Public Health Update: Nov. 30, 2020



What were the results of recent special testing events in our region? 

During the past 10 days community testing events at Adams State University, in Saguache County, and in Costilla County, a total of 2,211 test samples were taken. Of those, so far 82 community testing participants have been confirmed to have the virus that causes COVID-19. 


How many cases have we had in our region? 

If we add the community testing results to the cases identified through our ongoing testing providers, there have been a total of 312 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the past 2 weeks. As a region, we have had 1,349 confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic. 


Do we have more cases because we are doing more testing? 

No. Testing identifies existing cases. It does not create them. Testing helps prevent the spread of the virus by letting people know when they should isolate or quarantine. Although we have continued to see new cases, the added testing has helped our positivity rate go down. Two weeks ago, 11.3% of our tests were positive for the virus. Today, our regional positivity rate has been brought down to 5.9%. Our goal is to be below 5%. 


Aren’t most people recovering fine from COVID-19? 

Most people recover from COVID-19 without needing to be hospitalized. For many, symptoms are mild or even absent. However, there are also reports from many young, otherwise healthy people that they continue to experience the effects of COVID-19 for weeks or months. This is one area where scientists need more time and study to understand this illness better.


What is the status of deaths and hospitalizations? 

Unfortunately, deaths and hospitalizations have increased recently. We are sorry to report that there have been 4 COVID-related deaths in the San Luis Valley in the past week (1 in Alamosa County, 1 in Costilla County, 1 in Conejos County, and 1 in Rio Grande County). Since the pandemic began, there have been 24 COVID-related deaths of San Luis Valley residents. Our hearts go out to every family who has lost someone to this virus. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 were very low in August and September, but they began to rise in October. We have had 93 local COVID hospitalizations so far, with 24% of those just in the past 2 weeks. 


Where does this end?

The good news is that vaccines are on their way. We are hoping and planning to receive a small number of doses sometime in December. Like all vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine must meet safety and effectiveness requirements set by the Food and Drug Administration. Healthcare workers with highest risk of exposure will be first to have the opportunity to be vaccinated. We anticipate vaccines will become more widely available in the first half of 2021. In the meantime, we need to stay vigilant and interrupt the spread of the virus by wearing masks, physical  distancing, and avoiding gatherings. 


The SLV currently has 252 known active COVID-19 cases. 

Alamosa County- 138

Conejos County - 23

Costilla County - 9 

Mineral County - 10 

Rio Grande County - .54

Saguache County - 18 

More information about capacity restrictions at each level, as well as other San Luis Valley COVID information, can be found at website link


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