SLV COVID-19 cases increasing vertically

Saguache County has highest COVID-19 positivity rate in state Three SLV counties move to “Level Orange Safer at Home High Risk” status

SAN LUIS VALLEY – Nov. 16. San Luis Valley (SLV) positive known active cases grew by 99 the past week – an increase of 61.4%.  As of Tuesday, Nov. 17 there were 257 active cases in the SLV and the Valley has continued to have a record number of positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
The two-week SLV positivity rate ending Nov. 16 grew from 7.36% to 11.35% over the past week. Statewide the positivity rate was 11.6% on the same date.

According to the Colorado COVID-19 “dashboard,” on Nov. 16, Saguache County continued to have the highest two-week positivity rate in the state with 22% of tests coming back positive.  Alamosa County rose from third to second highest test rate in the state with 20.9% of tests coming back positive– an increase of 4.2% from the previous week. Rio Grande County’s two-week positivity rate rose from 2.3% to 4.2% in the past seven days. Conjeos County had its positivity rate increase from 9.8% to 13.7% while Costilla County’s positivity rate continued to increase from 12.3% to 18.9%.

In the early stages of the pandemic Governor Polis wanted to have 6,000 tests conducted statewide each day.  On Nov. 16 Colorado had over 6,000 positive COVID-19 tests statewide.

San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership reported Nov. 16, “Alamosa County was the first of SLV counties to start seeing a severe increase in COVID-19 over the past several weeks. After reviewing the situation with the Alamosa County Board of Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent a letter of notification Friday, Nov. 13. The letter stated that while Alamosa County’s illness levels are actually aligned with COVID-19 Dial Level Red, CDPHE has agreed that a gradual implementation of restrictions is suitable at this time.

Tuesday, Nov. 17, Linda Smith with San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership stated that, “Alamosa, Conejos, Rio Grande and Costilla counties made firm decisions about moving to a ‘Level Orange Safer at Home High Risk’ status. Rio Grande County is meeting with CDPHE again later this week to continue the conversation about their status, as is Saguache County.”

CDPHE reserves the right to move the county to a more restrictive level at any point, should circumstances warrant more aggressive restrictions. Rio Grande and Saguache counties have also exceeded one or more COVID thresholds for Level Yellow. Their Boards of Health have met or will meet soon with CDPHE to discuss specifics in each county. Where possible and reasonable, CDPHE officials see value in keeping SLV on one level, given that the health care system functions to serve the entire region, and the county residents frequently move between counties for work and other reasons.”
There were 257 known active cases in the SLV Nov. 17. “Active cases” means that the cases are confirmed positive for COVID-19 and are currently being supported by Public Health during their isolation period. Cases by county were as follows:
Alamosa: 122
Conejos: 29
Costilla: 15
Mineral: 0
Rio Grande: 48
Saguache: 43

The Colorado and World Health Organization two-week positivity goal is 5% or lower. According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center on Nov. 16, Colorado had a seven-day positivity moving average test rate of 11.6% - an increase of 1.6% from a week ago. For Colorado’s neighboring states the seven-day positivity rates continue to be higher than Colorado. On Nov. 16 Kansas was at 58.7%, Wyoming 44.6%, Utah 19.4%, Arizona 15.9%, Nebraska 14.7% and Oklahoma 17.8%.


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