Mold spores have been discovered after flooding damage in late 2019 at Southwest Health Systems Walk-in Clinic, 1413 N. Mildred Road, and the clinic has been relocated to a temporary location.
The clinic is temporarily located at 1311-A N. Mildred Road, in the Southwest Medical Group Physician Office Building in Cortez. A date has not yet been set for a return to the permanent clinic, said Bridgett Jabour, executive assistant at Southwest Health System.
According to a news release issued by SHS, the mold spores present a potential health risk to the clinic’s employees and patients. Letters have been sent to 307 patients and members of the public who might have been exposed to mold spores on Dec. 30-31 and from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.
“Our patients’ health and safety is our highest priority, and we sincerely apologize for any negative impacts this may have had on our patients and employees. We are working closely with state and local health officials to permanently resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying everyone who was in the building during that time as to the issue and symptoms that could result from mold exposure and what steps to take should you have any symptoms,” SHS CEO Tony Sudduth said in the news release.
Symptoms of mold exposure include: fever and chills, shortness of breath, a cough that brings up blood, chest or joint pain, headaches or eye symptoms and skin lesions.
As of Wednesday, only one patient had called and reported symptoms, Jabour said. The patient has not come back in for tests, which can take seven to 10 days to complete, she said.
Five employees have submitted reports, and two of them have been tested. Test results are pending, Jabour said.
SHS stated if someone is not currently experiencing symptoms, nothing is required. However, if you have been experiencing symptoms or have questions or concerns, call SHS at 564-1037.
Anyone experiencing symptoms or concerns about mold exposure can come to the temporary walk-in clinic. Upon arrival, let the front desk know you received the notice about mold exposure and were a patient or in the building between Dec. 30-31, 2019, and from Jan. 2 to Jan. 8.
The building housing the permanent clinic is owned by Montezuma County Hospital District and leased to SHS.
A leak in the main water line serving the building was discovered Nov. 8, 2019, and likely had been leaking unnoticed for months, Jabour said.
The permanent clinic is undergoing cleaning to ensure mold is removed.
Extensive testing for humidity, soil sampling and structural integrity have been completed since the leak was discovered. Humidity levels and tests for spore counts continue to be monitored.
The walk-in clinic operates from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Southwest Health System is a nonprofit that operates Southwest Memorial Hospital and Southwest Medical Group, which comprises six clinics providing primary and specialty care.