Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among regional businesses, one death reported

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    San Juan Basin Public Health

    Today San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) announces an outbreak of COVID-19 has been identified at Nissan of Durango. As of July 7, 10 employees and contractors have tested positive for COVID-19 and there is one confirmed fatality connected to the outbreak.

    SJBPH and Nissan of Durango have implemented mitigation response plans for the business, including testing and contact tracing. Cases of the Delta variant were confirmed through full-genome sequencing; variant analysis of additional cases is ongoing.

    Recent outbreaks at local businesses and indoor facilities reveal COVID-19 continues to circulate at an elevated rate in Archuleta and La Plata counties. These larger outbreaks include cases of the more contagious and severe Delta variant, which have resulted in local hospitalizations and a fatality. An outbreak within a business is defined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) as five or more cases associated with a single facility in a 14-day period.

    All positive cases were put on isolation and those identified as close contacts who were unvaccinated were also put on quarantine. The investigation is ongoing and SJBPH will continue to evaluate information regarding this outbreak.

    “The message is clear, don’t let your guard down,” said Liane Jollon, Executive Director of SJBPH. “The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and the impact can be seen in our own communities. We’re very grateful for the cooperation of Nissan of Durango in response to this outbreak and to every business still working to keep our communities safe. SJBPH urges everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and continue wearing masks in indoor settings, especially with the Delta variant spreading.”

    · SJBPH offers free on-site vaccinations for local employers; contact our COVID Vaccine team at (970)335-2091 for more info.

    · SJBPH provides on-site testing options for local businesses, including rapid tests and free at-home test kits for those working in high-contact jobs. Visit https://sjbpublichealth.org/testing-options for details.
    · Testing remains critical and allows public health officials to identify COVID-19 variants. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms, including vaccinated individuals, should get tested. Learn more at https://sjbpublichealth.org/testing.

    The outbreak at Nissan of Durango follows one of the largest outbreaks SJBPH has investigated to date in Archuleta County at the Pagosa Springs Walmart. Cases of the Delta variant have been identified in both outbreaks. Vaccination, especially completion of a vaccine series, is the best means of protection against the Delta variant. SJBPH’s investigation suggests that the lack of public health precautions within the workplace, especially regarding unvaccinated staff, contributed to the elevated number of cases.

    Unvaccinated residents are at higher risk of falling ill with the Delta variant of COVID-19 andare urged to get the vaccine as soon as possible – even if you previously had COVID-19. According to State records, more than 98 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred in the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated population from January through June 2021.

    SJBPH is urging all community members to maintain their practice of the following critical public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

    · Get vaccinated for COVID-19. Vaccine clinics and providers are available on the SJBPH website.
    · Stay at home when feeling unwell.
    · A local public health advisory is in effect.
    · Employees and guests are strongly advised to wear a mask in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status.
    · Physical distancing (staying at least six feet away from another person) is strongly advised while in a public indoor setting unless all individuals present are fully vaccinated.
    · Businesses should err on the side of assuming that some customers entering a business are unvaccinated and should maintain face coverings and physical distancing in indoor settings (i.e., grocery stores, gyms, restaurants).
    · Face coverings must be worn while using public transportation and when travelling by air, train, or bus.
    · Practice good hygiene: wash hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes.
    · Get tested if you have symptoms or if you are unvaccinated and believe you were exposed through a known contact or community interaction, testing sites are listed on the SJBPH website.

    The COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available to all residents ages 12 and up. 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.

    Although advance registration is preferred, walk-ins are also welcome at upcoming clinics. The vaccine is free, and no ID is required. Additional clinics and information about the COVID vaccine can be found on SJBPH’s website.