SJBPH issues public health order to improve infection  prevention 

San Juan Basin Public Health

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) is committed to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to take strong actions to keep our community healthy. SJBPH’s actions and the community’s sacrifices have resulted in Archuleta and La Plata counties having some of the lowest COVID-19 case counts per capita in Colorado. To continue to control the spread as the state allows developed recreation activities, short-term rentals, and houses of worship to reopen with capacity restrictions and requirements for social distancing and cleaning, SJBPH has issued a public health order for La Plata County to require that these operations complete an infection prevention checklist and self-certify their compliance with state public health orders to SJBPH. 

Developed recreation activities allowed to open with strict infection prevention requirements in the latest state public health order include:  

  • Guide services for fishing, biking, hunting, etc. 
  • Raft, ATV, and jeep tours 
  • Swimming pools and hot springs 
  • Organized recreational sports leagues 
  • Gyms and fitness centers 

SJBPH’s order will help protect La Plata County residents from COVID-19 as the agency continues to work aggressively to mitigate the spread of the virus, while also supporting the safe re-opening of specific types of businesses. “We all know that staying at home to contain this novel virus was extraordinarily difficult for everyone,” said SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon. “Recreation, travel and worship, when done safely, can be the most important outlets to reduce stress and combat the effects of social isolation,” said Jollon. “We know that these operations want to provide a safe and welcoming environment and we’ve already seen many of them come up with creative solutions to open once and open right.” 

Operations in La Plata County needed to self-certify by June 11, or prior to opening to the public. The SJBPH order does not apply in Archuleta County but recreation businesses, houses of worship, and short-term rentals there are encouraged to complete the self-certification checklist to ensure that their infection prevention plans comply with state requirements. 

Over 1,000 businesses and community organizations have already self-certified their infection prevention operations to SJBPH in compliance with the Safer La Plata Public Health Order that SJBPH issued on April 28. “This simple requirement places good public health practice in the forefront of the business operation in a time when we all need to take care of each other to control the spread of disease,” said Jollon. 

Good practices at retail and service businesses, along with social distancing, widespread wearing of face coverings, and partnerships between SJBPH, the medical community and government agencies have limited the spread of COVID-19 in Archuleta and La Plata counties: 

  • Both counties are in the bottom twenty percent of Colorado counties in cases per capita, despite high growth rates in neighboring counties 
  • Local hospitals have completed a medical surge plan and are able to care for patients without resorting to crisis standards of care 
  • Both counties have widespread testing availability and SJBPH has the capacity to follow up on every lab-confirmed positive test with contact tracing, isolation and quarantine resources, and case monitoring 

“We have been successful so far,” added Jollon, “but we should not get complacent. The virus is still circulating in our community. SJBPH reminds everyone that staying at home is still the safest option, and we encourage people taking advantage of newly reopened activities and facilities to do so close to their own home, rather than traveling into other communities that may have higher burdens of disease or less public health capacity. We all need to be thoughtful about recreation, travel, and group gatherings to keep our community safe.” 

The order will be in effect until July 1 unless extended, amended, or rescinded by SJBPH. 

For the most up to date information on how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/ 

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