UPDATED 04-22-2020

In an effort to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 in our community,
Saguache County government will have limited access to buildings 
beginning Monday, April 27, 2020. 

In an effort to move forward with our job duties, a decision was made
to begin integrating the public back into the county sector.  

Staff will be providing limited essential services via phone and online avenues.
In-person contact for receiving essential services will have limited restrictions during this time. 

These adjustments to county services and public access will be in place until further notice.


The Public Health Dept. offers the following services:

• Home and Community Based Services
• Regional and County Disaster Preparedness
• HCP for Children With Special Needs
• Nursing Services - Immunization and Vaccination Fees
• Prevention Services
• Communicable Disease Investigation and Information
• Public Health Educational Programs

Public Health Home

Landmark FDA Ruling on the Regulation of E-Cigs

The U.S Food and Drug Administration made a landmark ruling today regarding the regulation of electronic cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment fully supports this announcement. This historic step will help improve public health and protect future generations from the risks of tobacco use by putting additional restrictions in place that make it illegal to sell tobacco products to minors.

“Every Coloradan deserves to know what they are putting in their bodies when using an electronic cigarette - so they can make an informed decision about their health. This is the expectation for virtually every product in our country, and it’s perfectly reasonable to apply those expectations to e-cigarettes,” said Dr. Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It’s worth noting this is not a ruling on the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as cessation devices, which at this point is still unknown. Until the data can confirm or deny their effectiveness for that purpose, we will continue to recommend proven strategies to help people quit.”

Dr. Wolk said, “Colorado continues to hold clean air as the standard in our state for both secondhand smoke and vapor, and while some studies have stated e-cigarettes may be less harmful than combustible tobacco products, the safest level of nicotine consumption for any adult in Colorado is zero.”

For more information please see the announcement from the FDA Here.

Public Health Confirms Hantavirus Associated Death


April 19th, 2016

Public Health Confirms Hantavirus Associated Death

SAGUACHE— The laboratory at Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has confirmed a recently deceased resident of Saguache County was exposed to hantavirus, according to Saguache County Public Health Director, Ginger Stringer. To protect confidentiality, public health officials are unable to disclose the identity of the deceased or exact location of exposure.

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) is a rare but serious disease caused by exposure to hantavirus. Colorado has had more confirmed cases of HPS than any other state except New Mexico. The disease is fatal for more than one-third of those people who become infected.

Hantavirus cannot spread from person to person. People are infected by breathing in the virus when stirring up dust from mouse nests or mouse droppings in areas with poor ventilation, or when handling mice, because hantavirus can be found in the urine, saliva, and droppings of infected mice.  People are at risk when going into closed spaces with rodent droppings, such as crawl spaces, attics, barns, outbuildings, and sheds, or when clearing wood piles where mouse droppings might be present.

In the San Luis Valley, the hantavirus is carried by deer mice, which have tawny backs, white bellies, big eyes and big ears. Typically, 10-15 percent of deer mice are infected, and it is not possible to tell if a mouse has the virus just by looking at it.  Rodents and household pets do not get sick from the virus.

Symptoms of HPS:

Symptoms usually start from one week to six weeks after exposure. Initialsymptoms are fatigue, fever, and muscle aches. There may also be headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, and chills.  Four to ten days later,a dry cough and difficulty breathing may develop as the lungs fill with fluid. From this point, the illness can progress rapidly to respiratory failure or even death.

Because the disease can progress rapidly, it is important to seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, and muscle pain within six weeks of exposure to mice or their droppings. 

Reduce your risk:

Keep mice away from areas where you live and work.  Store human food, pet food, and bird seed in lidded containers or securely closing cabinets.  Use traps baited with peanut butter to remove rodents from indoor areas. Keep garbage in tightly-covered cans.

Plug all holes (dime-sized or larger) in walls and around pipes and vents, using steel wool or metal sheeting. Repair window screens and make sure weather-stripping is tight under all doors, including pet doors.  Store hay, wood and equipment above ground at least 100 feet from the house. Remove old cars, junk and brush piles from the yard.

To clean up rodent infested areas:

Open doors and windows and allow a room to air out for 30 minutes before going inside.  Consider using a respirator mask (N-100 rating) that seals tightly to the face. DO NOT SWEEP OR DRY-VACUUM MOUSE DROPPINGS. Mix a fresh solution of one part bleach to nine parts water (or 1 ½ cups bleach per gallon of water). Wear rubber gloves and spray droppings, nests, and carcasses with the bleach and water solution. Let soak for 5-10 minutes before cleaning up with a mop, sponge, or wet vacuum.  After disinfecting, place mouse carcasses, nests and cleaning materials into a plastic bag. Tie the bag shut and put it in an outdoor trashcan.  Wash hands and clothing after clean up.

Hantavirus is a very real threat in the San Luis Valley. Take care when opening outbuildings, or when you find mouse droppings and mice around the house. For further information about protecting yourself and your family from hantavirus, contact your local Public Health Agency or go to www.cdc.gov/hantavirus.

CDC Press Release: E-cigarette ads reach nearly 7 in 10 middle and high-school students

 More than 18 million youth see e-cigarette ads; many ads use themes from cigarette ads that appeal to youth

     About 7 in 10 middle and high school students – more than 18 million young people – see e-cigarette advertising in stores, online, in newspapers and magazines, or on television and in movies, according to a new CDC Vital Signs report.

     E-cigarette ads use many of the same themes – independence, rebellion, and sex – used to sell cigarettes and other conventional tobacco products. Advertising of tobacco products has been shown to cause youth to start using those products. The unrestricted marketing of e-cigarettes and dramatic increases in their use by youth could reverse decades of progress in preventing tobacco use among youth.

     “The same advertising tactics the tobacco industry used years ago to get kids addicted to nicotine are now being used to entice a new generation of young people to use e-cigarettes,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “I hope all can agree that kids should not use e-cigarettes.”

     Data from the 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) show 68.9 percent of middle and high school students see e-cigarettes ads from one or more media sources. More youth see e-cigarette ads in retail stores (54.8 percent) than online (39.8 percent), in TV/movies (36.5 percent), or in newspapers and magazines (30.4 percent).

     E-cigarettes typically deliver nicotine, which at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use. In 2014, e-cigarettes became the most commonly used tobacco product among youth, surpassing conventional cigarettes. During 2011 to 2014, current e-cigarette use among high school students soared from 1.5 percent to 13.4 percent, and among middle school students from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent. Spending on e-cigarette advertising rose from $6.4 million in 2011 to an estimated $115 million in 2014.

     Strategies to reduce youth access to e-cigarettes could include:

  • Limiting tobacco product sales to facilities that never admit youth,
  • Restricting the number of stores that sell tobacco and how close they can be to schools,
  • Requiring that e-cigarettes be sold only through face-to-face transactions, not on the Internet, and
  • Requiring age verification to enter e-cigarette vendor’s websites, make purchases, and accept deliveries of e-cigarettes.

     “States and communities can also help reduce youth tobacco use by funding tobacco prevention and control programs that address the diversity of tobacco products available on the market, including e-cigarettes,” said Corinne Graffunder, Dr.P.H., director of CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health. “We know what works to effectively reduce youth tobacco use. If we were to fully invest in these proven strategies, we could significantly reduce the staggering toll that tobacco takes on our families and communities.”

     Other key findings in the Vital Signs report show that:

  • More than half of high school students (8.3 million) saw e-cigarette ads in retail stores, and more than 6 million saw them on the Internet.
  • More than half of middle school students (6 million) saw e-cigarettes ads in retail stores, and more than 4 million saw them on the Internet.
  • About 15 percent of all students (4.1 million) saw e-cigarette ads from all four sources: retail stores, the Internet, TV/movies, and magazines/newspapers.

    The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority to regulate the manufacture, marketing, and sale of certain tobacco products. FDA has announced its intention to regulate e-cigarettes and other currently unregulated tobacco products as part of this Act. The rulemaking is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget.


     Vital Signs is a report that appears on the first Tuesday of the month as part of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The report provides the latest data and information on key health indicators.  These include cancer prevention, obesity, tobacco use, motor vehicle passenger safety, prescription drug overdose, HIV/AIDS, alcohol use, health care-associated infections, cardiovascular health, teen pregnancy, food safety, and viral hepatitis.


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

CDC works 24/7 protecting America’s health, safety and security. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are curable or preventable, chronic or acute, stem from human error or deliberate attack, CDC is committed to respond to America’s most pressing health challenges.

Preventive health care can help Americans stay healthier throughout their lives. Those enrolled in health insurance coverage can use the “Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You” (English andSpanish) to learn about their benefits, including how to connect to primary care and the preventive services that are right for them, so that they can live a long and healthy life.



Colorado still the least obese state and No. 1 in physical activity

Mark Salley, Communications Director |303-692-2013|



Colorado still the least obese state and No. 1 in physical activity


DENVER — Colorado is the eighth healthiest state according to United Health Foundation’s annual health rankings, released today. The index ranks Colorado as the least obese state, No. 1 in physicial activity and second lowest in diabetes prevalence.

Gov. John Hickelooper said, "It's no surprise that Colorado retained its No. 1 ranking as the least obese state in the nation. With our abundant year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, it’s natural that Coloradans also rank first in physical activity.”

Read more: Colorado still the least obese state and No. 1 in physical activity

Bat Tested Positive For Rabies



SAGUACHE COUNTY – A bat found by a resident of Saguache County tested positive for rabies this week. Fortunately, the individual was able to contact local public health and have the animal tested before any persons were exposed to the deadly virus.   “We want to remind the public to protect themselves and their animals, and emphasize the importance of reporting animals that may have been exposed to a rabid animal or that may be showing signs of rabies, such as unusual behavior,” said Samantha Escobedo, SLV Regional Epidemiologist.

Read more: Bat Tested Positive For Rabies