SJBPH updates public health advisory and provides FAQ to limit spread of COVID-19

SJBPH

With COVID-19 transmission ‘High’ in both Archuleta and La Plata counties, SJBPH urges residents to wear masks in businesses and public indoor settings regardless of vaccination status. San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) amended its local public health advisory this week and is providing the community and business owners with a frequently asked questions (FAQ) as guidance to encourage full adherence with the advisory. 

Both La Plata and Archuleta counties are identified as having ‘High’ transmission according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and some of the highest transmission rates of 2021 have been observed in recent weeks. Nearly 100% of cases in Colorado in September that underwent variant analysis were identified as the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19. As more activities move indoors with colder weather, SJBPH strongly urges all residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a well-fitting mask inside of public indoor spaces and businesses. 

SJBPH strongly encourages business owners and operators of public indoor spaces to fully adhere to the advisory. A business in full adherence would require a mask for entry and maintain physical distancing of at least six feet between households or parties in enclosed spaces. The advisory also encourages employers to continue with symptom screening, testing of staff, ventilation improvements, and other measures to prevent an outbreak in the workplace. SJBPH is providing business owners with signage they can display if they are in full adherence with the advisory. The State of Colorado is also encouraging all businesses to take the Power the Comeback/COVID Safe Business Pledge to become an official Power the Comeback Business Partner. 

“The public should be aware that we have high rates of COVID-19 at this time. There is significant risk right now in letting your guard down on mask wearing or being unvaccinated. We thank everyone who has been following our public health advisory and masking up. With colder weather and more activities moving inside, it’s critical to recommit to wearing a mask if you’re doing errands or in any public indoor setting,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH Executive Director. “The best way to reduce your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19 is to layer your protection. Get vaccinated for COVID-19. Get a booster dose if you are eligible. Don’t forget to wear a mask in public indoor settings whether you are vaccinated or not,” Jollon added. 

This is SJBPH’s third amended public health advisory of 2021. The first went into effect on May 14th. SJBPH will update the reissued advisory as needed based on local case incidence rates, hospitalization data, and other metrics. 

The Delta variant is believed to represent nearly 100% of COVID-19 cases in La Plata and Archuleta counties. Statewide, nearly 100% of positive tests that were randomly selected for variant sequencing in the most recent week were confirmed as Delta variant cases. The variant may be more likely to make younger age groups sicker than other variants. Additionally, the Delta variant is leading to “breakthrough” cases in the fully vaccinated population and there are indications the fully vaccinated population may be able to transmit the Delta variant to others. Those who are fully vaccinated and who get infected with COVID-19 are likely to be asymptomatic or have less severe illness. The vaccines continue to be highly effective at preventing hospitalization and death. 

In order to prevent an additional strain on local health care resources, and to support in-person learning in our schools, residents are strongly urged to layer their protection by getting vaccinated and following public health precautions such as wearing masks in businesses. 

SJBPH reminds parents to get eligible students vaccinated right away to help support in-person learning. 12 to 17-year-olds are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and the two-dose series takes at least five weeks from the first shot for individuals to complete the series and reach maximum immunity. SJBPH is closely tracking Federal and State guidance that would open eligibility for children under 12 and is prepared, alongside partners, to rapidly vaccinate this population when they become eligible. Timelines may change, but SJBPH is anticipating that 5 to 11-year-olds may be eligible by late October or sometime in November. 

The vaccine is convenient and widely available for all who are eligible. There are numerous vaccine providers in La Plata and Archuleta counties, and SJBPH is now offering clinics seven days per week in partnership with Jogan Health. All SJBPH and Jogan Health clinics can offer booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine for those who are eligible. The full schedule of vaccine clinics, pop-ups, and mobile clinics is available online with convenient dates and times available across both counties. 

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

For COVID-19 data, testing locations, and more information about vaccines visit: https://sjbpublichealth.org/coronavirus/ 

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