Virus cases climbing

Coronavirus cases in Chaffee County, the state and nation, keep adding up.

Health officials predicted that in fall, with schools back in session and colder weather forcing people to move back indoors, virus cases would spike again.

That said, officials could not have expected the numbers now being seen.

The county hit a milestone – if you can call it that – last week, going over 500 cases, 502 to be exact. Over the weekend, that total jumped to 518 with 16 new infections.

In the past two weeks the county recorded 65 new cases with a positivity rate of 5.92. With 35 cases in just the past week, that number will almost certainly increase again.

County officials ask residents to do their part when it comes to the virus, pointing to the “Chaffee’s Got HEART effort:

H - Hang at Home if Sick.

E - Excel at Handwashing.

A - Always Wear a Mask Properly in Public.

R - Respect Social Distancing.

T - Test If You Have Symptoms.

The county’s virus cases are increasing mainly by person to person contact. With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years holidays ahead, it will take a concerted effort and a degree of sacrifice to control and bring the county’s rate of increase down.

County health officials ask residents to:

• Limit social interactions to one’s household members;

• Maintain distances whenever possible; and

• Wear a face mask when around loved ones.

For Thanksgiving, officials suggest:

• Sending a greeting card or care package;

• Dining together via Zoom or Facetime;

• Holding a small neighborhood car parade; and

• Hosting a social media turkey carving.

If the county is not able to slow the rate of virus increase, additional restrictions are all but a certainty, further impacting work places, the community and family gatherings and celebrations.

Vaccine on horizon?

Two drug companies, Moderna and Pfizer, Inc., have announced vaccines that are about similarly effective against COVID-19.

Both are expected to be available before the end of the year and both would require two shots a few weeks apart.

Officials say they hope to have some 40 million doses available in December. The first shots would go to healthcare workers and those considered most at risk and vulnerable from the virus.

The announcements are a welcome ray of good news ... but keep in mind that the vaccines are not going to be available until next month and then they will only be available on a limited basis.

Which in turn means that it is all the more important to follow health officials recommendations on interacting with family, friends and coworkers.

‘Mr. Dixon:’ – 30 –

Salida teacher, historian and journalist, Dick Dixon died Nov. 6.

To his hundreds of Salida High School students who took classes with him over some three decades, he was always “Mr. Dixon,” a sign of the respect they had for him as a teacher. Over the years his students won dozens of state and national awards.

An author, he wrote a number of books on local history. While teaching he contributed to The Pueblo Chieftain for years then after retiring, served as a copy editor at The Mountain Mail.

Dick Dixon, rest in peace: last class; final chapter, last deadline: – 30 –

— MJB