Positive COVID-19 test announced, case count remains at eight

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By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

On June 12, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) and Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) confirmed that an individual tested positive for COVID-19, but the positive will not be counted in Archuleta County’s totals.

That patient, PSMC Chief Administrative Officer Ann Bruzzese reported to The SUN in an email, “is in isolation and SJBPH is conducting contact tracing to quarantine and educate any individuals who may have been exposed.”

Citing patient privacy, no additional information will be reported about the patient, Bruzzese’s email states.

Despite the positive test, Archuleta County’s official case count remains at eight, where it has been since April 17.

SJBPH Director of Communications Claire Ninde explained to The SUN in an email: “Recently, we have had a visitor from another county in Colorado test positive in Archuleta County, as well as a visitor from Arizona who tested positive. Additionally we had 2 New Mexico visitors test positive in La Plata County.”

In a separate email, Ninde explained, “In most cases, SJPBH does not receive information on someone who tests positive in one of the two counties we serve but resides elsewhere. Those individuals would be counted in the county of their residence. Because we do not receive this information, we cannot include these cases in our count.”

Ninde explained there is no system in place for counties to be alerted to positive cases of travelers.

“This new positive case in Archuleta County is a reminder to everyone to be vigilant about wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands,” Bruzzese’s email states.

Regional case counts

As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Archuleta County was reported as still having eight confirmed cases, with La Plata County having 85 cases (with one death among cases), Conejos having 7, Rio Grande logging 55, Mineral having two and Hinsdale tallying three.

Neighboring and near Archuleta County to the south, Rio Arriba County listed 59 cases and one death, and San Juan County, N.M., listed 2,129 cases and 151 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation, which largely falls within Rio Arriba County, has announced 10 cases.

Governor announces next phase of reopening

Gov. Jared Polis announced Monday that additional guidance be released this week under the state’s Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors order, and draft guidance for the state’s next phase, Protect Our Neighbors, has been released for public feedback.

Feedback on the draft framework must be provided by 11:59 p.m. today, Thursday, June 18, at https://covid19.colorado.gov/protect-our-neighbors-feedback.

Polis indicated Protect Our Neighbors will include a broad state framework and a more regional approach.

According to a press release from the state, “Local communities will have the ability to enter the Protect Our Neighbors phase in late June, if they meet thresholds that will be defined in the order and guidance. Thresholds will include a local community’s ability to contain surges in cases and outbreaks through testing, case investigation, contact tracing, isolation, quarantine, site-specific closures, and the enforcement of public health orders.”

For more information on Protect Our Neighbors, visit https://covid19.colorado.gov/protect-our-neighbors.