SJBPH urges booster shots as local wastewater surveillance shows increasing levels of COVID-19
The COVID-19 omicron booster vaccine is now available for children ages 5-11, offering additional protection against the virus as cooler months approach and data show signs of increasing transmission in our communities.
While COVID-19 cases and percent positivity have leveled statewide, southwest Colorado is seeing an elevated incidence growth. Recent data shows a steady increase in COVID-19 levels in wastewater in Durango and at Purgatory, while its presence is declining in Pagosa Springs wastewater. Hospitalizations remain low statewide and in La Plata and Archuleta counties, but modeling indicates that an increase in COVID-19 cases is possible in the months ahead.
Receiving an omicron booster is the most effective way to protect yourself from severe illness, hospitalization, and death caused by COVID-19. It remains especially important for older adults and high-risk individuals to be up to date on vaccinations in advance of the fall and winter when more activities move indoors and spread of respiratory illnesses increases.
“The omicron booster and its expanded eligibility is a great opportunity to help ensure ourselves, our children and our friends and neighbors stay healthy this winter,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “We welcome this new level of protection and encourage folks to take advantage of it.”
Both Pfizer and Moderna have produced omicron boosters. Pfizer’s omicron dose is authorized for people aged 5 years and older. Moderna’s omicron dose is authorized for people aged 6 years and older. Anyone aged 5 years and older who has completed a primary series of COVID- 19 vaccines should receive an omicron dose. A primary series usually means two doses of Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. People who are immunocompromised may receive up to three doses in their primary series.
People who previously received any number of COVID-19 booster doses should also receive an omicron dose at least two months after completing their primary series or their most recent dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. People who recently had COVID-19 may wait up to three months after testing positive or first started feeling symptoms before scheduling an omicron booster.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has opened a vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Book an appointment at this link.
The COVID-19 omicron booster is also available locally through medical providers, pharmacies and at CDPHE’s mobile vaccine clinics held throughout the region. To find a vaccine, contact your medical provider or pharmacy, visit vaccines.gov or call Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline (877- 268-2926). Find locations of the CDPHE mobile vaccine clinic and book an appointment at this link. Additionally, SJBPH also has limited omicron booster appointments available at the Durango and Pagosa Springs offices.
There is free community PCR testing available at the La Plata County Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday and Saturday. At-home tests are available free at the SJBPH offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs. More information about testing is available on SJBPH’s website.
KN95 masks are also available at SJBPH front desks in Durango and Pagosa Springs.
COVID-19 treatments are available if you test positive. 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. Telehealth is also an option for receiving treatment. Learn more about how to access COVID-19 treatments via the State of Colorado or SJBPH.