SAN LUIS VALLEY – SLV Health administered COVID-19 vaccines to its essential staff who have been working tirelessly. SLV Health is following the guidelines of vaccinating frontline healthcare workers in Phase 1, especially those like Tiffanie Hoover, Dr. Carla Christ, and Fallon Crowther who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients,” commented Sadie Spencer, Director of Pharmacy at SLV Health. San Luis Valley Health, in cooperation with the CDC, CDPHE, and local public health officials, have planned and coordinated the vaccine distribution in the early phases. “We appreciate our partners at Alamosa County Public Health. It’s important that we do not waste any of the vaccines available to us, especially at the beginning, when the quantities are limited,” commented Spencer. Moderna is a two-part vaccine and the booster shots will be available to these health care workers in 28 days.
More information about the next phases of vaccine distributions will be forthcoming. SLVPHP stated there are some concerns about side effects. Some people may experience symptoms such as pain and redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, or fever for 1-2 days after receiving the vaccine. A misconception is that the shot gives you a mild case of the actual illness you are being vaccinated against. This is not true. The symptoms are a normal result of your body’s immune system responding and building up defenses needed to fight the virus in the future. It is important that you also receive the second dose of the vaccine as scheduled for full protection.
Vaccine providers will screen for potential allergies. They will also monitor recipients for 15-30 minutes after vaccination as a precaution. Because this is a new vaccine, researchers will be learning more about rare side effects, if any, over the next year. To identify side effects that happen only very rarely (e.g., once in 50,000 doses), hundreds of thousands of people need to be vaccinated and followed over time.
SLVPHP announced Tuesday, Dec. 22, that “currently in the Colorado COVID-19 framework, Phase 1A for vaccination includes health care workers who have direct contact with COVID-19 patients for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, and staff and residents of long term care facilities. Vaccinations in hospitals and long term care facilities will not be administered by public health, as other arrangements have been made for those high priority vaccinations. Colorado’s Phase 1B currently includes moderate risk health care workers and responders. As local public health agencies await initial limited shipments of Moderna vaccines, they are coordinating with agencies and organizations in these early categories to administer vaccinations. If you believe you are in one of these categories, check with your employer for more information. Federal recommendations for vaccination phases were updated over the weekend. We anticipate the Governor to release updated guidelines for Colorado Wednesday, Dec. 23. Local public health agencies will be focused on Phase 1B through the winter as vaccines are made available to the San Luis Valley.”
Colorado’s https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine website stated, “Scientists have developed several possible vaccines to provide immunity to COVID-19. The pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna have applied for an Emergency Use Authorization with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use on December 11, and Colorado received the first shipment of the vaccine on December 14. The FDA authorized the Moderna vaccine for emergency use on December 18. The companies report that both vaccines are around 95% effective. The initial supply of vaccines will be very limited and will be distributed in a swift, fair, and efficient way. To slow the spread for everyone, we need to prioritize the highest risk health care workers and Coloradans who are most at risk for getting severely sick or even dying of COVID-19.
Until the vaccine is widely available, we will all need to continue to follow critical public health protocols. Please wear a mask in public, maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others, avoid gatherings, wash your hands often, and stay home when you are sick”
If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, see Colorado’s vaccination information page at https://covid19.colorado.gov/vaccine or call (719) 480-8719.
Wednesday, Dec. 16, COVID-19 active cases in the SLV were 282. Thursday, Dec. 17, active cases in the Valley had jumped by 49 to 331.
Wednesday, Dec. 23, the Colorado statewide seven-day positivity test rate dropped from 8.97% to 7.33% the past week. San Luis Valley Public Health Partnership (SLVPHP) reported Wednesday, Dec. 23, that the SLV two-week positivity rate had increased from 4.32% to 5.62% during the past week. The Colorado and World Health Organization two-week positivity goal is 5% or lower.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22 Rio Grande, Conejos, and Mineral counties continued to be at level “Orange” on the state’s COVID-19 dial. Alamosa and Costilla counties remain at level “Red” and Saguache County remains at level “Yellow.”
According to the CDPHE, COVID-19 dial dashboard Wednesday, Dec. 23, counties in the SLV were up and down with their positivity test rates. Rio Grande County saw the highest increase in active COVID-19 cases increasing from 36 to 80 active cases in less than one week with a positivity rate increase from 2.1% to 3.0% Costilla County decreased from a positivity rate of 14.9% to 12.6%. Conejos County is decreased slightly from 6.0% to 5.3%, Saguache County dropped from 5.3% to 4.4%, Alamosa County once again increased week over week from 6.7% to 7.4%, and Mineral County remained at level green on all positions of the state’s COVID-19 dial with one new active case.
According to the SLVPHP there were 256 known active cases in the SLV Wednesday, Dec. 23. “Active cases” means that the cases are confirmed positive for COVID-19 and are currently being supported by Public Health during their isolation period. Active cases by county were as follows as of Wednesday, Dec. 23:
Rio Grande: 80
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center Monday, Dec. 21, Colorado continues to have a lower seven-day positivity moving average test rate of 7.76% which is lower than all neighboring states. Wyoming decreased in positive test rates going to 13.4% to 8.2% over the past week. Other neighboring positivity rates over the past week Dec. 21 showed Kansas had a COVID-19 positivity rate of 37.7%, Utah 18.0%, Arizona 14.3%, Nebraska 9.2% and Oklahoma 20.8%.