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La Plata County COVID-19 community levels downgraded to medium

Health experts advise caution as county is still at elevated risk of infection
La Plata County had a case incident rate of 195.6 per 100,000 people for COVID-19 as of Monday, according to a news release from San Juan Basin Public Health. (Durango Herald file)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has downgraded La Plata County’s COVID-19 community levels from “high” to “medium.”

For a medium level, the CDC recommends those at high risk of severe illness talk to their health care provider about wearing a mask.

According to a news release Monday from San Juan Basin Public Health, La Plata County has a case incidence rate of 195.6 per 100,000 over the past seven days. The release also says cases and percent positivity of laboratory tests are starting to decrease.

“We are moving in a positive direction in terms of case incidents and hospitalizations, and the modeling suggests we’re going to continue to move in that direction for the next little bit,” said Megan Graham, spokeswoman for SJBPH.

Graham said experts believe the trend could last through mid-August. However, SJBPH advises taking precautions, such as testing, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated, to slow the spread. The Colorado School of Public Health estimated that 1 in 42 to 55 Coloradans were infectious with COVID-19 on June 14, according to the release.

Graham said the risk of becoming infected is elevated at this time and there is not a specific causation as to why the risk has elevated during the summer.

“It’s just sort of like the way that COVID is circulating in our communities right now,” she said. “We tend to lag behind the Northeast. We’re seeing transmission of COVID in the Northeast start to dip a little bit.”

Free testing will be offered at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. However, the Fort Lewis College testing site will permanently close on Thursday. SJBPH also advises using at-home test kits, which are available at health department locations.

tbrown@durangoherald.com

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