By Randi Pierce
Archuleta County reached 1,000 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 this week, up from eight in June of 2020.
As of Wednesday, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) reported 1,001 total confirmed cases among permanent residents since March of 2020.
However, the public health agency touted another milestone this week: having 50 percent of the total population in its service area (Archuleta and La Plata counties) complete their vaccine series.
“That’s a big milestone for us,” said Brian Devine, SJBPH environmental director and deputy incident commander for the SJBPH’s COVID-19 response.
As of Wednesday, SJBPH reported that 45 percent of Archuleta County’s total population had completed a vaccine series, while La Plata County is at 52 percent.
As of Wednesday, Archuleta County was at 1 percent positivity and had a seven-day cumulative incidence rate of 78.60 cases per 100,000 people, though Devine clarified that that incidence rate includes several cases that were previously identified but not included in the count yet.
The incidence rate will remain elevated until those backlogged cases are out of the seven-day window, he explained.
SJBPH, he added, continues to look at case incidence rates, vaccination rates and outbreaks in determining when it should amend or rescind its current advisory.
That advisory, which was issued mid-May can be found at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/advisories-and-orders/.
Devine outlined that more people being vaccinated leaves fewer people who are susceptible, which makes the risk of outbreaks much lower, especially if large pools of unvaccinated people are interactive.
Large pools of unvaccinated individuals interacting, he added, can lead to outbreaks and large case reports quickly.
The advisory, he suggested, is to protect the unvaccinated, including those who cannot be vaccinated.
In addition to local providers continuing to offer vaccines, multiple vaccine clinics are on the calendar that will offer incentives.
A pair of clinics today, June 10, and next Thursday, June 17, will offer both the two-shot Pfizer vaccine to those 12 and older, and the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine to those 18 and older.
The Jogan Health Mobile Unit will be set up at Pagosa Springs High School, 800 S. 8th St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Minors must have a signed parental consent form, which can be completed online when registering or at the clinic.
For more information on the vaccines, area vaccine providers or area vaccine clinics (including making an appointment), visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/.
For more information about vaccine types, safety and eligibility, call (877) 268-2926. To speak to SJBPH call handlers, call (970) 247-5702.
Devine indicated a pair of vaccine incentives — the Vaxx for Scratch and Pagosa Brewing Company — are continuing locally while supplies last.
Under the Vaxx for Scratch promotion, “Any resident age 18 or older who receives COVID vaccination at a SJBPH clinic in Archuleta County will be offered a $10 Scratch ticket while supplies last. The Scratch tickets have a top prize of up to $500,000,” a SJBPH press release outlines.
Additionally, tokens for 20 percent off a taster flight or two-for-one root beers at Pagosa Brewing Company are available while supplies last.
In addition to local incentives, the state is also continuing its weekly Colorado Comeback Cash $1 million drawings, with Colorado residents who are 18 and older and have received at least one vaccine dose automatically entered to win.
One winner has been selected, with more winners set to be announced on June 11, June 18, June 25 and July 7. Coloradans must be vaccinated by June 30 to qualify to win on July 7.
Younger Coloradans ages 12 to 17 are eligible for the Colorado Comeback Cash Scholarship drawing.
Under that program, five eligible Coloradans will be randomly selected to win a $50,000 scholarship each week for five weeks. Drawings for the Comeback Cash Scholarship will occur on Mondays and winners will be announced on Fridays, June 11, June 18, June 25, July 2 and July 9, according to a press release from the state.
The COVID vaccine is available to all residents ages 12 and older. Youth ages 12 to 17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. Minors must have a signed parental consent form, which can be completed online when registering or at the clinic.