COVID-19 Community Levels rise to High in La Plata, Medium in Archuleta counties

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Megan Graham | San Juan Basin Public Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community Levels for COVID-19 rose on Thursday in Southwest Colorado, moving Archuleta County into Level Medium and La Plata County into Level High.

La Plata County has a case incidence rate of 245.4 per 100,000 and Archuleta County has a case incidence rate of 135.4 per 100,000 residents over the past seven days (CDC data). The counties, which are part of the same regional health service area, had 10.6 new hospital admissions per 100,000 residents over the past week. Wastewater samples collected in Durango and Pagosa Springs on June 2 showed the highest levels of COVID-19 since collection began earlier in 2022.

Based on these increased levels of COVID-19 in both communities, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) recommends increased precautions to slow the spread of the virus, prevent severe illness and hospitalizations, and protect essential services.

In La Plata County (Level High), masking is advised for all public indoor spaces and on public transportation, per the CDC and SJBPH’s Public Health Advisory.

In Archuleta County (Level Medium), those at high risk for severe illness should talk to their health care provider about taking additional precautions such as masking. Mask wearing is also encouraged on public transportation.

In both counties, individuals are advised to follow CDC isolation and quarantine guidance if they have symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19. The CDC advises mask wearing until at least day 10 for individuals coming out of a five-day isolation period.  For both Community Levels Medium and High, individuals are encouraged to stay up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, and test if experiencing symptoms.

Both counties remain in Transmission Level High applicable to masking requirements for health care and long-term care facilities, per State Public Health Order 20-38.

Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death caused by COVID-19 and its variants. Local providers administering COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available on SJBPH’s website. More information about COVID-19 vaccines, as well as assistance scheduling an appointment, is available on the state’s website. The public can also call SJBPH (970-247-5702) or Colorado’s Vaccine Hotline (877-268-2926) to get help finding a vaccine.

Testing is available for free at community testing sites in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and at-home tests are available free at the SJBPH offices in both Durango and Pagosa Springs, or ordered directly from the federal government (covid.gov/tests). Local information about testing is available on SJBPH’s website.

KN95 masks are also currently available at SJBPH front desks in Durango and Pagosa Springs. These are available on a first come, first served basis until they run out.

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. You should get treatment as soon as possible when you start to feel symptoms. If you are at high risk and have COVID-19, ask your health care provider about treatment as soon as you can. Telehealth is also an option for receiving treatment. Learn more about how to access COVID-19 treatments via the State of Colorado or SJBPH.

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19 may get a monoclonal antibody treatment called Evusheld. It can help keep you from getting sick with COVID-19. It is not for people who already have the virus or have recently been exposed.