May 14, 2020 COVID-19 Update

Today six more COVID-19 positive case results were confirmed in the San Luis Valley, bringing our total cumulative number to 75. Five of those cases came from Alamosa County and 1 came from Saguache County. Twenty-one of the total cases have completed isolation. Public Health Agencies in Saguache and Rio Grande Counties are following up on an outbreak in the Center area. We will have more information on that when it becomes available. Outbreak investigation at the mushroom farm continues and is being supported by a team of specialists at the State Health Department. The mushroom farm continues to collaborate with the investigation and is following recommendations made by Public Health for worker health and safety. Numbers are updated weekdays at slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19.

Data shows the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing across the country, including in Colorado, even while testing ramps up. This is good news because it means now we finally have somewhat of a foothold on the situation. Doctors are learning better ways to treat symptoms, personal protective equipment (PPE)  and other necessary medical supplies are becoming more available, there are more tests available, and there are different kinds of tests available. Our initial efforts to slow the spread have been successful and given precious time for scientists and manufacturers to catch up. Now we need to hold our ground.

Today we’d like to clarify more about local testing. Right now local emphasis is on diagnostic testing, which is most critical for containing the virus. The “tests” in the SLV are actually samples collected from symptomatic patients, which are then sent to laboratories for processing. A swab is used to take the sample. The swab is then placed in a sterile medium solution, packaged in cold storage, and shipped by courier to a laboratory.  Currently, no laboratory in the SLV can run test samples, so all specimens are processed outside our area. Local nurse triage lines screen those with symptoms to see if they meet the criteria for testing and then make referrals accordingly. Test samples may also be collected by public health agencies in the course of an outbreak investigation, or by long term care facilities monitoring the health of their residents. Planning is in the works to expand diagnostic testing further. 

Antibody testing, which is intended to identify who has had the virus in the past, is not currently being done in the Valley. As antibody tests become more reliable and available that could change in the future.

We currently have people working on interpreting our data trends and analysis and will be reporting on that information soon.

Nurse Triage Lines:

• Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990

• SLV Health Nurse Line 719-589-2511 ext. 9

• Valley Wide Health Systems 719-589-3658 ext. 9

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call 719-589-3671, or the crisis hotline 1 (844) 493-TALK (8255). After business hours, please call 911 or the crisis hotline 1 (844) 493-TALK (8255) or text TALK to 38255.

SLV COVID general questions 719-480-8719. You may also email your questions to slvepr@alamosacounty.org

May 14, 2020

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