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La Plata County reports its first confirmed COVID-19 death

Public health officials confirmed fatality Saturday

La Plata County has its first confirmed COVID-19-related death, San Juan Basin Public Health announced Saturday.

The adult resident marks the first lab-confirmed person to die from the disease in La Plata County. SJBPH has not released more details about the individual at this time.

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this community member,” said SJBPH Executive Director Liane Jollon in a statement Saturday. “While we have expected more cases, this death is an unfortunate milestone in our efforts to fight this outbreak.”

The public health agency is continuing to encourage people to limit leaving the home to essential travel, such as going to the grocery store, getting medication at the pharmacy or going to work. SJBPH is also encouraging people to wear a face covering when leaving the house and continue practicing social distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others.

“This tragic death underscores the urgent need for us to take extra steps to protect residents who are particularly vulnerable to developing more serious illness, including older adults and those who have underlying health conditions,” Jollon said.

Vulnerable populations include older adults, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions, such as heart and lung disease, and people with diabetes.

“We are working with our state and federal partners to limit the impacts of this disease to our community, but we need the public’s help as well,” Jollon said. “Each and every one of us are responsible for making the important choices needed to slow the spread of this disease and protect the health and safety of everyone in our community.”

As of Friday evening, San Juan Basin Public Health reported 74 positive cases, 66 in La Plata County and eight in Archuleta County. Ten cases were reported hospitalized and 42 were recovered.

lweber@durangoherald.com

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