State health data for La Plata County showed two new COVID-19 outbreaks Wednesday: Four Corners Health Care Center and Ska Fabricating, both in Durango.
Cases in the county have rapidly increased since Halloween, creating viral spread that met state criteria for stricter public health restrictions. About 850 new cases have been confirmed since Nov. 1, bringing the total number of cases to 1,290 as of Thursday. San Juan Basin Public Health moved the county into “Level Red” restrictions Nov. 20.
“Now is the time to take every precaution. Our health care systems are already nearing capacity,” said Claire Ninde, SJBPH spokeswoman, on Wednesday.
The outbreak at Four Corners Health Care Center, confirmed Monday, included three residents and two staff members with COVID-19. An investigation could identify additional cases, according to a SJBPH news release.
The outbreak at Ska Fabricating was confirmed Nov. 18 after three people tested positive. An outbreak is defined by the state as two or more positive cases at a location within a 14-day period.
Residents of long-term care facilities are considered to be more vulnerable to severe cases of the illness because they are older and can have additional health conditions. As of Wednesday, all residents who tested positive were asymptomatic, the release said.
“The center has done its best to heed the advice of SJBPH in order to minimize the spread of this terrible virus,” said Annaliese Impink, spokeswoman at Four Corners. “We appreciate the diligence and hard work of the center’s staff and the staff of SJBPH.”
The nursing home immediately placed the three residents in an isolation wing of the facility, excluded the positive employees from work, conducted contact tracing and tested all facility residents Nov. 20. SJBPH is providing infection control guidance to management, the release said.
“We hope that with quick action on the part of SJBPH and Four Corners management, this outbreak will be quickly contained and resolved,” said Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director. “With the virus so prevalent in our community, it remains critical that people take the virus seriously.”
State records show 13 active outbreaks in La Plata County and no active outbreaks in Archuleta County as of Wednesday.
Outbreaks are considered active for 28 days, or two full incubation periods for the novel coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2.
“With the drastic increase in cases locally, statewide and nationwide, public health officials are urging people to follow stringent public health precautions and local orders to avoid a potential surge in cases that could come from Thanksgiving holiday gatherings and travel,” Ninde said.
SJBPH recommended community members take action to:
Cancel all gatherings with people who don’t live in the same household, including Thanksgiving gatherings. (Social gatherings with people from other households are not permitted in counties classified as Level Red, including La Plata County.)Wear a mask if it is necessary to leave home to do essential activities.Physically distance from others by at least 6 feet.Stay at home as much as possible, and instruct employees to work from home, if possible.Practice good hygiene (washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, etc.).Get tested if you have symptoms or think you’ve been exposed through a known contact or community interaction.Don’t go to work, school/or social activities if you are sick or have a known or suspected email@example.com