COVID-19 outbreak identified at Pagosa Springs Walmart

Photo Credit: SJBPH

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) has identified a COVID-19 outbreak at the Pagosa Springs Walmart in Archuleta County. The outbreak was first identified on June 12. As of Tuesday, June 29, 10 employees have tested positive for COVID-19.  

An outbreak is defined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) as five or more cases associated with a single facility in a fourteen-day period. Walmart has confirmed their Pagosa Springs location will be temporarily closed and undergoing deep cleaning. The decision to close the store was made by Walmart. 

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

“This is one of the largest outbreaks we’ve investigated to-date in Archuleta County. With the more severe Delta variant spreading, this outbreak should serve as a reminder for unvaccinated residents to get the vaccine and protect themselves and their families as soon as possible,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH Executive Director. “We appreciate all efforts on behalf of local businesses to keep our community safe and Walmart Pagosa Springs has been a strong partner in this work. SJBPH has a public health advisory in effect, and we remind the community that face coverings in public indoor spaces are highly recommended.” 

COVID-19 is still present and circulating in Archuleta and La Plata counties, including cases of the Delta variant which have been confirmed in both locations. The Delta variant was first detected in India and is considered by public health experts to be one of the most transmissible and severe variants of COVID-19 to-date. Variant sequencing indicates that most new cases of COVID-19 in Colorado are now the Delta variant strain. SJBPH emphasizes that vaccination, especially completion of a vaccine series, is the best means of protection against the Delta variant.  

Unvaccinated residents are at higher risk of falling ill with the Delta variant of COVID-19 and are urged to get the vaccine as soon as possible. According to State records, more than 98% of confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred in the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated population since January 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. 

San Juan Basin Public Health Strongly Urges Vaccination and Adherence to Public Health Precautions. 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. 

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