SAN LUIS VALLEY – What a difference a day can make. On Monday, May 18, Rio Grande and Mineral County officials announced that their COVID-19 variances were approved by the state and restaurants, gyms, RV parks and places of worship would be able to open when they met the variance stipulations.
Tuesday, May 19, SLV Public Health Partnership announced that COVID-19 cases doubled overnight in Saguache and Rio Grande counties and 30 new cases were reported in the San Luis Valley increasing the number of cases to 106. Saguache County jumped from 18 to 37 cases and Rio Grande County went from 8 to 14.
Unfortunately if Rio Grande County has three additional active positive COVID-19 cases the recently approved variance will be automatically rescinded. Linda Smith SLV EPR Coordinator with the San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership confirmed May 20 that Rio Grande County has seven (7) active COVID-19 cases. According to the variance agreement, If any of the County’s thresholds of 10 or more cases under investigation, 10 percent positivity rate, or 60 percent hospital bed occupancy occurs, then the variance is automatically rescinded and restaurants, gyms, RV parks, places of worship etc. would again be closed.
This makes the following of health guidelines even more important. Wash your hands, wear face masks, social distance, isolate if you are symptomatic, etc.
The increase in positive cases was primarily due to an outbreak at the Mountain King Spud Growers potato warehouse facility in Center. So far 25 positive test results have been received related to this outbreak. Those results will affect overall COVID-19 case counts in Saguache, Rio Grande and Alamosa counties. Mountain King has decided to voluntarily close the facility for an additional 14 days for cleaning, as well as to encourage needed isolation and quarantine to prevent further spread of the virus.