at case rates over time and other data.

Then there's wastewater testing.

Wastewater testing shows COVID-19 trends in various portions of Fort Collins, Windsor and more

The state maintains a map of COVID wastewater monitoring trends online. Here's a summary of those trends for Fort Collins and nearby municipalities, as of Jan. 25, 2023:

Fort Collins (results separated by facility)

  • Boxelder Sanitation District: Decrease

  • Mulberry Water Reclamation Facility: Steady decrease

  • Drake Water Reclamation Facility: Steady decrease

  • South Fort Collins Sanitation District: Decrease

Town of Wellington Water Reclamation Facility: Steady decrease

Town of Windsor: Steady decrease

City of Loveland Water Reclamation Facility: Decrease

Town of Berthoud Wastewater Treatment Plant: Plateau

Estes Park S.D. and Upper Thompson S.D.: Plateau

More:Omicron-specific COVID booster shots are now available in Larimer County

Larimer County COVID hospitalization rates

See how the county's hospitalization rates have changed since October 2021, when the county health department enacted a mask mandate that has since expired.

More: UCHealth doctor explains how (and when) to best use at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen tests

COVID-19 vaccination rates in Larimer County

See where the county stands with COVID-19 vaccination rates among all residents as well as the breakdown for various age groups in the below graphs.

"Vaccinated" means a person has had the primary series of Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or Novavax, according to Wilford. A person is included in the "booster/additional dose" data if they've received at least one dose after their primary vaccination series. A person who has received more than one booster or additional dose is counted only once, Wilford said.

As of information provided to the Coloradoan by Wilford on Jan. 13, 2023, more than 153,000 Larimer County residents have gotten at least one more dose after their primary series, while around 79,000 residents have had at least two more.

Note: In June 2022, COVID-19 vaccines were approved for children ages 6 months to 5 years. That age range will be added to the below graphs when that data is available on the county website.

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Sarah Kyle is a content coach at the Coloradoan. Contact her at sarahkyle@coloradoan.com. Support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.

This article originally appeared on Fort Collins Coloradoan: Larimer County COVID case and vaccine rates, CDC COVID community level