San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is pleased to announce the official closure of COVID-19 outbreaks at two La Plata County long-term care facilities, Sunshine Gardens Country Home and Cottonwood Inn Rehabilitation and Extended Care Center. A long-term care outbreak is considered closed when no new cases of COVID-19 are identified for a period of at least 14 days since the most recent positive result and at least two rounds of diagnostic testing, at least one week apart, have occurred. All residents and staff at Sunshine Gardens Country Home tested negative for a second consecutive time on February 9; all Cottonwood Inn residents and staff tested negative for a second consecutive time on February 12.

After outbreaks were identified at both facilities, SJBPH and facility administrators at each site took immediate action to limit the further spread of disease and collaborated with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Infection Prevention Team which works with long-term care facilities experiencing outbreaks.

“SJBPH and long-term care facilities in our region have worked hard to protect our most vulnerable populations,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “We know the anxiety that families have when an outbreak is spreading through a long-term care facility and we’re so grateful that thanks to intensive collaboration between the facilities, CDPHE, and SJBPH, we are able to officially deem these outbreaks closed,” Jollon said. “With the virus so prevalent in our community, it remains critical that people take the virus seriously, stop socializing outside their households, wear face masks in public and at work, monitor their symptoms, and get tested if they are feeling any symptoms of COVID-19 or get notified of a possible exposure. These steps help protect more vulnerable populations such as those living in congregate facilities,” she said.

As of January 29, 2021, all residents and staff at both facilities have received both doses of vaccination against COVID-19 thanks to a partnership between SJBPH, Animas Surgical Hospital (ASH), and the facilities.

SJBPH is urging everyone to continue to practice the following precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19 to protect people at risk, and rebuild the economy are:

  • Universal use of face masks
  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet
  • Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces
  • Getting tested if you are symptomatic, think you’ve been exposed, or if you work in a high-contact position
  • Prompt following of quarantine guidance, if exposed
  • Protecting people at higher risk of severe illness or death
  • Postponing travel
  • Improving indoor ventilation and hand hygiene
  • Protecting essential workers
  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available

For the most up to date information, visit SJBPH’s website at https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.