FOR CURRENT SLV REGION COVID-19 DATA, SEE slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19

October 14, 2020 PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATE

The SLV currently has 63 known active COVID-19 cases.

  • Alamosa County: 23
  • Conejos County: 8
  • Costilla County: 2
  • Mineral County: 1
  • Rio Grande County: 14
  • Saguache County: 15

See more data, here: slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19

COVID-19 illness has continued to increase this week in the San Luis Valley. In some ways, our current rise in cases is very similar to the rise we experienced in the beginning of May. By the end of May, we had an extremely high number of cases. There is potential for good news and bad news with this. On the hopeful side, a smaller percentage of COVID-19 patients are dying than earlier in the pandemic. On the concerning side, since we are now heading into the season for indoor activity, there is potential for a higher growth in case numbers during the next few weeks than we have seen before. While COVID deaths have slowed recently across the country, they have not stopped. Those who are vulnerable remain so. 

Over the past months, we have continued to learn more and more about this virus. Science supports continued individual responsibility for simple actions like keeping gatherings small, wearing a mask, social distancing, and hand washing. Some of the newer studies indicate the importance of good ventilation, so opening windows is another tool to add to the prevention toolkit. None of these actions alone is a guarantee against the spread of illness, but applied in combination appropriate to the setting, individual decisions make a critical impact on the community’s well-being. 

Many questions have been asked recently about the proper way to quarantine. 

  • Quarantine is for those who have been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19. 
  • Quarantine extends for 14 days from the date of last exposure. 
  • Quarantine means you should stay at home and away from others except to get medical care. 
  • If you start to feel sick during your quarantine, call one of the nurse lines listed at the end of this article.  If they recommend a test, the result may guide your medical care and also show whether any of your recent contacts will also need to quarantine, should your test come back positive. 
  • If you test negative during your quarantine period, this DOES NOT clear you to end quarantine early. This is because tests can sometimes show up negative early on, even while a person is without symptoms, and then a subsequent test will come up positive after the virus has had time to multiply in your body to detectable levels. In the meantime, it is still possible to spread the virus to other people. 

Outbreaks are another topic of recent interest. Usually, an outbreak refers to the upsurge of an illness in a community. In this sense, the San Luis Valley is experiencing a community-wide outbreak. Today is the first day that all six counties in our region have had active COVID-19 cases at the same time. 

When Public Health talks about outbreaks, they are often using a much more narrow and specific meaning, referring to a facility or employer that has met the CDPHE criteria to be listed and monitored as an outbreak. A reportable outbreak is monitored until it has been at least 28 days since the last positive test or onset of COVID illness at that facility. Reportable outbreaks at various stages in this process include Power Zone, SLV REC, and the Saguache County Jail. As few as 2 cases at the same facility can meet the criteria as a reportable outbreak, although that can vary by the type of facility. In some instances, it is impossible to tell whether co-workers caught the virus at work or elsewhere out in the community.

To pursue testing for COVID-19, or for medical questions, call;

  • Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990
  • SLVHealth Respiratory Clinic 719-589-3000 ext. 9 
  • Valley-Wide Health Systems 719-589-3658 ext. 9 (M-F), 719-589-2562 (Sa/Su)

For general (non-medical) SLV COVID-19 related questions: slvepr@alamosacounty.org, 719-480-8719

October 14, 2020

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