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La Plata County Public Health: New name, same programs, services

On Jan. 1, La Plata County began providing the public health services that San Juan Basin Public Health had previously offered the community for 75 years of serving both Archuleta and La Plata counties. The brand-new La Plata County Public Health Department culminates a year of transition efforts to ensure that the excellent and impactful public health programs and services our residents rely on continue with our new department. La Plata County Public Health’s new team of 47 employees offers the same programs and services that made SJBPH such an effective agency for so many decades.

This includes:

Onsite wastewater permitting and installer licensing

Need a permit for your new septic system or a repair or expansion to your existing system? How about a license to install or clean out a system? La Plata County Public Health is here to help. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/489afzer.

Water and wastewater testing

La Plata County Public Health’s water lab provides bacterial water testing for private well owners in Southwest Colorado, as well as compliance testing for water and wastewater system operators in the region. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/yckmshat.

Communicable disease surveillance and prevention

La Plata County Public Health’s communicable disease program investigates infectious diseases that can be spread through person-to-person contact, from an animal to a person, or through eating contaminated food and water. Find out more about communicable disease in our region, including prevention, testing, treatment and reporting information: http://tinyurl.com/ys4xwc86.

Retail food licensing and inspections

La Plata County Public Health is responsible for inspection all restaurants and retail markets in the county and enforces compliance with state laws and regulations. Our staff is committed to training and educating retail food operators to ensure their facilities are serving safe food to the community. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/rzyyweks.

Child care facility inspections

The state of Colorado establishes health and sanitation requirements for child care facilities, and La Plata County Public Health staff members enforce those regulations through inspections and working with operators to ensure their facilities are safe and clean. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/yfrew7jb.

Sexual health and immunization clinics

La Plata County Public Health provides immunization for children and adults including routine childhood and adult immunizations, as well as travel and COVID-19, flu and RSV vaccine.

The clinic also offers sexual health services including STI testing and treatment, emergency contraception, pregnancy tests and HIV prevention.

Find out more about clinic services: http://tinyurl.com/2kmx5uf3.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

The WIC program at La Plata County Public Health connects pregnant women, infants and kids with resources to purchase healthy food and offers breastfeeding support and nutrition education. Find out more about this program, which is an equal-opportunity provider, at: http://tinyurl.com/4b8nba7f.

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)

Better worlds start with great families, and La Plata County Public Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership program empowers first-time parents to create vibrant futures for themselves and their babies. Connect with a nurse today: http://tinyurl.com/4u33zrcc.


SafeCare Colorado offers families free, ongoing support and skill-building for families with children from birth to 5 years old. The program provides in-home visits and coaching on child-proofing, redirecting misbehavior and dealing with parenting stress. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/pbdxf4z7.

Health insurance literacy

Our health insurance literacy team works to increase community awareness of health insurance options and provides enrollment assistance through Connect for Health Colorado. Our team also supports people affected by the end of the continuous Medicaid eligibility finding private coverage. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/dytbcwy7.

Opioid harm reduction

La Plata County Public Health’s harm reduction program provides education and referrals to primary care, mental health and recovery resources as well as materials to reduce impacts of drug use including fentanyl test strips, overdose reversal medication and clean syringes for people who inject drugs. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/4b2dk538.

Suicide prevention

La Plata County Public Health believes in supporting all aspects of health, including mental health and works in collaboratives to help local residents feel supported in all areas of their lives, particularly when mental health challenges arise – with the goal of reducing the rates of suicide mortality and attempts in La Plata County. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/bde38sa5.

Tobacco education

La Plata County Public Health works to reduce tobacco initiation, use and exposure to secondhand smoke by working with organizations to introduce tobacco-free workplace policies, providing resources to help stop using tobacco, and helping educate and develop policies that reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. Find out more: http://tinyurl.com/39we7v7w.

These and all of our programs and services are available at 281 Sawyer Drive in Durango. Reach us at 247-5702.

Stay up to date on public health happenings. There are so many ways to keep informed:

  • Sign up for In Touch, the La Plata County Health Department newsletter: http://eepurl.com/iyAUzg.
  • Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lpcpublichealth/.
  • Follow us on Instagram: @lpcpublichealth.
  • Visit our website: lpcpublichealth.org.