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No Burn Advisory Due to Strong Winds

No Burn Advisory Due to Strong Winds

Due to fire safety concerns, Mesa County Public Health has issued a no burn advisory from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on May 7. Burning of any kind, including agricultural burning, is not allowed during this advisory period.

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Advisory with winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph expected.

 

Conditions are not appropriate for burning. Instead of burning, consider these alternatives:

  • Take yard waste to the Mesa County Organic Materials composting facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy. 50. The facility accepts material for composting at no charge and is open Wednesday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. For more information, call (970) 263-9319.
  • Compost leaves and grass clippings yourself. This can improve water retention in your yard or garden.
  • Rent or borrow a wood chipper for your tree and shrub trimmings. Chipped branches can also be good mulch.

For information on current air quality conditions and to learn if it’s OK to burn, visit the air quality page.

MCPH Releases COVID-19 Impact Report: A Special Report Complementing the Community Health Needs Assessment

MCPH Releases COVID-19 Impact Report: A Special Report Complementing the Community Health Needs Assessment

Two years after the first COVID-19 case was identified, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is releasing a special report, complementing the Community Health Needs Assessment. The COVID-19 Impact Report is dedicated solely to the impacts of COVID-19 in Mesa County.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, case investigators with MCPH tracked case counts, community spread, and deaths due to the virus. Tracking these data, related to direct impacts, is vital to understanding where and how the virus spreads, who is most at risk, and allows the agency to share public health guidance to protect the community and control illness outbreaks. 

As data related to the number of cases was being shared through an online Data Dashboard, the Research and Planning team at MCPH was tracking in-depth and more indirect measures as to how Mesa County was impacted by the pandemic. 

MCPH Releases the COVID-19 Impact Report

The report examines the time period between 2019-2021 and includes information on calls for service by law enforcement, healthcare visits with mental health notes, utilization of local sports programs, unemployment benefit comparisons to wages, and more. Examining these measures provides the most comprehensive look to date at the impacts of the pandemic on our community, with the intent to inform community organizations in their plans for action over the next few years.

Some of the findings include:

  • In 2020, the average age of overdose death dropped by 10 years.
  • Job losses impacted our local economy with a 10% reduction at the start of the pandemic, but unlike the recession of 2008, losses are on track to recover by the end of 2022.
  • Child care and preschool facilities faced workforce challenges. Licensed child care capacity for children ages 0-5 dropped by 6% between 2019 and 2020, and an additional 11% between 2020 and 2021.
  • Alcohol-related causes of death increased during the first year of the pandemic, the data shows a 45% increase over typical (baseline) causes.

The report highlights areas of impact rooted in the Social Determinants of Health. These are conditions in the environments where people live, learn, work, and play, that impact their health. This is the same way data is presented in the Community Health Needs Assessment released last year.

CDC Recommends Additional Boosters for Certain Individuals

CDC Recommends Additional Boosters for Certain Individuals

Data continue to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. For adults and adolescents eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefit. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it is updating its recommendations to allow certain immunocompromised individuals and people over the age of 50 who received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago to be eligible for another mRNA booster to increase their protection against severe disease from COVID-19. Separately and in addition, based on newly published data, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

During the recent Omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized. CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents, and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

These updated recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe disease in certain populations including those who are elderly or over the age of 50 with multiple underlying conditions, along with the currently available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness.

Vaccines are the safest, most effective way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, and to help avoid the worst outcomes (severe illness, hospitalization, and death) among those who do become infected. 

There are dozens of provider locations across Mesa County, including pharmacies and doctor’s offices. Scheduling an appointment through Mesa County Public health is available online or by calling 970-248-6900.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free. Coloradans don’t need ID or insurance to get vaccinated and are entitled to paid time off from your job to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.

Early Childhood Education Provider Selected for  Clifton Community Campus

Early Childhood Education Provider Selected for Clifton Community Campus

Mesa County Public Health in collaboration with Mesa County and several community partners is pleased to announce the selection of a provider for a new Early Childhood Education (ECE) Center to be constructed on previously undeveloped land located at 3260 D 1/2 Road in Clifton.

Once complete, the facility has the capacity for up to 220 children. Focusing on high quality care and smaller staff ratios, the center will have a daily capacity of 174 children in 15 classrooms.

Extended Hours Owner, Sheryl Fisher, has been selected to provide Early Childhood Education at the Clifton Center.  Sheryl’s proven track record in the child care field, and her local connection to our community makes her a perfect candidate for the position. Fisher’s background includes the ownership and operation of the Extended Hours Program for more than two decades as well as 25 years of child care experience.

“This child care center provides a great opportunity to serve the Clifton community with more than 170 high-quality child care spots. Clifton is a child care desert and this will assist families in finding convenient and great care for their children.” Heather Nara, Early Childhood Services Program Manager at Mesa County Public Health said.

The campus will not only house an Early Education Center; it will also serve as a training center for providers and other industries, have meeting space as part of the Community Halls project, and be a branch location for the Mesa County Public Library District. Other services, including a health clinic, are also being explored. “Child care slots are an issue in our community, but this facility goes a step further allowing for career development and generating a pipeline of qualified child care providers,” Stephanie Bivins, Director of the Partnership for Children and Families, said. “We’re not only building a foundation for our kids, but planning for future community needs as well.” 

In January, Mesa County Commissioners approved a $1,465,000 contract with RDG Planning & Design, Inc. for design and engineering services to construct the Clifton Community Campus.

Groundbreaking for the campus is expected in the Fall of 2022.

Mesa County Records Highest Daily COVID-19 Case Count Since the Beginning of the Pandemic

Mesa County Records Highest Daily COVID-19 Case Count Since the Beginning of the Pandemic

MESA COUNTY RECORDS HIGHEST  DAILY CASE COUNT SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC

Caution Urged As Omicron Dominates Spread Locally

Mesa County has seen a recent significant spike in COVID-19 transmission and cases. On January 9, 2022, 532 cases were reported. That is the highest single-day case total. Previously, the most cases reported in a single day was 322 in November 2020. 

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to urge prevention methods in a layered (the more the better) approach for all Mesa County residents, regardless of vaccination status. All Mesa County residents are asked to stay home and do not go to work, child care, public places, or gatherings if you have symptoms of any kind, even if you are vaccinated. If you have symptoms, even if they seem mild, please get a COVID-19 test.

“This is Omicron. We know it spreads quickly, sharp spikes like this are occurring in other areas of the state and country,” Jeff Kuhr, Director of Public Health for Mesa County, said. MCPH anticipated an increase in cases after the holiday season. “We’re not seeing as dramatic of a spike in our hospital admissions; a sign that illness, especially for those who are vaccinated, is typically milder, so the strain on our hospitals isn’t as severe with this latest surge so far. Because hospitalizations lag behind cases, we are closely monitoring admissions and other key metrics,” Kuhr added.  

Other areas of the country experiencing this wave have also seen dramatic increases, followed by a much quicker reduction in cases than observed with previous surges.

Recent cases are distributed across all age groups, with the 5-11 age group experiencing the highest positivity rates, currently around 23%. The current 7-day positivity rate across all ages is currently at 15.2%, a pandemic high.

“The volume of cases and the sharp spike are alarming, but it’s important to note we are not in the same place we were last year or in March of 2020,” MCPH Disease Surveillance and Emergency Response Program Manager, Rachel Burmeister said. We know a lot more about this illness, the ways it spreads, and the steps we can take to protect ourselves and each other.  “It’s likely you know someone who is sick right now, there are things we can all do to minimize the spread of illness in our community,” Burmeister added. 

We can all protect ourselves and each other by staying home and away from work, child care, and school if you are not feeling well, avoiding close contact with others, covering your nose and mouth in public indoor areas, and utilizing remote (curbside, contactless delivery, work from home) options when possible. 

Because of the volume of cases, there may be a delay in case investigation.  If you do not receive a call from a public health professional but you have tested positive for COVID-19 you should:

  • Immediately isolate for at least 5 days (the day your symptoms started is day 0).
    • If you do not have symptoms the day you got tested is day 0.
  • If, after 5 days, your symptoms are getting better and you do not have a fever you may return to normal activities while wearing a mask in all public settings for an additional 5 days (10 days total).

If you have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID, there is a high likelihood that you are also infected. You should quarantine for 5 days and monitor yourself for symptoms. If, after 5 days you remain symptom free, you can return to normal activities while wearing a mask for an additional 5 days. If you develop symptoms, get tested and isolate.

As of January 10, 54% of Mesa County residents are fully vaccinated with more than 30-thousand booster doses (approximately 21%) administered. All Mesa County residents age 5 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. The vaccine is widely available in our community at numerous pharmacies, mobile clinics, and the Community Vaccination Site at Mesa County Public Health. Walk-ins are accepted at most locations, scheduling an appointment is also an option. MCPH is administering third (booster) doses which are now authorized five months after the initial series for Moderna and Pfizer recipients and two months after a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In response to this current wave, MCPH will update all metrics of the data dashboard daily (M-Sun) so our residents can monitor the data and make informed decisions. Stay up to date by visiting health.mesacounty.us.

Related Resources: Updated Isolation and Quarantine Guidance [English] [Spanish]