SAN LUIS VALLEY - There are many seniors in the San Luis Valley who are anxious to be vaccinated, and we ask for your patience, as vaccines are still very limited. Today, Governor Polis announced that we will expand who will be able to receive COVID-19 vaccinations in Phase 1. During the coming week, local public health agencies will be planning with healthcare partners how to expand vaccination opportunities to these new groups. At this time, we do not have enough doses of the vaccine for everyone in Phase 1, but we expect to receive vaccine in small but regular shipments during the coming weeks.
At a meeting of the San Luis Valley Healthcare Coalition on Tuesday, it was reported that so far only mild side effects, such as temporary arm soreness, are being observed as early vaccinations for COVID-19 continue this week. According to the most recent state guidelines, Colorado’s Phase 1A includes health care workers in settings with high risk of COVID-19 exposure. Phase 1B includes health care workers in settings with moderate risk of exposure, first responders, those ages 70 and up, and certain other front line workers. Phase 1A and 1B vaccinations will continue in January. Vaccination planning will include providing a second dose for each vaccine recipient.
Staff and residents of long term care facilities are also part of Phase 1. Vaccinations for long term care facilities have been allocated and contracted at the federal level separately from hospitals, clinics, and public health agencies. We have been informed that long term care facility vaccinations will begin in early January.
In an ideal world, we would be able to cleanly and consistently move through this first phase. However, each county will be able to move through Phase 1A and 1B at different rates, based on vaccine allocations received and the unique makeup of each county. We must balance the need to follow phasing priorities with the need to make sure that we do not waste any doses of the vaccine. Vaccine providers have not been authorized to provide vaccinations to those beyond Phase 1 at this time. Doing so could jeopardize their ability to continue providing vaccinations. We expect to be able to move to Phase 2 in the spring.
For now, we need to remember we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Social interactions still look different. Risk management is something we should think about every morning when we wake up. In December, our region had 31 people hospitalized with COVID-19, and there were 12 deaths among cases. The number of active cases is beginning to come down, but the coronavirus is still with us. It is not just a cold or the flu, and it is not going to extinguish itself.
There are currently 170 known active cases of COVID-19 in the San Luis Valley.
Alamosa County - 104
Conejos County - 15
Costilla County - 13
Mineral County - 4
Rio Grande County - 30
Saguache County - 4
You can find answers to most vaccine questions at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine. More information about local data, dial status, capacity restrictions at each level, as well as other San Luis Valley COVID information, can be found at website link https://www.slvphp.com/slv-regional-covid-dial/.
Support local businesses. Get more information at https://slvsupportlocal.com/
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 https://www.slvbhg.org/services-and-programs/coloradospirit/ or call 719-587-5673.
For general (non-medical) SLV COVID-19 related questions: firstname.lastname@example.org, 719-480-8719