Public Health Weekly Updates

Thursday May 12th, 2022


Good afternoon to all,

 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Normalizing conversations around mental health is key to ensuring young people and adults have the emotional, social, and mental support they need. While the pandemic has been incredibly hard on all of us, it has also heightened our awareness of mental health as a community, and started necessary conversations.

 

The upcoming summer break from school presents unique challenges for all families with school-age kids (boredom, vacations, disrupted routines), but especially for those with family members struggling with anxiety and depression. Anxiety is common during adolescence. Studies show that nearly one third of all teenagers have had an anxiety disorder, with many experiencing severe anxiety. Additionally, more than 1 in 10 teenagers have had a major depressive episode. Commonly, half of depression diagnoses are also diagnosed with anxiety.

 

Both depression and anxiety can make everyday life seem overwhelming. Teens with anxiety and depression can have trouble sleeping and concentrating, feel tired or panicked, withdraw from friends and hobbies, and come off as moody or irritable. Parents can feel frustrated when their children aren’t able to join in family time, maintain interest in activities, or be proactive in social situations. It’s challenging, as these behaviors can sometimes be normal teenage angst. However, a teenager in distress may express excessive worry, hopelessness or profound sadness, particularly for long periods of time. Experts agree the first thing parents should do is take care of themselves. If you’re healthy, you’ll be better able to support your child in their struggles. Get enough sleep this summer, block out self-care time, and see a therapist for good mental health maintenance. Whether a teenager is dealing with angst or a clinical problem is the proverbial "64 thousand dollar question." If the lines become too blurry to tell the difference, it can help to visit a pediatrician to explore whether there is a clinical problem.

 

Centura Medical Group Expands Services in Elizabeth

Centura Medical Group in Elizabeth, located in Unit B at 240 S. Elizabeth St. (a.k.a. the Safeway Plaza) has announced the expansion of their primary care practice to include pediatric, adolescent, adult, and senior care. The practice includes Megan Press, M.D., Sharon McKelvey, D.O., and their staff. Practice hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Connect with them at (303) 269-2551. See more info at https://bit.ly/3su53Nk .

 

Please Participate in the Community Health Assessment Survey

The Elbert County Community Health Assessment survey is now live, at https://bit.ly/3JXbKgR ECPH is soliciting citizen input on the current and future health needs of our county. The survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete, and is compatible with mobile electronic devices via the QR code option. 

 

The survey is confidential. The information you provide during the survey will be combined with answers from other people and will be compiled in a summary report. Individual responses will not be shared with anyone. At the end of the survey participants will have the opportunity to enter contact information for inclusion in random drawings for $25 gift cards to local businesses and restaurants.

 

COVID-19 Updates

Consistent with previous weeks, cases and percent positivity continue to increase in Colorado. The 7-day moving average number of cases currently stands at 1,062, up from 866 last week. Hospitalizations trends are variable, but the overall trajectory is upward. CDC Nowcast modeling estimates 43% BA.2.12.1 in the U.S. (up from 37% last week), and 36% in HHS Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming), up from 26% last week. There are now BA.4 and BA.5 variants being sporadically detected in the U.S. and Colorado. Current modeling estimates indicate cases peaking in late June (estimates are sensitive to numerous assumptions, however, and therefore should be interpreted with caution). 

 

Elbert County cases continue to show an elevated incidence of growth that began in mid-April. Since the last local update on May 5 there are 44 cases of COVID-19 infection to report from the following zip codes: 

  • 80107: 27 cases
  • 80138: 8 cases
  • 80117: 3 cases
  • 80106: 2 cases
  • 80101, 80830, 80832, and 80835: 1 case each.

 

Nineteen of the cases represent current infections, while the remainder are more than 10 days old. Test dates for the reported cases range from December 30, 2021 to May 10, 2022. Ages for the cases range from 3 months to 83 years. A total of 282 tests have been reported in the past week. There are no fatalities to report. There are no new hospitalizations to report. 

 

As of this morning, our two-week cumulative rate stands at 95.47 cases per 100,000 population, or 25 known and confirmed new cases. Our one-week cumulative incidence is currently 64.92 cases per 100,000, with 17 known and confirmed new case. This figure ranks 35th-highest among the state's 64 counties. Our two-week average positivity is currently 5.71%, while our one-week average positivity is 8.54%. The statewide one-week average positivity is 7.45%, with 12 of the last 14 days showing an upward trend in the 7-day moving average of newly reported cases. As with previous updates, the figures reported above do not include at-home test results that have not been reported to the state. 

 

Although COVID cases are comparatively less prevalent than at earlier times of the pandemic, it doesn’t always mean that COVID is vanishing. The more frequent use of rapid antigen self-tests — which often don't get officially recorded — may have greatly underestimated the current prevalence of COVID. That’s why we may now be in the silent, or "invisible wave" of COVID. Know that COVID is still lingering, especially in unventilated indoor air.

 

Update on Long COVID

CDC recently updated the Long COVID or Post-COVID Conditions web page, which provides an overview of what is known about including risks, symptoms, and prevention. CDC also published a new web page, Post-COVID Conditions: CDC Science, to better inform audiences about what CDC and other researchers are doing to answer key questions about post-COVID conditions. 

 

FDA Limits Use of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Due to Rare Blood Clots

The Food and Drug Administration has limited the authorized use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to certain people after evaluating reported cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS). TTS is a syndrome of rare and potentially life-threatening blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets that may develop about one to two weeks following administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The J&J COVID-19 vaccine may only be given to people aged 18 and older for whom other COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate, and to people aged 18 years and older who choose to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and would otherwise remain unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

 

As of May 5, 2022, Colorado providers have administered 317,087 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine since Johnson & Johnson received their EUA in Feb. 2021. This figure represents 3.1% of the more than 10.3 million total doses of all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the state. Coloradans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should get a dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) two months or more after they first got vaccinated. If you got Johnson & Johnson for your first and second doses, you may then receive a third dose (second booster) of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) four months after your second dose.

 

The Latest on Long COVID

According to two recent publications from the Journal of the American Medical Association, ten to thirty percent of individuals who had COVID-19 reported at least one persistent symptom up to six months after the virus left their bodies. Long COVID likely isn't just a single illness, but instead a number of different types of disorders sparked to life by a COVID infection. Symptoms include everything from brain fog and fatigue to organ damage, chest and joint pains, loss of senses of smell and taste, cough, headache, and gastrointestinal and cardiac issues. Women and girls appear to experience long COVID symptoms more often than men, according to a study in Infectious Diseases. There are several theories about mechanisms behind long COVID, including vascular or nervous system dysfunction, or persistent replication of the virus in the body. Treatment often comes down to trial and error, and symptom management. UCHealth in Aurora is one of dozens of health care systems nationwide that have opened new clinics to treat long COVID patients. Axios News recently published an informative "deep dive" on Long COVID at bit.ly/3M4zz89.


Dwayne Smith, MEd, MCHES®, CPST

Director, Elbert County Public Health

75 Ute Avenue

Kiowa, CO 80117

Dwayne.Smith@elbertcounty-co.gov

(303) 621-3202