San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is reporting a continued increase in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks as well as spike in deaths of people with COVID-19. Since Nov. 1, SJBPH has confirmed 1,388 new cases of COVID-19 in La Plata County, for a total of 1,821 cases to date, and 306 new cases in Archuleta County for a total of 376 cases to date.
Additionally, SJBPH has confirmed an additional 28 outbreaks in La Plata County since Nov. 1 for a total of 35 outbreaks in the county since the pandemic started, and 2 outbreaks have been identified in Archuleta County over the same time frame for a total of 3 outbreaks to date.
Yesterday, SJBPH confirmed 2 additional deaths of people with COVID-19 in La Plata County, bringing total deaths in that category to 10, with 8 deaths added since Nov. 1. No COVID-related deaths have been identified in Archuleta County.
With the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, outbreaks, and deaths locally, statewide, and nationwide, steps must be taken now to slow the spread to protect public health and speed up economic recovery. Controlling the pandemic requires a multipronged approach of science-based strategies that include; universal face mask use, social distancing, avoiding nonessential indoor spaces, increasing testing, quick quarantine of exposed people, protecting people at high risk for severe illness or death, protecting essential workers, postponing travel, and enhancing ventilation and hand hygiene.
These strategies are now the components of national recommendations for fighting the pandemic and will protect people, the health care system, essential businesses, and schools, leading to a future with high community coverage of effective vaccines and a safe return to more activities in a range of settings. (See the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for Dec. 4 here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6949e2.htm.)
“SJBPH is extremely concerned with the increase in cases, outbreaks, and deaths related to COVID-19”, said SJBPH Executive Director, Liane Jollon. “But there is a path forward and it will require commitment from all of us. We realize that over 9 months of this pandemic has been deeply challenging for so many in our community. The only way we will be able to see economic recovery, go back to in-person learning, and be able to safely socialize with our loved ones is to act now to slow the spread of the virus,” Jollon emphasized.
The necessary steps that must be taken now by everyone to slow the spread of COVID-19 are:
- Universal use of face masks
- Social distancing of at least 6 feet
- Avoiding nonessential indoor spaces
- Getting tested if you are symptomatic, think you’ve been exposed, or if you work in a high-contact position
- Prompt following of quarantine guidance if exposed
- Protecting people at higher risk of severe illness or death
- Postponing travel
- Improving indoor ventilation and hand hygiene
- Protecting essential workers
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available
For more information see: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/