Public Health update on COVID-19


San Luis Valley - March 23, 2020, Rio Grande County Public Health received confirmation that two Rio Grande County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. We remind you today that it is important that our community continue to take the steps to slow the spread of this virus in our community.  Everyone, sick or well, should limit physical contact with others by staying home and staying 6 feet away from others when you must go out for essential activities like picking up groceries.


If you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, self-quarantine by staying home for at 14 days. Do not go into any public spaces during this time.


If you feel sick, self-isolate and STAY HOME, away from household members if possible, for at least seven days and until your symptoms are gone and you have had no fever for at least 72 hours without using medicine that reduces fevers.


Rio Grande County Public Health press release from this morning, March 23, 2020,  included the following information, “As of the morning of 3/23/2020, Rio Grande County Public Health was notified by Rio Grande County Hospital that we do have two (2) positive cases of COVID-19 in Rio Grande County. The cases are currently a 20-year-old female and a 50-year-old male. They are both currently isolating at home.” 


When positive results are received, out of both the respect of the individuals and national privacy laws, Public Health will not share any further identifying information regarding the identity of those who receive positive test results. If you know someone who has received a positive test result, please be respectful of their privacy and do not share that information with others. Knowing who has or has not been tested does not change the need to continue to observe physical distancing and sheltering in place in your own home.


When notice of a positive test result is received, Public Health goes through a process called contact tracing to identify where possible contact with others may have occurred, and then they follow up accordingly. In the meantime, we encourage EVERYONE to adhere to the guidelines we have been issuing regarding limiting contact with others. That is the BEST way to minimize your risk of exposure. We must assume that others in the community are carrying the virus, whether or not they have symptoms.


Yesterday Governor Polis issued an executive order directing all of Colorado’s non-critical employers to reduce their in-person workforce by 50 percent. The executive order directs all employers to implement telework options to the greatest extent possible. If telework is not practical or possible, employers are encouraged to stagger work schedules to reduce the proximity of employees during work hours and to keep employees on payroll. This Executive Order does not apply to any employer that can certify that employees are no closer than 6 feet from one another during any part of their work hours. This order further places an emphasis on the need to STAY HOME if possible.
Local residents are advised not to receive visitors. Visitors may unknowingly spread the virus to you or your family. We advise everyone, stay in your home except to meet needs such as a weekly trip to the grocery store This is especially important if you fall into the most vulnerable population, above 60 years of age, have underlying health conditions, or are immunocompromised for any reason.


The San Luis Valley COVID-19 Information line, (719) 480-8719, is for general COVID-19 information in the San Luis Valley. It is staffed by volunteers who can help callers find accurate information. The line will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Callers will not be able to get medical advice or referrals at this number.


If you call 911 for any reason, tell the dispatcher if you are having symptoms, or if you have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19. As always, call 911 only if you are having a medical emergency. If you or someone in your household is having symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath), call your doctor. Or, you can call one of the nurse lines set up by SLV Health or Rio Grande Hospital. Those numbers are as follows: SLV Health: 719-589-2511 ext. 9, or Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990.


CO HELP line 1-877-462-2911 (English and Spanish) for Colorado general information.


Colorado updates and guidance: https://covid19.colorado.gov
CDC updates and guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Small Business - www.choosecolorado.com
Volunteer or Donate - www.helpcoloradonow.org

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