La Plata County has seen its first spike in positive COVID-19 cases in weeks.
San Juan Basin Public Health reported 119 cases in La Plata County as of Tuesday. The county’s case numbers increased from 91 to 119 over the last week since June 23. These new cases represent the county’s first spike in several weeks, according to SJBPH data.
Archuleta County’s case number was at nine Tuesday, according to SJBPH. During the past two months, 11% of COVID-19 cases in the two counties were asymptomatic, said Samie Stephens, SJBPH regional epidemiologist.
“That doesn’t mean there are fewer cases, they are just asymptomatic,” Stephens said last week during a meeting with the health department’s board.
Increases in case numbers can correspond to increased testing. SJBPH and its local partners have increased testing ability and targeted testing over recent weeks. For example, an SJBPH and Mercy Regional Medical Center collaborative testing effort had reached more than 1,051 people as of June 20.
But new cases are coming in faster than they have in the past. The last 28-case increase, from 63 to 90 cases, took place over seven weeks. On Friday alone, nine cases were reported to SJBPH.
Overall, people in their 50s have had the most COVID-19 cases, 26. Those in their 20s represented the second largest group, with 24 cases.
In response to the new cases, SJBPH increased its disease investigation efforts, which include contact tracing, isolation, quarantine guidance and follow-up. SJBPH also increased coordination with state and county public health agencies on nonresidents who tested positive in either Archuleta or La Plata counties.
Southwest Colorado counties have consistently had lower case numbers than others in the state. However, regions surrounding Southwest Colorado have seen some of the most severe outbreaks in the nation.
Texas, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico all experienced upward trends in cases and positivity rates from June 14 to June 28, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. During those two weeks, case numbers in Texas and Arizona increased the most, by 184% and 145%, respectively. Case numbers in New Mexico increased the least, by 59%.
La Plata and Archuleta counties both see large tourist populations from these states during the summer. SJBPH has reported an increase in nonresident cases.
“Our team has been discussing how to appropriately communicate information about nonresident individuals who test positive in Archuleta and La Plata counties who cannot be counted in our case counts since they are not residents,” said an SJBPH news release Friday. “We hope to be reporting this information next week on our data dashboard.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers travel tips, like washing hands and wearing face coverings and says people should not travel if they are sick.