The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Levels for COVID-19 rose on Thursday in Southwest Colorado, moving Archuleta and La Plata counties into Level High. La Plata County has a case incidence rate of 142.3 per 100,000 residents and Archuleta County has a case incidence rate of 178.2 per 100,000 over the past seven days (CDC data). The counties, which are part of the same regional health service area, had 22.9 new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents over the past week.
Based on these increased levels of COVID-19 in both communities, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) recommends increased precautions to slow the spread of the virus, prevent severe illness and hospitalizations, and protect essential services. According to the CDC, a community in Level High is classified as having a high potential for health care system strain and a high level of severe illness.
“Despite the fact that public health was anticipating an increase in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter, it’s still disheartening that we continue to confront this ongoing pandemic. Especially as we head into the holiday season where we’ll be gathering with loved ones,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH. “SJBPH strongly advises that we take all precautions possible to help limit the spread, including vaccinations and community wide indoor masking in Level High.”
In Community Level High, masking is advised for all public indoor spaces per the CDC and SJBPH’s Public Health Advisory.
In community level high, CDC recommends the following individual level prevention steps:
- Wear a high-quality mask or respirator
- If you are at high risk of getting very sick, consider avoiding non-essential indoor activities in public where you could be exposed.
- If you have household or social contact with someone at high risk for getting very sick, consider self-testing to detect infection before contact, and consider wearing a high-quality mask when indoors with them.
For all community levels, CDC recommends the following individual level prevention steps:
Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death caused by COVID-19 and its variants. A list of local providers administering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters is available on SJBPH’s website. More information about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as assistance scheduling an appointment, is available on the state’s website. The public can also call SJBPH (970-247-5702) or Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline (877-268-2926) to get help finding a vaccine.
Testing is available for free at the CDPHE community testing site at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. At-home tests are available free at the SJBPH offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs.). In 2022, SJBPH has distributed more than 40,000 at home test kits at no cost to residents and community groups across the jurisdiction through supplies made available by CDPHE. Local information about testing is available on SJBPH’s website.
KN95 masks are also currently available for free at SJBPH front desks in Durango and Pagosa Springs. These are available on a first come, first served basis until they run out.
COVID-19 treatments are for people who currently have mild to moderate symptoms and are not in the hospital for COVID-19, but who are at high risk of getting very sick. You should get treatment as soon as possible when you start to feel symptoms. If you are at high risk and have COVID-19, ask your health care provider about treatment as soon as you can. Telehealthis also an option for receiving treatment. Learn more about how to access COVID-19 treatments via the State of Colorado or SJBPH.
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19 may get a monoclonal antibody treatment called Evusheld. It can help keep you from getting sick with COVID-19. It is not for people who already have the virus or have recently been exposed.