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Number of COVID cases jumps in Montezuma County

Positive cases of COVID-19 have increased in Montezuma County, and nine patients are being treated at Southwest Memorial Hospital. (Journal file)
Most of the outbreaks occur in Cortez and Dolores schools

The number of reported COVID-19 cases in Montezuma County has increased sharply in the past two weeks, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Of the outbreaks, five have occurred at schools, and one at the Montezuma County Detention Center.

CDPHE on Wednesday reported 240 new cases in the county since Sept. 29, an increase of 61% compared with previous two weeks. From Sept. 14-28, 149 new cases were reported.

As of Oct. 13, the rate of positive cases in the county was 10,955 per 100,000 people, up from a rate of 10,038 per 100,000 people on Sept. 29, an increase of 9%.

There were six reported outbreaks of the COVID-19 in the county, according to CDPHE data as of Oct. 13.

CDPHE defines an “outbreak” of COVID-19 as five or more positive tests at a single location within 14 days.

  • On Oct. 1, Cortez Middle School reported that 20 students and two staff members had tested positive.
  • On Oct. 1, Kemper Elementary reported 13 students and one staff member had tested positive.
  • On Oct. 1, Montezuma-Cortez High School reported nine students and two staff members had tested positive.
  • On Oct. 4, the Dolores middle and high schools reported 18 students and four staff members tested positive.
  • On Oct. 8, Dolores Elementary reported five students and one staff member tested positive.
  • On Oct. 8, the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Department Detention Center reported 14 inmates had tested positive.

Montezuma-Cortez High School volleyball games Wednesday and Thursday have been canceled because of “illness and precautionary measures,” according to a short news release from the school Wednesday. Every attempt will be made to reschedule the games, said the news release, signed by M-CHS Principal Eric Chandler.

Hospitalizations of COVID patients at Southwest Memorial Hospital have increased in the past three weeks, said Marc Meyer, director of Pharmacy and Infection Prevention at the hospital.

Nine patients at the hospital are being treated for COVID, Meyer said Wednesday. Last week, two children were hospitalized because of COVID one age 10 and one younger than 2. They have since been released and are recovering.

The county has a vaccination rate of 60% for a complete dose, Meyer said.