Free COVID-19 test

Nancy Dick receives her free COVID-19 test from Mt. San Rafael nurses Irene Trujillo, right, and Shannon Castellano at the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Department community testing site.

As free community testing at Las Animas County Justice Department continues to the end of this month (Oct.), the Las Animas and Huerfano County Health Department (LAHCHD) has issued several updates to current case numbers. The latest as of today shows the county’s total COVID-19 case count at 67 with 34 of them being active.

Additionally, Huerfano’s current total case count according to LAHCHD is 30 with two active cases and two deaths since March.

“Las Animas County is seeing a significant increase in local COVID-19 cases, outbreaks and community spread,” said LAHCHD Director Kim Gonzales. “Las Animas County’s COVID-19 incidence rate has climbed in recent weeks to 248 and its test positivity rate has increased which shows community spread. The incidence rate is consistent with the state’s Safer-at-Home Level Three dashboard metrics.”

A little over a month ago the state began using a dial system for gaging COVID-19 risks to communities in a hope to provide a consistent, easy to follow system of management. The dial includes five levels gaged from least to most restrictive.

- Protect Our Neighbors

- Level 1: Cautious

- Level 2: Concern

- Level 3: High Risk

- Stay at Home

Said the state’s COVID-19 page, “Levels are based on the number of new cases, the percent positivity of COVID tests, and the impact on hospitals, and local considerations.”

Because of the increase in caseloads, earlier this week Mt. San Rafael Hospital (MSRH) released an update to their operations and protocols, namely no longer accepting visitors.

“No visitors are allowed on the hospital/clinic campus,” said MSRH’s release. “Exceptions will be made for pediatrics, disabled patients requiring assistance and end of life circumstances.”

Community COVID-19 testing is still available until the end of the month each Tuesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Las Animas County Justice Department, 2309 East Main Street in Trinidad.  

“All Las Animas and Huerfano County residents who are experiencing symptoms or would like to be tested for COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested at the community testing site,” said LAHCHD.

LAHCHD also said as a reminder that the community should follow the department’s five commitments to containment that include wearing a mask, maintaining six-feet distance, minimizing group sizes, washing hands frequently, and staying home when sick along with getting tested.

For more information visit Colorado.gov/la-h-health or on Facebook at Las Animas Huerfano Counties District Health Department.

Patients for Mt. San Rafael Hospital should expect a few changes to hospital operations:

• No visitors are allowed on the hospital/clinic campus. Exceptions will be made for pediatrics, disabled patients requiring assistance and end of life circumstances.

• Family members and friends are encouraged to use digital devices to connect with their loved ones in the hospital. Video chats, text messages and telephone calls are an important way to support patients.

• Please CALL THE CLINIC or HOSPITAL BEFORE your appointment if you have a fever, cough, flu symptoms, or if you think you may have been exposed to the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

• Patients are SCREENED AT ALL ENTRY POINTS. Patients MUST tell staff if they have, a fever, cold symptoms (cough, sore throat, runny nose, shortness of breath); flu symptoms (fever, chills, body aches, etc.).

• Patients are required to wear a clean surgical mask provided by our facilities to protect you and our staff during your visit.

• Front lobby doors will close at 4 p.m. daily. After 4 p.m., patients may only enter through the ER.

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