JACKSON (WNE) — In recognition of the growing prevalence of the COVID-19 delta variant, the Teton County Health Department has moved the county’s risk level to the red or “high” level.
The Health Department has changed the way it establishes that risk level to align with how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does it, with focus on transmission rates.
“We are hoping that this change will allow community members to easily see the metrics that show the transmission level of COVID-19 in our community,” Director of Health Jodie Pond said in a statement. “While the other COVID metrics are important, they do not play as large of a role in the risk of getting COVID-19 in our community.”
The Health Department recommends that while the county is in the high-risk level people wear face masks, socially distance and avoid crowded spaces, limit trips to the grocery store and other public places, and get vaccinated.
In response to the growing spike, government buildings and some businesses are changing their hours or practices. Teton County and federal agencies are mandating masks in some places, and the Jackson Hole and Greater Yellowstone Visitors Center closed Thursday. It plans to reopen Sunday with limited services outside the building, weather dependent.
With those systems in place, viral transmission and case rates have become the main source of community risk. Since the CDC scale takes into account transmission rates and the rate of positive tests, Pond said, it better matches Teton County’s current situation.
As Teton County shifts to red, cases are climbing quickly, eclipsing where they were at this time last year, despite roughly 71% of the population being vaccinated.