COVID-19: Flu shots encouraged, feedback sought on ski area guidance

By Randi Pierce
Staff Writer

As of Wednesday afternoon, Archuleta County had 62 total cases of COVID-19 among residents, with 36 recovered, and 54 cases among nonresidents, according to San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) data.

Archuleta County had 55 resident cases on Oct. 1, according to the data.

Archuleta County remains under Safer at Home Level 1 on the state’s dial framework, with SJBPH’s website showing that Archuleta County meets the metrics for Protect Our Neighbors in seven of eight categories.

The area where Archuleta County does not meet the metric is “Stable or declining COVID-19 hospitalizations.”

Data from Mercy Regional Medical Center related to the metric show a “Hospitalizations Percent Change (average for 14 day period beginning on Sundays)” of 76 percent on Oct. 3, as compared to -41.63 percent on Sept. 26 and -5.3 percent on Oct. 10. 

Increasing hospitalizations are a concern across the state, with Gov. Jared Polis stating Tuesday that Colorado’s hospitalizations were the highest they’d been since May.

“We need to get this under control now,” he said.

Colorado as a whole listed 80,085 cases cumulative cases as of Wednesday afternoon, with 8,003 hospitalized.

Flu clinics announced

SJBPH announced October dates and locations for flu clinics in both Archuleta and La Plata counties Wednesday, with public health officials suggesting that getting a flu shot this year is more important than ever.

A SJBPH press release on the flu shot clinics states, “according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the addition of another respiratory illness on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could overburden the health care system, strain testing capacity, and increase the risk of catching both diseases at once.”

The public health agency’s upcoming Archuleta County clinic is set for Monday, Oct. 26, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the SJBPH Pagosa Springs Office, 502 S. 8th St.

SJBPH is urging anyone over 6 months to get a flu shot. 

“Flu cases start to increase in October and typically peak in late December or early January before dropping off in the spring. Since it takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect, October is the ideal time to get your flu shot,” the press release explains, adding, “Each year, the flu vaccine contains three to four different strains of the disease that officials expect to be the ones most in circulation during the current season. Even when a flu vaccine is not an exact match to the strain that winds up being most common in a season, it prompts the body to produce an immune response that will limit the severity of a person’s sickness.”

The cost of flu shots at SJBPH clinics is free to un- or under-insured, or is covered by insurance.

Additional clinic dates are expected to be added.

State seeks feedback on guidance for ski areas

On Wednesday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced that it is seeking feedback on newly drafted guidance for ski areas and resorts.

Stakeholders and the public are asked to submit feedback by 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 16.

To read the full draft guidance, visit: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1k58FNq2w2YNW0xL4hIGHlz86kockwXV5/view.

This story was posted on October 16, 2020.