SAN LUIS VALLEY — Alamosa Public Health reported two new fatalities on Tuesday - one a member of a long term facility, bringing the valley cumulative total of COVID-19 related deaths to 10.
Two new cases for the SLV have been reported since Monday: one each from Alamosa and Saguache counties. However, due to a correction in the State reporting system, the Rio Grande County total decreased by 1 case, and a case reported by Mineral County returned to their home state, so the total number of cumulative cases as of Tuesday night remains at 445, as well 53 known active cases. Thirty-one total people had been hospitalized as of Tuesday, and 382 had completed their isolation period. Numbers are updated weekdays at slvemergency.org/slv-covid-19/.
Testing throughout the region has become more accessible and testing capacity by providers has increased due to the availability of supplies, technology advances, an increase in trained staff, and outside support. As of July 6th, 2020, the total number of COVID tests administered as reported by providers is 2,753. Several Long Term Care facilities are working towards the capability to do their own testing, and increased testing in some outbreak locations has helped to slow or halt transmission for those workplaces. Testing continues to be one of the main queries by the public as posed to Public Health and the hospital triage call-lines. Here, we will be providing some clarification on some of the more common questions over the next few days.
How does increasing testing help with the virus?
Testing helps us slow the spread of illness. Testing is a tool to identify who currently has the virus and needs to isolate. It enables Public Health to identify people who may have had contact with them during the infectious period (contact tracing). Public Health can then advise contacts to either self-quarantine to see if symptoms develop, and/or be tested if testing is available. This is a very important part of the process, given that some infected people never show symptoms but can still pass the virus to others. Without testing, we end up with alternatives like keeping everyone home, which we all agree is not a viable long term solution.
I was diagnosed with COVID-19, but I feel ok (I am asymptomatic, or I have recovered). When can I go back to work?
If you received a positive COVID-19 test result, it is important to follow the guidelines Public Health gave you when they contacted you to follow up on the test result. Everyone’s case is different, depending on exposure, symptom severity and duration, and close contacts. If you have questions, call your local Public Health office.
My employer wants to know when I can come back to work, what can I tell them?
Tell them that you do not have a specific date, but need to stay home at least ten days since getting tested (with a positive test) or since you started feeling sick. This may be extended if you still feel sick after ten days, especially if you have a fever, or if Public Health has recommended you continue to stay home.
I was told to quarantine, but I got tested and the test was negative, can I go back to work?
No, you need to stay home until the full 14 days of quarantine are over.
How long is the turn around between testing and the result?
This depends on where the sample goes to be analyzed. According to local providers, some tests can be run “in house” (locally) and be ready in several hours. Others are shipped out and can vary from 24 to 48 hours.
If you wish to pursue testing, there are several testing clinics scheduled for July around the Valley. You must call the day before to schedule an appointment:
Tuesday, July 14 from 9-11 at Guadalupe Health Center in Antonito. Call 719-587-2874 on July 13th starting at 8 am to schedule an appointment.
Tuesday, July 21 from 8-11 at Mountain Valley School parking lot in Saguache, need to call 719-587-2901 on July 20th starting at 8 am
You may also contact your primary care provider or one of the numbers listed below to begin the screening process:
For symptomatic individuals only, call:
Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990
SLVHealth Respiratory Clinic 719-589-2511 ext. 9
For symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals who have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual, call:
Valley-Wide Health Systems 719-589-3658 ext. 9 (M-F), 719-589-2562 (Sa/Su)
For general (non-medical) SLV COVID-19 related questions: [email protected], 719-480-8719