(May 11, 2022): The Colorado Wastewater Surveillance program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has been monitoring wastewater throughout the state for COVID-19 levels. Recent results from the Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility, serving the City of Durango, indicate COVID-19 transmission is likely steeply increasing in our community. Over the past 16 days, viral concentration levels in Durango have increased by 279 percent to levels not observed since early February of this year. Recent COVID-19 testing positivity rates have also increased across SJBPH’s jurisdiction, with 6 percent of molecular lab tests in La Plata County reporting as positive, and 5 percent in Archuleta County.

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) urges residents, especially those who are at high risk for severe illness, to act now to protect themselves and their families. Residents should continue prevention efforts such as frequent hand-washing and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. High risk and vulnerable individuals should consider resuming masking in public indoor spaces.

SJBPH is monitoring wastewater data, along with case incidence rates, positivity rates and hospitalization data, to inform additional mitigation and response measures that may be necessary in the coming weeks.

Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death caused by COVID-19 and its variants. Local providers administering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available on SJBPH’s website at https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/. More information about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as assistance scheduling an appointment, is available at covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine. The public can also call SJBPH (970-247-5702) or Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline (1-877-268-2926) to get help finding a vaccine.

Testing is available for free at community testing sites in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and at-home tests are available free at the SJBPH offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs, or ordered directly from the federal government at www.covid.gov/tests. More information about testing is available at https://sjbpublichealth.org/testing.

KN95 are also currently available 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 within a few days of 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. Learn more about where to find treatment at covid19.colorado.gov/treatments.

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or who can’t 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 isn’t for people who already have COVID-19 or have recently been exposed to COVID-19. For additional local data and details on the wastewater program and its monitoring methods, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/covid-19-monitoring-in-wastewater.