Public Health Update: November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020 Public Health SLV COVID-19 Update



By the end of the day Monday, Alamosa and Conejos Counties will have moved to Level Orange on the State COVID-19 Dial. Costilla County will move to  Level Orange on Wednesday at 5pm. More of our local counties may make the same transition soon. Hospitalizations are up, both here and around the state. The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has made effective contact tracing very difficult. There is a high level of illness in the community, with a large number of people isolated and quarantined. 


What is Level Orange? General guidelines for Level Orange are summarized below. There may be additional guidelines for specific sectors. 

  • Public and private gatherings are limited to no more than 10 individuals from no more than 2 households 

  • Face Coverings. Face coverings are required for all individuals in public indoor settings unless the individual is 10 years of age or younger, or cannot medically tolerate a face covering. 

  • Capacity. Most businesses, offices, and places of worship that have been operating at 50% capacity will shift down to 25% of capacity, or 50 persons, whichever is less, and while maintaining proper distancing. 


During this challenging time, please find safe ways to support our businesses. Many rely on holiday shopping. Utilize local online and curbside shopping when possible. Take advantage of take out/carry out  to support local restaurants.You can find a list of places offering online shopping/ If we can pull together to bring down COVID-19 in our community, we can weather these winter months and move a step closer to having a vaccine. 


Alamosa County was the first of our San Luis Valley counties to start seeing a severe increase in COVID-19 over the past several weeks. After reviewing the situation with the Alamosa County Board of Health, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) sent a letter of notification on Friday. The letter stated that while Alamosa County’s illness levels are actually aligned with COVID-19 Dial Level Red, CDPHE has agreed that a gradual implementation of restrictions is suitable at this time. Alamosa County is moving to Orange, rather than to Red, but this makes it even more important that we act now to reduce the spread of COVID-19. CDPHE reserves the right to move the county to a more restrictive level at any point, should circumstances warrant more aggressive restrictions. 


Conejos, Costilla, and Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties have also exceeded one or more COVID thresholds for Level Yellow. Their Boards of Health have met or will meet soon with CDPHE to discuss specifics in each county. Where possible and reasonable, CDPHE officials see value in keeping our region on one level, given that our healthcare system functions to serve our entire region, and our county residents frequently move between counties for work and other reasons. 


Public Health very much hopes to avoid being moved to even more aggressive restrictions. It is important to do all we can to keep our schools, our places of worship, and our businesses open to the greatest extent possible while protecting the vulnerable among us, and doing our best to avoid overwhelming our clinics and hospitals. There are actions we can all take to help each other. Stay home when ill, and have family members do the same. Cover your face when around others, and keep your distance. Keep your contacts to a minimum, avoid gathering with family and friends, and avoid non-essential outings; substitute with virtual visits. Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. If you are told to isolate or quarantine, do it.


Public Health agencies are working with businesses and others to make sure everyone has the information they need. For more details, you can also see


The SLV currently has 257 known active COVID-19 cases.

Alamosa County- 122

Conejos County - 29

Costilla County - 15

Mineral County - 0

Rio Grande County - 48

Saguache County - 43

Numbers are updated weekdays at



Costilla County will host a community testing event using oral swabs on Friday, November 20th, from 8am - 11am at the Blanca Fort Garland, and from 1:00 - 3:00 at Centennial School. Register at the event or online. 


Adams State University will hold a free community testing event on November 20 and 21. To pre-register please visit


To pursue testing for COVID-19 through our regular testing providers, or for medical questions, call;

  • Rio Grande Hospital 719-657-4990

  • SLVHealth Respiratory Clinic 719-589-3000 ext. 9 

  • Valley-Wide Health Systems 719-589-3658 ext. 4 (M-F), 719-589-2562 (Sa/Su)


The Colorado Spirit Crisis Counseling Program (CCP) offers community-based crisis counseling, help with disaster coping strategies, education, and more. Get information at or call 719-587-5673. 

For general (non-medical) SLV COVID-19 related questions:, 719-480-8719