COVID-19

Local Coverage

Coronavirus fears heightened for Durango seniors

Most people dying of COVID-19 are older, and local long-term care facilities are taking precautions to keep at-risk residents healthy and safe. More than 17% of people living in La Plata County –...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Hospital and nursing homes limit visitation

To slow the spread of coronavirus and protect patients and staff, Southwest Memorial Hospital and nursing homes have implemented visitor restrictions. Beginning Monday at Southwest, patients will...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Trump declares national state of emergency, rolls out coronavirus testing plan

President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency Friday, releasing federal money to help states address the coronavirus and modifying health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid to...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Santa Fe Archdiocese shuts churches, schools due to outbreak

The Roman Catholic archdiocese for Albuquerque, Santa Fe and other parts of central and northern New Mexico has announced the immediate closings of its churches and schools “until further notice"...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: New Mexico

Colorado announces its first death from the coronavirus

Colorado on Friday announced its first death from the new coronavirus , about a week after the state’s first case was confirmed and as the outbreak has quickly spread from Aspen to Colorado Springs...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Montezuma County Ag Expo postponed because of coronavirus

The Four States Ag Expo has been postponed because of the threat of the coronavirus, organizers announced Friday. The event has been rescheduled for Sept. 25-27, said coordinator Cindy Claire. “We...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Governor urges cancellation of large gatherings as tests show coronavirus in Colorado

Gov. Jared Polis said Friday he is urging the cancellation of large public gatherings in Colorado as an increase in testing for the new coronavirus shows there has been community spread of the...

DATE: March 13, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Durango School District extends spring break, bolsters cleaning efforts

Spring break will be extended two days, school-sponsored travel will be canceled and use of school buildings by outside groups will be curtailed in an effort to keep Durango School District 9-R...

DATE: March 12, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

RMAC, Fort Lewis College suspend spring competition because of coronavirus

The NCAA made the decision Thursday to not only cancel all winter sports postseason play, including the NCAA basketball tournaments, but also all spring sports postseason play because of the spread...

DATE: March 12, 2020 | CATEGORY: High School Sports

New Mexico suspends K-12 classes for 3 weeks on virus fears

SANTA FE — New Mexico’s governor announced Thursday that K-12 schools will close for three weeks in an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Public health officials also banned mass...

DATE: March 12, 2020 | CATEGORY: New Mexico

Colorado Capitol shutdown imminent as lawmakers prepare legislation

In the clearest sign yet that the Colorado legislature is nearing a temporary shutdown in response to the new coronavirus, top lawmakers on Thursday rushed toward votes on legislation they say must...

DATE: March 12, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

Montezuma County agencies brace for arrival of coronavirus

As concerns over the coronavirus continue to grow nationwide, agencies in Montezuma County are working to establish protocols and prepare for worst-case scenarios. It’s a constantly evolving...

DATE: March 12, 2020 | CATEGORY: Local News

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, OR if you develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath, follow these instructions. These instructions are for people who have been told to isolate or who are voluntarily isolating due to symptoms.

  • A person’s residence is the preferred setting for isolation.

Isolation

  • Separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Is for people who are already sick.
  • Is a routine procedure in hospitals and health care facilities.
  • Can be voluntary, but public health agencies have legal authority to issue isolation orders to people who are sick.

How long does it last?

  • You should be in isolation (stay away from others) until:
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without using medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
    • CDC: What to do if you are sick: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
  • Health care workers may have to isolate for longer and should do what they are told by the health care facility they work for.

What else should I do?

Stay home, except to get medical care.

  • Call your doctor: if your think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing,
  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and let them know you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms, so the office can tell you what to do.
    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation, rideshares, or taxis.

Monitor your symptoms

  • People with mild illness may be able to isolate and recover at home without seeing a medical provider. If your symptoms worsen (e.g., difficulty breathing) or if you are in a higher risk group because you are older than 60 or have a chronic illness get sick, call a health care provider or nurse line to find out what to do.

Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.

  • As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from others in your home.
  • Use a separate bathroom if available.
  • Have another member of your household care for your pets. If you must care for your pet, wash your hands before and after contact with them.Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, we recommend that people with symptoms limit contact with animals until more information is known.

If possible, wear a facemask when you are around other people or pets, and before you enter a health care provider’s office.

  • If you are not able to wear a facemask, then people who live with you should not be in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.

Info from San Juan Basic public health

If you are not sick, but think you may have been exposed (in close contact with someone) who is sick, follow these instructions. These instructions are for people who have been told to quarantine, or who are voluntarily quarantining because they have a household member or close contact that has tested positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Quarantine

  • Separates people and restricts their movement if they were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.
  • Is for people who are not sick, but who may have been exposed to someone or in close contact with someone (within six feet of for 10 minutes or more) who is sick.

How long does it last?

  • Stay at home or stay put in your same location for 14 days so you don’t spread the disease to healthy people.

What else should I do?

Stay home, or in your same location, except to get medical care.

  • If you have a medical appointment, call ahead and let them know you are under quarantine (either by order or self-imposed) for COVID-19, so the office can take steps to protect other people. Otherwise:
    • Restrict activities outside your home.
    • Do not go to work, school, or public areas.
    • Avoid using public transportation, rideshares, or taxis.
  • If you get sick and your illness is mild, you may be able to isolate and recover at home without seeing a medical provider. If your symptoms worsen or if you are in a higher risk group because you are older than 60 or have a chronic illness, call a health care provider or nurse line to find out what to do.

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick. This can include people who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as people who have not been tested but have the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough and shortness of breath). Generally, as long as the site is suitable, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for quarantine and isolation, according to the CDC.

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who are sick or have been exposed to people who are sick. This can include people who have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as people who have not been tested but have the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough and shortness
of breath). Generally, as long as the site is suitable, a person’s residence is the preferred setting for quarantine and isolation, according to the CDC.

Isolation

  • Is for people who are already sick.
  • Separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Is a routine procedure in hospitals and health care facilities.
  • Can be voluntary, but public health agencies have legal authority to issue isolation orders to people who are sick.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID-19 OR if you develop fever, cough, and shortness of breath, you should be in isolation (stay away from others) until:
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
      AND
    • other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
      AND
    • At least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared
    • CDC: What to do if you are in isolation: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html
  • Health care workers may have to isolate for longer and should do what they are told by the health care facility they work for.

Quarantine

  • Is for people who are not sick, but who may have been exposed (in close contact with someone) who is sick. This could include members of your household, co-workers, or others you spend a great deal of time with (and are within six feet of for 10 minutes or more).
  • Separates people and restricts their movement if they were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. This could include exposure to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 or a person with the symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Can be voluntary, but public health has legal authority to issue quarantine orders to people who were exposed to a contagious disease.
  • Quarantined people:
    • Stay at home or in another location for 14 days so they don’t spread the disease to healthy people.
    • Can seek medical treatment from a health care provider. In the case of COVID-19, they should CALL a provider or clinic first to get instructions BEFORE going to a health care office, hospital, or urgent care. If they have a medical emergency, they should tell the 911 dispatcher they are under quarantine for COVID-19.

There is an expanding outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel or new coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan, China in early December 2019. This means that before this current outbreak, people had never experienced or been made sick by this virus. Cases have been detected in a number of countries, including the United States, with cases confirmed in Colorado.

**Colorado is experiencing limited community spread of COVID-19, meaning people are becoming infected and the source could not be identified. Learn more here. With community spread, the everyday precautions below and prevention for higher risk people becomes crucially important.

Info from San Juan Basic public health

There is no vaccine for COVID-19, but there are many everyday actions you can take to protect yourself from getting COVID-19. These are the same actions that can protect you from getting any respiratory illness.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick and keep your children at home when they are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health setting).

Info from San Juan Basic public health

With the increased spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 (novel coronavirus), social distancing, or an effort to reduce close contact between people and slow community transmission of the virus has become an increasingly vital strategy to fight the disease.

Social distancing is particularly important in protecting vulnerable populations from getting sick with COVID-19. This includes older adults, people with cardiac or lung illness, and people with diabetes.

Social distancing steps:

  • Don’t shake hands or hug.
  • Increase the distance between people to six feet to help reduce spread.
  • Consider whether you want to take a trip or attend public gatherings.
  • Follow CDC guidelines on travel.
  • If there is ongoing spread in your community, consider reducing the number of large group gatherings or activities. (As of 3/18/20, Governor Polis has ordered limiting gatherings to no more than 10 people and closing schools between March 23 and April 17.)
  • Discourage children and teens from gathering in other public places.
  • If you are sick, stay home or get treatment from your doctor (call ahead), and stay away from others.
  • If you are well, stay away from others who are sick.

Social distancing is particularly important in protecting vulnerable populations from getting sick with COVID-19. This includes older adults, people with cardiac, lung, or kidney disease, and people with diabetes. People at higher risk should take action now to be prepared for this virus if there is an outbreak in their community. For people at higher risk, preparing means being ready to stay at home as much as possible if there is an outbreak in the community and paying extra attention to everyday actions like staying away from sick people, washing your hands frequently, and avoiding crowds.

Community interventions such as closures of public agencies, buildings, school, ski areas, libraries, and events are ways to create social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Through these closures, local public health officials, elected officials, school superintendents, and businesses owners are prioritizing the protection of the health of local residents and visitors. We also need your help in these efforts. Everyone’s daily preventive actions are important in reducing spread to people who may experience more severe illness.

Together, we can make a difference by committing to responsible choices that will best support our resilient community.

If you are at higher risk (including older adults and people with serious medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes) of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Info from San Juan Basic public health

Since COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about the virus, the current understanding about how it spreads is largely based on what is known about similar respiratory illnesses.

  • Person to person contact:
    • To become sick, you have to be exposed to the virus. CDC defines exposure as being within 6 feet (2 meters) of someone with a confirmed infection for a prolonged period of time.
    • Exposure can occur through respiratory droplets– when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how flu and other respiratory viruses spread.
  • Infected surfaces or objects:
    • It may be possible to get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.
  • For these reasons, people at increased risk of infection are:
    • People who have been to areas where widespread community transmission is occurring.
    • People who had direct close contact with someone who was confirmed to have COVID-19.
  • Like any other virus, no identity, community, ethnic, or racial group in Colorado is more at risk for getting or spreading COVID-19.
  • Following federal guidance, state and local public health agencies are working together to evaluate Colorado travelers returning from areas where widespread community transmission is occurring, in order to determine the need for monitoring, quarantine, or other restriction of movement and activities.

Info from San Juan Basic public health

  • Symptoms of COVID-19, include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Illness can be severe and require hospitalization, but most individuals recover by resting, drinking plenty of liquids, and taking pain and fever-reducing medications.

Info from San Juan Basic public health