SAN LUIS VALLEY - Monday, June 22, the San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership announced the first COVID-19 death for Rio Grande county. The total number of cumulative SLV cases is now 371. Twenty-nine total people have been hospitalized, and 257 have completed isolation. There have been 6 fatalities of individuals with COVID-19 in the SLV. There are currently 108 confirmed active cases in the Valley. Alamosa county’s COVID-19 positive cases totals 171, Conejos county 15, Costilla county 18, Mineral county 2, Rio Grande county 66 and Saguache county with 99 positive cases.
On the surface, the number of COVID-19 cases reported appears to be small for the San Luis Valley. This is a misconception. When you look at the number of cases based on each Colorado county’s population you find that there are places of communitywide spread of the virus in the San Luis Valley.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) provides data based on the number of positive cases per 100,000 people in a county. The CDPHE does not provide data for counties with five or less confirmed cases. While evaluating the data it needs to be taken in consideration that case numbers and populations are low in the SLV in comparison to more urban counties in Colorado which makes one-to-one comparisons statistically difficult. However, we can use this information as a “barometer” to make comparisons.
On June 22, among the 60 counties in Colorado, Saguache ranks 3rd in the state for the most cases per 100,000 people, Alamosa county ranks 7th and Rio Grande county ranks 15th.
Some may argue that the reason for the increase is due to an increase in testing. However, based on testing per 100,000 people per county, Alamosa ranks 11th, Rio Grande county ranks 25th and Saguache county ranks 38th in the number of tests conducted per 100,000 people.
It is imperative that residents and visitors of the San Luis Valley follow Governor Polis’ health guidelines of wearing facemasks, abiding by occupancy limits, social distancing, washing of hands, etc. in order to constrain the spread of COVID-19 in the Valley.