Health officials in Montezuma County are preparing for an increase in confirmed cases of the COVID-19 infection. That includes ramping up testing, making room for more patients, and rallying the community to help. KSUT’s Mark Duggan spoke with Bobbi Lock, Director of the Montezuma County Public Health Department to get the latest.

The county has had a COVID-19 testing station set up near Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez for more than a week. Lock says they’ve also been catching quite a few cases of standard influenza.

As with other testing facilities, at-risk patients such as health care workers, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems should get tested if they show any symptoms.

In the meantime, Lock says a conversation has started at both the state and county levels to provide for more places to house COVID-19 patients. One idea is known as Alternative Care Facilitates, or ACFs, for certain less-critical patients.

As for the most critical patients, the hospital in Cortez is already making plans. But that’s where ACF’s could provide relief, since the hospital is a relatively small facility.

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Open Range News’ Mark Duggan is reporting on the impact of the coronavirus in the Four Corners region for KSUT Public Radio. The stories and audio here were previously aired and published by KSUT.

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