San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is reporting recent cases of individuals testing positive for COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) at local testing sites who are not residents of Archuleta or La Plata counties, and are not counted in the agency’s case counts. In its ongoing efforts to protect the health and safety of the residents it serves, the agency stresses the importance of continuing to take strong precautions against the spread of the virus such as social distancing, wearing face coverings, and washing hands frequently.

SJBPH has coordinated with CDPHE and other public health agencies on the positive COVID-19 cases of non-residents to ensure that appropriate isolation and quarantine guidelines are being followed. In the last 3 weeks, there have been 6 individuals who have tested positive in La Plata and Archuleta counties who are not residents of either county. Non-resident cases were individuals from New Mexico, Arizona, and other counties in Colorado.

SJBPH thanks community members, and local businesses and organizations for taking steps to slow the spread of the virus by following public health orders and guidance. As a result, both Archuleta and La Plata counties have maintained low case counts and encouraging public health statistics:

  • Both counties are in the bottom twenty percent of Colorado counties in cases per capita, despite high growth rates in neighboring counties.
  • Thanks to hard work on the part of long-term care facility staff and SJBPH, there are no outbreaks of COVID-19 among residents at local facilities. There have been 324 such outbreaks elsewhere in Colorado.
  • Local hospitals have completed a medical surge plan and are able to care for patients without resorting to crisis standards of care.
  • Both counties have widespread testing availability and SJBPH has the capacity to follow up on every lab-confirmed positive test with contact tracing, isolation and quarantine resources, and case monitoring.

Both Archuleta and La Plata counties are tourist destinations and as these communities see an influx of visitors from other locations, SJBPH urges all local residents, businesses, and organizations to remain vigilant to reduce spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the following public health guidelines:

  • Avoid close contact with others
    • Keep at least 6 feet from other people
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus
  • Wear face coverings when around others
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if unable to wash hands
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
  • Monitor your health
    • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

“As our local economy begins to enter its ‘new normal,’ it is critical that we don’t become complacent in protecting ourselves from the spread of COVID-19,” said Liane Jollon, Executive Director of SJBPH. “The virus is very much still circulating in our residents, traveling workforce, and tourist population and as we’ve seen in neighboring states, it doesn’t take much for case counts to rise rapidly and jeopardize local healthcare systems if we don’t take social distancing, face covering, hand washing and good workplace cleaning practices seriously. The best way to sustainably reopen our economy is to practice good public health habits at all times.”

In its efforts to be transparent and provide important information to the communities it serves, SJBPH will continue to share information and data on the prevalence of non-resident COVID-19 transmission, as well as public health precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

For more information on coronavirus see: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/.