San Juan Basin Public Health (SJPBH) is partnering with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Rapid Response Team to provide targeted COVID-19 testing in La Plata and Archuleta counties.

CDPHE’s Rapid Response Team consists of a team leader from CDPHE, approximately 6 volunteer staff, and a mobile van. The teams are deployed to help public health officials systematically address the coronavirus infection in underserved Colorado communities. SJBPH and the state are utilizing the Rapid Response Team as part of a strategy to combat the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on disadvantaged and minority communities. As SJBPH continues to expand COVID-19 testing to populations that may face barriers, the extra support from the state to perform targeted testing has been instrumental.

“Widespread testing helps protect the economy and our public health. The Rapid Response Team brings extra staff and supplies to handle high-volume, pop-up testing,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJPBH. “This allows our testing team to support smaller populations in our communities and direct resources where we need them most. We are grateful for the strong partnerships across our state and in our communities to provide COVID-19 testing that meets people where they are,” Jollon added.

SJBPH’s COVID-19 testing team has been working with CDPHE’s Rapid Response Team for three weeks and will continue to partner for the foreseeable future. Over 70 tests have been performed by the Rapid Response Team at locations including Purple Cliffs, Animas Village Apartments, and Lumien Apartments.

In addition to drive-through testing sites operating in both Archuleta and La Plata counties, SJBPH offers pop-up COVID-19 testing at several locations to ensure the virus isn’t spreading unmonitored. Targeted testing seeks to protect the health and wellbeing of minority and low-income populations, those living in congregate housing, people experiencing homelessness, older adults, and those with disabilities.

Since early May 2020, SJBPH has performed hundreds of COVID-19 tests at numerous pop-up testing locations including Purple Cliffs, Manna Soup Kitchen, The Volunteers of America Shelter, Hilltop House, and others. SJBPH collaborates with several partners such as Compañeros, Manna Soup Kitchen, and The Family Center to provide access to COVID-19 testing for all community members.

SJBPH reminds residents that asymptomatic spread occurs at a high rate in local communities. In addition to getting tested, SJPBH continues to urge everyone to follow these important public health precautions:

  • Wearing face masks
  • Social distancing of at least 6 feet
  • Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces, and gatherings with others not in your household
  • Avoiding travel
  • Washing hands well
  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available

For more information on the Rapid Response Team or SJBPH’s targeted testing program, please call 970. 585.6108.

For the most up to date information to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.