The National Weather Service has issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook and Wind Advisory for Mesa County and surrounding areas beginning October 22nd at 12:00pm until 10:00pm. Weather conditions will deteriorate over the weekend with southwest winds 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph expected. Low humidity will also contribute to critical fire conditions.
Due to fire safety concerns, Mesa County Public Health cautions burn permit holders against burning this weekend. If conditions worsen, a No Burn Advisory may be issued to protect the health and safety of residents.
Residents, especially those with respiratory illnesses, are recommended to stay indoors and avoid prolonged outdoor exercise.
By regularly checking our Air Quality page, you can monitor conditions in real time and get an idea of what is forecasted. Keep in mind, conditions can change quickly. Our website provides a snapshot of air quality conditions, including ozone and fine particulates in the air. Residents can also check cameras around the valley, as well as an air sensor map that shows air quality at different locations across Mesa County.
Parents are a core part of the workforce and child care is essential economic infrastructure. To assist families and child care facilities, The Partnership for Children and Families (PCF), Mesa County’s early childhood council, launched BridgeCare last week. BridgeCare is a user-friendly, web-based tool that connects local families with available child care openings. It also allows providers to market their programs, highlight their services and staff, and manage enrollment.
BridgeCare gives families options to search for openings based on important variables, such as proximity to work and weekend availability. Eleven counties and their related early childhood councils will participate in BridgeCare, including Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Delta, Ouray, San Miguel, San Juan, Dolores, Montezuma, and La Plata.
Mesa County is considered a child care desert, an area where there is only one licensed child care slot for every three children ages 0-5 years old. Over the last 4 years, child care availability has grown by 20%, but the pandemic resulted in an unprecedented 8% loss in capacity and providers in Mesa County. PCF and partners will use real-time data from BridgeCare to understand how many additional childcare slots are still needed.
Stephanie Bivins, PCF Director explained, “Eighty-five percent of all brain development happens by the age of three. Early care and school readiness impact the trajectory of our future generations. BridgeCare will transform how our child care providers and families find each other. This tool will help us improve the entire child care landscape in Mesa County. We want every family to have what they need.”
The Partnership for Children and Families (PCF) is charged by the state to respond to local needs and conditions to increase the accessibility of early childhood services. Mesa County Public Health is the fiscal sponsor. The organizations are unified in their efforts to strengthen and streamline early childhood education (ECE) services.
Families can search for child care openings at child care.mesa county pcf.org.
Providers can set up a profile and manage their program at providers.mesacountypcf.org.
If you’re struggling, or know someone who needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text CO to 741741.
Suicide Prevention is a priority for Mesa County.
An annual report is prepared in collaboration with Mesa County Public Health, Mesa County Coroner, and the Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition. The group collects and analyzes data to understand suicide trends and key findings. The report is used for planning and implementation of prevention activities across Mesa County.
In contrast to previous years, people who died by suicide in 2021 were less likely to have a known previous attempt and a much higher incidence of intoxication at the time of death. They were also more likely to be impacted by multiple types of stressors at the time of their death. Stressors include things like relationship, financial, legal, or health challenges.
Data was collected on suicide attempts and suicidal ideation resulting in an emergency department visit. For every death by suicide in 2021, there were approximately twelve suicide-related visits to an emergency department in Mesa County. Youth had the highest number of visits for suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.
All health outcomes, including suicide risk, are connected to how people live, work, worship, learn, and play. The report details how these factors can be addressed to reduce suicide risk.
- Feeling connected to other people; schools, neighborhoods, workplaces, faith communities, and cultural groups protect people from suicide risk.
- Economic stability increases resilience and reduces financial stress – a risk factor for suicide. Policies and practices for increased food security, affordable housing, family-friendly employment, and access to affordable, quality child care are suicide prevention efforts.
SUICIDE PREVENTION IN ACTION
Innovative programs and activities are underway in Mesa County by healthcare, government, business, and nonprofit organizations.
- Gun shops and pawn shops participate in Colorado’s Gun Shop Project, providing information about suicide risk and distributing gun locks to encourage safe storage of firearms.
- In 2021, over 700 pounds of medication was disposed of at Take Back sites.
- In 2021, the Suicide Prevention Coalition, in collaboration with the Mesa County Coroner’s Office, hired a Suicide Loss Coordinator who supports valley residents who have recently lost a loved one to suicide.
The Mesa County Suicide Prevention Coalition works towards its goal of reducing suicide by 20% by 2024.
View the complete annual report here.
This week Mesa County launched a community survey, known as Tell Us.
Tell Us is a 15-minute survey for all adults in Mesa County. Mesa County Public Health Director, Jeff Kuhr, explained, “Our community members are our local experts. They know our community best and have a great vision for what they want to see in Mesa County. We mean it when we say, “tell us!” Tell us your ideas and opinions. Tell us what we should focus on for the future of Mesa County.”
The survey is available in English and Spanish and will run until July 29th. Community members can take the survey on a cellphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Residents can also call 970-248-6900 to have a paper copy of the survey mailed to their home. All responses are confidential and will not be shared in any manner that could be used to identify an individual.
The feedback will be used by county leadership to:
- Understand current community member experiences with Mesa County services,
- Plan, prioritize, and budget for future County projects, and
- Identify trends or upcoming issues that the County may want to address.
Research and Planning Program Manager, Heidi Dragoo, discussed how the information will be used. She said, “The County will use the feedback from the community to set priorities, inform planning, and budgeting. Mesa County Public Health will use the information about social connections, outdoor recreation, and quality of life to support community initiatives to help every Mesa County resident thrive.” Current community initiatives are working to address substance use, mental health, outdoor recreation, strengthening social connections, healthy starts for kids, and suicide prevention. You can learn more about these existing initiatives here.
The survey can be accessed in English and Spanish through this webpage.
Now all children, down to six months old, are able to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines on June 19th. Mesa County Public Health ordered Moderna and Pfizer vaccine in anticipation of this approval. Clinical trials and ongoing safety monitoring ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective for this age group. Vaccination provides protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 like hospitalization and death.
COVID-19 continues to circulate in Mesa County and is now becoming endemic, like influenza. Unvaccinated individuals continue to dominate the reported new cases. From May 1 to June 20, slightly over 92% of new cases were in unvaccinated individuals. Fifteen-percent of children ages infant through four years old have had COVID-19. This population is estimated to be 4.5% of Mesa County’s population. When considering unreported cases, 60% to 70% of this age group has no immunity. This approval means that more of the community can receive protection.
The community will be notified when the vaccine for this age group arrives. Families can call Mesa County Public Health and schedule an appointment. MCPH has a team of experts who work with this age group every day and create an environment that is good for the child and the parent. Visit the COVID-19 Vaccine webpage for more information.