La Plata County sees its first spike in positive COVID-19 cases in weeks.
San Juan Basin Public Health reported 106 cases in La Plata County as of June 26. The county’s case numbers increased from 88 to 106 from June 21 to Friday. These new cases represent the county’s first spike in several weeks, according to SJBPH data.
Archuleta County’s case number has remained at 8 cases since April 17, 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 Thursday 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 reached more than 1,051 people as of June 20.
On Thursday, 14 cases were reported to SJBPH. Overall, people in their 50s have had the most COVID-19 cases, 24. Those in their 20s and 60s have had the same number of cases, 20 for each group.
In response to the new cases, SJBPH increased its disease investigation efforts, which include contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine guidance and follow-up. SJBPH also increased coordination with state and county public health agencies on nonresident individuals 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, other regions surrounding Southwest Colorado have seen some of the most severe outbreaks in the nation.
Texas, Arizona, Utah and Nevada all experienced upward trends in cases and positivity rates from June 8 to 22, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis. During those two weeks, case numbers in Texas and Arizona increased the most, by 153% and 135%, respectively. Case numbers in Utah increased the least, by 42%.
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.