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UPDATE: La Plata County’s first COVID-19 case was tested in Cortez

Adult tested last week at Southwest Memorial Hospital’s drive-thru
San Juan Basin Public Health reported the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 on Monday in La Plata County.

La Plata County announced its first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 on Monday, according to San Juan Basin Public Health.

The case is an adult resident of the county, but the health department said it would not release more details to protect the privacy of the patient.

The adult was tested last week at Southwest Memorial Hospital’s drive-thru clinic in Cortez, said Southwest Health System CEO Tony Sudduth.

The La Plata County resident traveled to Cortez specifically for the test, Sudduth said.

“They came to Cortez, were tested and immediately returned to Durango without any contact with anyone within Montezuma County, other than our testing site personnel who took the appropriate precautions to prevent exposure,” Sudduth said on the hospital’s Facebook page Monday morning.

The person had not had contact with anyone in the Cortez area for 11 days before the test, SHS said.

The case is being recorded as a La Plata County case, followed up by the San Juan Basin Public Health Department. Montezuma County still does not have a confirmed cases of COVID-19.

“San Juan Basin Public Health has been preparing for weeks as a case in our jurisdiction has been expected,” said Liane Jollon, executive director of SJBPH in a news release.

The public health department said it would trace who the person came in contact with and would continue to perform public health practices of disease control in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local partners.

“We are operating under the assumption that COVID-19 is circulating in our community and aggressive social distancing steps should be practiced by all residents,” Jollon said.

In light of a nationwide testing shortage, local health department officials continue to urge people who believe they have COVID-19 symptoms – fever, cough and shortness of breath – or have been exposed to the virus, to practice self-quarantine or isolation.

Durango held its first drive-thru testing site at the La Plata County Fairgrounds on Friday, testing select people at risk for the virus. According to Claire Ninde, spokeswoman with San Juan Basin Public Health, the individual who tested positive for COVID-19 was not one of the people screened at the testing site.

Colorado has established a helpline for COVID-19 questions at (303) 389-1687.


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