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COVID-19 outbreak reported at Pagosa Springs Walmart

10 cases mark fourth-largest outbreak in Archuleta County
An illustration depicting the new coronavirus.

Ten employees of the Pagosa Springs Walmart have tested positive for COVID-19, making it one of the largest outbreaks in Archuleta County since the start of the pandemic.

The outbreak, first identified June 12, prompted Walmart to close the store temporarily for deep cleaning. The state defines outbreaks as five or more cases within a single facility in a 14-day period. Outbreaks were previously defined as two or more cases within a 14-day period.

“This is one of the largest outbreaks we’ve investigated to date in Archuleta County,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of San Juan Basin Public Health, in a news release.

The outbreak is tied as the county’s fourth largest as of Wednesday. All those who tested positive were isolated and those identified as unvaccinated who had close contact with the infected were put on quarantine, SJBPH said.

The investigation is ongoing, and SJBPH will continue to evaluate information about this and all cases as received.

“With the more severe Delta variant spreading, this outbreak should serve as a reminder for unvaccinated residents to get the vaccine and protect themselves and their families as soon as possible,” Jollon said.

The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus was first detected in India and is considered by public health experts to be one of the most transmissible and severe variants of COVID-19 to date, the SJBPH news release said.

There are multiple variants spreading around the world and in the United States. As the virus evolves, some variants disappear over time, others persist. Each one raises questions about the strain’s infectivity, impact on COVID-19 disease severity and treatment effectiveness.

Variants of the virus, including the Delta variant, are still present and circulating in La Plata and Archuleta counties. Variant sequencing indicates that most new cases of COVID-19 in Colorado are now the Delta variant strain, the release said.

There are no active COVID-19 outbreaks in La Plata County as of Wednesday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

La Plata County reported 4,153 total cases as of Wednesday, and Archuleta County reported 1,042 total cases since March 2020, according to SJBPH.

Unvaccinated people are at higher risk of falling ill with the Delta variant of COVID-19. The state has found that more than 98% of confirmed COVID-19 cases have occurred in the unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated population since January 2021, SJBPH said.

The health department urged unvaccinated residents to get the vaccine as soon as possible, saying it is the best protection against the virus.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all residents ages 12 and up. People ages 12 to 17 are eligible only for the Pfizer vaccine and must have a signed parental consent form, which can be completed online when registering or at the clinic.

The vaccine is free, and no identification is required. Additional clinics and information about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on SJBPH’s website.

“We appreciate all efforts on behalf of local businesses to keep our community safe and Walmart Pagosa Springs has been a strong partner in this work,” Jollon said. “SJBPH has a public health advisory in effect, and we remind the community that face coverings in public indoor spaces are highly recommended.”


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