San Juan Basin Public Health issues face-covering advisory

San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) issued a Face Covering Advisory for La Plata and Archuleta counties, effective today, April 11, 2020 as an important step to slow the spread of the disease caused by the novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19).

SJBPH and its partners have taken strong measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, but despite these efforts, there continues to be community transmission within Archuleta and La Plata counties. Without a vaccine or treatment, additional social distancing measures are necessary.

Recent information has indicated that covering your nose and mouth can slow the spread of COVID-19 because:

  • Individuals can be contagious before the onset of symptoms. You may be contagious and do not know it. If you have covered your nose and mouth, it can limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • We touch our face less when our face is covered. Touching your face after touching something contaminated with COVID-19 increases your chances of getting sick with the virus.



The face covering advisory is particularly important for essential workers such as grocery and restaurant employees when they are regularly interacting with the public. The advisory also applies to anyone who leaves their home to meet essential needs.

Information on how to make face coverings and properly care for them can be found at:

For the most up to date information on how to take precautions against the spread of COVID-19, visit SJBPH’s website at:





WHEREAS, on January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern” and on March 11, 2020 declared it a global pandemic. On January 31, 2020, the United States Department of Health and Human Services declared the virus a public health emergency and on March 13, 2020 the President of the United States issued a Proclamation that the “COVID-19 outbreak constitutes a national emergency”. In Colorado, Governor Polis issued an Executive Order declaring a state of disaster emergency due to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado on March 10, 2020, and on April 6, 2020 issued Executive Order D 2020 024 Amending and Extending Executive Order 2020 017 Ordering Coloradans to Stay at Home Due to the Presence of COVID-19 and; and

WHEREAS, under Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) §25-1-506 and §25-1-508, the local Public Health Director has the duty to: 1) investigate and control the causes of epidemic or communicable diseases and condition affecting public health; and 2) establish, maintain, and enforce isolation and quarantine, and in pursuit thereof, 3) exercise physical control over property and over the persons of the people within the Health District as the local Public Health Director may find necessary for the protection of the public health; and

WHEREAS, the virus that causes COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and can easily be spread through person-to-person contact and the risk of transmission is higher when people are in close proximity; and

WHEREAS, as of April 7, 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed 5,429 cases of COVID-19 and 179 deaths within the State of Colorado and 35 and 6 cases in La Plata County and Archuleta County respectively there is the need to minimize where we can the risk of COVID-19 spread; and

WHEREAS, in the absence of immunization or specific treatment, the Health Officer has determined that social/physical distancing in combination with wearing a Face Covering in a Public Place is the best tool currently available to slow the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, there is clear evidence that some individuals who contract the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms or have mild symptoms, which means they are likely unaware they carry the virus. Given that even people without symptoms can transmit the disease, and because evidence shows the disease is easily spread by release of infectious particles into the air when someone speaks, coughs, or sneezes, wearing a Face Covering while in a Public Place, whether an employee of a Critical Business, Governmental Function or a person on a Necessary Activity, is strongly advised to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus; and

WHEREAS, “Face Covering” means a device that creates a physical barrier between the mouth and nose of the wearer and potential contaminants in the immediate environment; and

WHEREAS, “Public Place” means any and all places of public accommodation, shopping, grocery business, retail food establishment, streets, sidewalks, boulevards, alleys, or other public ways and any and all public parks, squares, spaces, grounds, and buildings.

WHEREAS, this FACE COVERING ADVISORY may be amended as additional State Orders are issued.


  1. The Health Officer for San Juan Basin Public Health hereby reaffirms that there is a local public health disaster emergency within the Health District, that immediate and drastic measures are necessary to mitigate the imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury or loss of life or property resulting from the COVID-19 virus.
  2. San Juan Basin Public Health, as a political subdivision of the State of Colorado, charged with protecting public health within the Health District, endorses the Public Health and Executive Orders listed above and urges other political subdivisions within the Health District to take immediate action to comply with the Orders.
  3. The effect of this Advisory, as supplement to abiding by all Executive Orders and Public Health Orders previously issued and adopted, shall be to urge our community members, whether an employee of a Critical Business, Governmental Function or a person on a Necessary Activity, to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to wear a Face Covering to every extent possible while in a Public Place.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Advisory shall be effective upon the date and time given below and shall remain in effect until it is no longer necessary as deemed by the Health Officer.

Date: _April 11, 2020 at 8:00 a.m._________

By: ______Liane Jollon_____________ Liane Jollon, Executive Director and Health Officer


This story was posted on April 11, 2020.