Local COVID-19 transmission rate rising

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By Randi Pierce | Staff Writer

Recent COVID-19 incidence and positivity rates indicate that transmission is rising in La Plata and Archuleta counties, according to San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH).

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data showed a 100 percent increase in COVID levels in local wastewater between April 28 and May 5, with the amount of virus continuing to increase since, according SJBPH Communications Director/COVID-19 Public Information Officer Megan Graham.

“SJBPH encourages residents, especially those who are at high risk for severe illness, to act now to protect themselves and their families,” a May 27 press release states. “Residents should continue prevention efforts such as staying home if you have symptoms, frequent hand-washing, and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. High risk and vulnerable individuals should consider resuming masking in public indoor spaces.”

SJBPH’s data dashboard showed Wednesday that, as of Tuesday, Archuleta County’s one-week positivity rate was 9 percent and one-week cumulative incidence rate was 82.30 new cases per 100,000 people.

“I think we can safely assume that the incidence rate is higher than the numbers indicate,” Graham said, explaining that while the widespread availability of home testing is good, it means not all cases are being reported to the state.

Hospitalizations continue to remain low in the region, Graham reported, with one unvaccinated individual hospitalized at Mercy Regional Medical Center as of Wednesday.

For more on the vaccines, eligibility and local providers, visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-19-vaccine/.

More information about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as assistance scheduling an appointment, is available at: covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine. The public can also call SJBPH at (970) 247-5702 or Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline at (877) 268-2926 to get help finding a vaccine.

Testing and treatments available

The free community test site located behind Pagosa Springs Medical Center will remain open at least through the end of June.

SJBPH’s press release states that SJBPH continues to have at-home tests and masks available for free at the SJBPH offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs.

Too, at-home tests can be ordered directly from the federal government at www.covid.gov/tests.

More information on testing can be found at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/testing/.

Graham also pointed out there continue to be multiple treatment options available that those who have COVID-19 can speak about with a medical provider, including using a telehealth option now available through the state.

“COVID-19 treatments are for people who currently have mild to moderate symptoms and are not in the hospital for COVID-19, but who are at high risk of getting very sick,” the SJBPH press release explains. “You should get treatment as soon as possible when you start to feel symptoms.

For more information on those treatment options or the state’s telehealth program, visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/covid-treatments/ or covid19.colorado.gov/treatments.

randi@pagosasun.com