BY RANDALL RYTI
Los Alamos County
I wanted to provide a brief update on what Los Alamos County is doing to continue to track the COVID-19 pandemic with regard to local and regional cases numbers and to provide advice on mitigation efforts and logistical support for testing and vaccinations. The County Council received an update from the Emergency Manager Ms. Beverley Simpson via a printed report last night at the January 4 Regular Session. We also got some additional information from Deputy County Manager Ms. Linda Matteson, who is the single point of contact for the County COVID response and outreach efforts.
As many people might already know, Los Alamos County had 92 positive COVID cases reported on Monday January 3 that reflected the previous four days of results. Another nine positive cases were reported on Tuesday January 4. This suggests that the more transmissible omicron variant is likely present here as it is elsewhere.
As important as the cases counts are, it is also important to review the test positivity rate, the rates in neighboring areas, and the best practices for mitigating spread. These results are a substantial increase of roughly four times the previous case rate. The positive rate for the January 3 results was about 16% compared the previous two week average of under 3%.
Staff is working with University of New Mexico College of Population Health to get contract support services for the data analysis and associated public health recommendations. This agreement is expected to be finalized soon. In the mean time, the County will continue to prepare the COVID-19 Community Newsletter. You can sign up for this or other County Newsletters via this link — https://losalamosnm.us/cms/One.aspx?portalId=6435810&pageId=9101255.
The measures that control the spread and mitigate health impacts are the same as they have been for about the last year. Vaccination or a booster if it has been six months since your first series was completed is one fundamental option. PCR testing or rapid tests are also useful. Basic public health measures such as masking or maintaining social distancing can also help slow the spread. For our part we are going to continue to conduct meetings in hybrid (in person plus remote) format for Council meetings and most other County meetings will be remote only.