COVID-19 cases rise to over 200 in San Luis Valley

SAN LUIS VALLEY — Active COVID-19 cases increased to over 200 in the San Luis Valley for the first time in months. As of Monday, May 17, there were 219 active cases in the Valley, a new high for 2021.

Mid-January was the last time the Valley had over 200 active cases. On Jan. 14, SLV officials reported 202 known active cases.

Over the next couple of months, active cases continued to drop, reaching a low of 17 on March 29, before rising again in April and May.

While cases are on the rise, some local public health agencies report an increase in interest in receiving vaccinations among those in their 40s and 50s, as well as among youth ages 12 and above.

If this trend continues, it could make a big difference in our fight against COVID-19 in this part of Colorado. Vaccines are being provided by hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, and public health agencies. See, for contact information and other details. 

The San Luis Valley region has a high COVID-19 case incidence rate and positivity rate in comparison to the rest of Colorado.

“Our hospitalizations remain high both locally and at hospitals that most frequently receive our sickest patients when they need to transfer to a higher level of care,” SLV public health officials stated.

There are currently 219 known active cases of COVID-19 in the San Luis Valley. Active case counts and other data are being updated weekdays at

  • Alamosa County — 114
  • Conejos County — 59
  • Costilla County — 18
  • Mineral County — 2
  • Rio Grande County — 15
  • Saguache County — 11

Recent case investigations and contact tracing have been time-consuming for public health agencies, who are finding that, there are a large number of close contacts with each new confirmed case. Those who are not yet vaccinated may consider limiting the size of gatherings that they participate in, in order to protect themselves and others. The case investigation and contact tracing process are an important tool to help limit the spread of this disease.

Because COVID-19 is currently widespread in the region, and a large portion of the population has yet to be vaccinated, local public health authorities continue to encourage the widespread use of masks and other precautions, to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The mask-wearing requirement for Colorado was amended inExecutive Order D 2021 103on May 14. The order requires people in Colorado who are 11 years and older to wear a mask over their noses and mouths in the following settings:

  • Preschool through grade 12 schools (including extracurricular activities) and childcare centers and services; however, fully vaccinated individuals, including vaccinated children ages 16-18, in a classroom, cohort, or other group of children may remove masks where the teacher(s), caregiver(s), or other staff whose primary responsibility is education or childcare have provided proof of fully completed vaccination to their employer.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated staff at Colorado Division of Motor Vehicle offices.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated residents, staff, and visitors to congregate care facilities, including nursing facilities, assisted living residences, intermediate care facilities, and group homes, except in situations where removal is authorized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated residents, staff, and visitors to prisons.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated residents, staff, and visitors to jails.
  • Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated personnel in emergency medical and other health care settings (including hospitals, ambulance service centers, urgent care centers, non-ambulatory surgical structures, clinics, doctors’ offices, and non-urgent care medical structures).

Fully vaccinated people can go without masks in public indoor spaces unless the setting requires otherwise.

People who do not have to wear a mask, even if unvaccinated, include:

  • People who are 10 years old and younger.
  • People who cannot medically tolerate a face covering.
  • Children younger than 2 years old should NOT wear masks.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call to be screened for testing.

  • Rio Grande Hospital, 719-657-4990
  • SLV Health Respiratory Clinic, 719-589-3000 ext. 9
  • Valley-Wide Health Systems, 719-589-3658 ext. 4