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Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Southwest Colorado, with 13 in La Plata County

Testing site to open next week in Archuleta County
Health officials did limited testing for COVID-19 at a drive-thru location last week and this week at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus are on the rise in Southwest Colorado as test results are returned.

La Plata County’s number of positive coronavirus cases continues to rise.

On Friday, San Juan Basin Public Health reported La Plata County’s confirmed cases jumped from four to 13. In Archuleta County, only one positive case has been announced.

SJBPH did not immediately return requests for comment.

The increase in confirmed cases comes as no surprise, health officials have said, given that the first concerted effort to test occurred last week at the La Plata County Fairgrounds on about 100 people who were either showing symptoms or most at-risk of exposure, such as health care workers.

Little has been released by SJBPH about what segments of the population are showing positive cases.

Axis Health System previously announced one of its employees was among the confirmed cases. The health care provider said the staff member was sent home and the potential exposure to others was limited to a 2½-day time frame.

SJBPH and Pagosa Springs Medical Center will open a temporary drive-thru testing site at the medical center from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday. Tests will be limited to people showing symptoms and those at-risk, such as health care workers and emergency responders.

“There is a significant shortage of test kits nationally, in Colorado and in Archuleta County,” Liane Jollon, SJBPH executive director, said in a statement. “Because of the limited number of tests that have been performed, we believe the number of COVID-19 cases in the community has been underreported. This first testing opportunity will be limited but will provide us a snapshot of the spread of the disease in this community and will allow local public health officials to take actions to mitigate future spread of COVID-19. Our end goal is to have widespread testing and SJBPH is actively seeking additional resources to provide more testing in the communities we serve.”

Statewide, there were 1,734 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Thursday, and 31 deaths, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

No deaths have been reported in Archuleta or La Plata counties.

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