SAN LUIS VALLEY — The San Luis Valley saw a steep increase in COVID-19 cases over the past week. As of Monday afternoon, Jan. 10, there were at least 329 known active cases in the San Luis Valley, according to the SLV public health officials. Local COVID-19 hospitalizations have also begun to increase again, although at a slower pace.
Illness is affecting many households, workplaces, childcare providers, and schools. Add to that the recent flurry of updated guidance, and it may feel frustrating and overwhelming. If you need support, call SLV Behavioral Health Group at 719-589-3671 or call Colorado Crisis Services at 1-844-493-TALK(8255) or text TALK to 38255.
The Omicron variant is causing a higher number of breakthrough cases than previous variants in those who have previously had COVID-19 illness, and in those who have received vaccinations, local health officials reported. A layered approach to preventing the spread of illness is recommended. Three doses of COVID-19 vaccine provides the highest level of protection against the virus.
COVID-19 vaccination guidelines have been updated:
- Those aged 12 and older who received 2 doses of Pfizer should receive an additional dose after 5 months.
- Those who initially received 2 doses of Moderna should get an additional dose after 5 months.
- Those who received a Johnson and Johnson vaccine should get a follow up dose of either Pfizer or Moderna after 2 months.
- Those who are immunocompromised and received 3 doses as part of the initial series should get an additional dose after 5 months.
- Children ages 5-11 may receive an initial two-dose series of the Pfizer vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines are free and available at many locations, including healthcare providers, public health agencies, and pharmacies. Valley-Wide Health Systems offers Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J vaccines every Friday at the ASU Neilson Library parking lot in Alamosa in its mobile unit — 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. for adults, and 1:30-3:30 p.m. for pediatrics. Pediatrics must have an appointment. Call 719-587-9610 to schedule.
Mobile vaccine bus clinics offer both flu and COVID-19 vaccines to anyone age 5 and up. Walkups are accepted, appointments are available and encouraged for pediatric vaccines at https://www.mobilevax.us/southwest. Upcoming mobile vaccine clinics are scheduled as follows:
- Jan. 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Alamosa
- Jan 15-16, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at ASU Nielsen Library in Alamosa
- Jan. 17-18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at Walmart in Alamosa
- Jan. 18, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Sanford School
- Jan. 19, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at Del Norte School
- Those who need testing prior to travel may go to SLV Health Regional Medical Center or Conejos County Hospital laboratories during business weekday hours and ask for direct-to- consumer testing. Results are usually available within 24 hours. There is a charge for this service.
- Free COVID testing is available at Convenient Care at 1131 Main St. in Alamosa seven days a week from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Advance pre-registration is not required, but it may reduce your wait time.
- Free COVID-19 testing is available at Costilla County Public Health, by appointment only, Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 719-672-3332
- Free COVID-19 testing is available to the public through mobile clinics on the dates and locations listed below. Register when you arrive, or register online in advance at www.affinityecarecolorado.com.
- Mondays, 2-6 p.m. at the Blanca Fort Garland Community Center
- Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Rio Grande County Social Services, 1015 6th St. in Del Norte
- Tuesdays, 3:30-6 p.m. at Rainbow Grocery in South Fork
- Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Chapman Park in Monte Vista
- Wednesdays, 2-6 p.m. at the Community Center in Saguache (Cancelled this week only)
- Thursdays, 12-4 p.m. at La Jara Town Hall
- Thursdays, 9-11 a.m. at Antonito Town Hall
County level COVID-19 data, vaccination information, and testing location information is available at www.slvphp.comor by calling 719-480-8719.