SM County: Public Health Advisory, COVID-19 Surge in San Miguel County!

SM County: Public Health Advisory, COVID-19 Surge in San Miguel County!

San Miguel County Public Health puts out the word: San Miguel County residents should take urgent action to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

For corona vaccine info, visit here.

For up-to-date coronavirus information, visit here.

For free coronavirus testing opportunities, visit here.

For all Covid blogs from San Miguel County, go here.

San Miguel County Department of Public Health and Environment is issuing a public health advisory in response to a rapid increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the county. The county is reporting over 100 new cases from clinical test results received since Saturday, December 17. Public Health recognizes this does not capture all current cases as there are several hundred test results currently pending.

Based on the data, the county incidence rate has exceeded 1,000 cases per 100,000 people and projects over 100 new cases to occur weekly. For reference, the Level Red base metric for incidence rate on the CDPHE COVID Dial is 500 cases per 100,000 people. This rapid increase suggests that the highly contagious omicron variant is present resulting in increased risk of exposure and very high community spread.

Public Health encourages an urgent change of individual behavior given the stark increased risk of infection, continued strain on regional hospitals and increase in COVID-related deaths.

To slow the current rapid rate of infection, Public Health urges residents and visitors to:

Stay home if you are symptomatic or a close contact of a known positive, no matter your vaccination status, and quarantine for 10 days from the onset of symptoms.

Wear a mask in all public settings, no matter your vaccination status.

Consider canceling large holiday gatherings and holiday travel.

Be patient with Public Health’s contact tracing team as everyone works through over 100 new cases. If you received a positive test result, isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or 10 days from a positive result if asymptomatic.

Testing capacity is full currently. Please refer to the county COVID testing page for opportunities that will be available next week and stay home if symptomatic.

• Remember that the regional medical centers are overwhelmed with demand for testing as well as ongoing medical needs and often require provider care resulting in standard fees:
— Telluride Regional Medical Center does not provide testing for asymptomatic patients. Symptomatic testing at TRMC requires a provider evaluation which results in an office visit fee.
— Uncompahgre Medical Center provides testing by appointment only and requires provider evaluation for symptomatic testing which will result in an office visit fee.

Further information is outlined below regarding the San Miguel County Public Health (SMCPH) advisory including recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID-19. All residents and visitors should take necessary precautions to protect themselves, and those most vulnerable in our community, against COVID-19. We all have a critical role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Immunocompromised Individuals:

People who are immunocompromised should wear a high-quality mask, such as a KN95, and take additional precautions like getting tested for COVID-19. Everyone should wear a well-fitting mask if you are celebrating with someone who has a weakened immune system, is at an increased risk of severe disease, or is unvaccinated. Getting tested for COVID-19 before gathering with groups from different households, including if you are traveling, can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to friends and family.

Testing and Capacity:

Public Health’s testing is full. Additional hours were added to the schedule to prioritize symptomatic patients and close contacts, though not every person needing a test could be accommodated. Recognizing current strains on our regional medical centers, Public Health will NOT refer testing to the Telluride Regional Medical Center nor the Uncompahgre Medical Center.

Testing is an excellent tool to identify cases, but other best practices can be implemented when symptomatic or a close contact. While the surge continues and capacity remains limited, Public Health will be implementing a triaged approach for recommended actions and protocol to move forward.

Close Contacts:

Isolate immediately if any symptoms start.

If a person is symptomatic or symptomatic and a close contact to a known positive:
Isolate immediately for the full 10 days and presume they are positive.

Any asymptomatic close contact to a known positive should:
• Isolate for 10 days if unvaccinated.
• Reduce interactions and be vigilant with mask use.
• Do not interact with anyone who is vulnerable (unvaccinated, over 65 years old, or immunocompromised).
• Pay close attention to symptoms and isolate immediately if symptoms do start.

Quarantine Guidelines and Resources:

Public Health does not currently have the capacity to contact close contacts and needs your help to notify all those who could have been exposed. We request that all positives notify close contacts that they must quarantine for 10 days from the last date of exposure. If a close contact receives a negative result from a proctored molecular test taken 5 or more days after their last exposure, they may be released from isolation on day 7.

For various quarantine and isolation guidance, please refer to the below:

Quarantine & Isolation Guidance Flowchart | English | Spanish
Quarantine & Isolation Resources | English | Spanish
Quarantine & Isolation Checklist | English | Spanish

If you are a business owner, manager, or member of staff, please refer to the Business tab of the county COVID website for helpful resources surrounding exposures, quarantine and isolation, and more:

Business Resources for Owners, Management and Staff | English | Spanish
Public-facing Staff One Pager, English

Positive Cases:

The State’s contact tracing system is currently down. Public Health’s contact tracing team does not have capacity to reach all positive cases from today’s results. All positives need to isolate from others for 10 days from onset of symptoms or positive test date if positive without symptoms. Review the CDC’s quarantine and isolation guidelines and inform any close contacts within two days prior to symptoms or positive test results. Close contacts should then follow the guidance above.


Medical treatments are available to treat those infected with COVID to reduce the likelihood of getting very sick. Visit the State’s treatment website for more information or speak with your medical provider to learn if this is the best treatment to help you recover.

Today, the FDA authorized the first oral antiviral treatment for COVID-19, which will be a game-changer to prevent severe disease. Public Health is working directly with CDPHE to better understand the distribution process.

Power The Comeback:

Crowded places, covered faces
Get vaccinated
Stay home when sick and get tested

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.