Public Health answers Coronavirus questions

SAN LUIS VALLEY— Coronavirus has been dominating the news in Colorado and around the world. The San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership has been receiving questions from the local community.

What is the current status of COVID-19 in the San Luis Valley?
Colorado began seeing presumptive cases of COVID-19 this past week. A presumptive case means that a test has been processed and determined for COVID-19 by the lab at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), but that a confirmation of the test result has not yet been made by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As of right now, there are no presumptive cases in the San Luis Valley. However, this is a rapidly evolving situation, and what we’re seeing in other areas advises us that once spread is detected in a community, cases can increase quickly. Given that, our recommendations may alter.

What can I do to help prevent the spread of disease?
Stay informed and take simple preventive actions.
Practice good hygiene. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water; in the absence of soap and water, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
Stay home if you’re sick; keep your children home if they are sick.

Can pets spread COVID-19?
CDC does not have any evidence to suggest that animals or animals imported from affected geographic areas pose a risk for spreading COVID-19 in the United States.

Is there a vaccine that can stop COVID-19 from spreading?
COVID-19 is such a new virus that a vaccine has not yet been developed. The influenza virus is not designed to fight COVID-19. However, public health does encourage people to get a flu vaccine each year to fight influenza, which can also be a dangerous disease.

What is my County Public Health Agency doing to prepare?
For many years Local Public Health agencies have devoted time and energy to planning and practicing to respond to potential widespread disease outbreaks. In the short time since COVID-19 was identified as a potential threat, local agencies have been in frequent communication with CDPHE and with local partners in the health care community in order to prepare for this particular disease outbreak.

Is the Valley prepared for possible spread of the virus?
A community’s resilience depends in large part on individuals and families doing their part. There is no evidence of community spread in Colorado at this time, but this is a good time to be calm and get prepared. FEMA guidance for pre-pandemic COVID-19 preparedness is available on Helpful information about getting your household ready for coronavirus is available on CDC’s website. The coronavirus 2019 website also has more specific guidance for schools, businesses and communities, as well as for people at higher risk and special populations.
More online information is available on SLV Health’s FAQ page as well as CDPHE’s coronavirus web page.
People who have general questions about coronavirus disease 2019, can call CO HELP at 303-389-1687 or 1-877-462-2911 or email them at [email protected], for answers in English and Spanish.

Alamosa County Public Health, Della Cox-Vieira RN, MPH, Director
8900 Independence Way, Alamosa, CO 81101
Office: 719-589-6639    Fax: 719-589-1103    Cell: 719-429-4832
[email protected]

Conejos County Public Health, Denise Jiron, Director
19023 HWY 285, P. O. Box 78, La Jara, CO  81140
Office: 719-274-4307    Fax: 719-274-4309     
[email protected]

Costilla County Public Health, Vivian Gallegos RN, Director
233 Main St. Suite C, P. O. Box 99, San Luis, CO 81152
Office: 719- 672-3332    Direct line: 719-672-3456 Fax: 719-672-3856    Cell: 719-206-0118
[email protected]
Rio Grande County Public Health, Emily Brown MPH, CPH, Director
925 6th Street, Rm 101 - Del Norte, CO  81132
Office: (719) 657-3352    Direct: (719) 657-4231    Cell:  (719) 850-0040    Fax:  (719) 657-2286
[email protected]

Silver Thread Public Health District (Mineral and Hinsdale Counties), Tara Hardy MS, Director
802 Rio Grande Ave., P. O. Box 425, Creede, CO 81130
Lake City main office: 970-944-0321     Creede office: 719-658-2416 Cell: 970- 819-1028
[email protected]

Saguache County Public Health, Lynnette Grant, Director
220 S Worth, Center, CO 81125
Office: 719-655-2533  Fax: 719-655-0105
[email protected]


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