by Amanda Mayle | Jan 10, 2022 | News
2021 Impact Report: The Power of Public Health
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has been working tirelessly to inform and educate our community about the novel virus that has impacted us all in some way. As a result, when asked about public health, COVID-19 is often the first thing that comes to mind. However, in 2021, MCPH made several accomplishments beyond COVID-19 related feats.
At Mesa County Public Health, we work together for a healthy community. We do this through our diverse programs with community involvement and impact at the forefront – from building new trails for the community to making sure the food you eat is safe – public health is community health. The 2021 Impact Report highlights some of our programs’ accomplishments, which are partially listed below:
- Children and families are a priority at MCPH, and we have several programs that support the population in different ways. Through our Nurse-Family Partnership program, we make a lasting impact on the future of parents and children in the comfort of their own homes. The nurses aim to improve stability and opportunities for success in education, economic self-sufficiency, health, and development. The organization made 3.1k home visits to new parents this year.
- MCPH also has nurses who power our Public Health Clinic, a place where residents can stay current on vaccinations. The clinic also offers a variety of women’s health care services as well as disease screening and reproductive counseling for both men and women. In 2021, the clinic gave 2.9k routine vaccinations and scheduled 2.3k family planning appointments.
- Through our Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), we provide essential nutritional goods to families so they can afford other needs. More than 3.5k families were served by WIC this year, and each family received $150 worth of fruit and vegetables.
- Our Early Childhood program helps child care providers give the best environment for kids in their care. In 2021, the program inspected 134 child care facilities.
- Our Environmental Health team works to ensure the food you enjoy in Mesa County is safe. In 2021, the team inspected over 350 restaurants. In addition, our Environmental Health team monitors water and air quality, and inspects body art facilities and pools.
- A newer branch of MCPH is the Trail Development program. The trails in Mesa County are not only vital to the physical health of residents, but they also provide a sense of community in sport and views that are good for the soul. Our Trails and Development program constructed or improved 61 miles of trails throughout the year.
- Our Vital Records Office offers families support during some of the biggest moments of their life. In 2021, the team issued 5.4k birth certificates and 16.1k death certificates. Residents can also visit vital records for burn permits and general questions.
- COVID-19 continued to have a large impact on our operations in 2021. The 5-Star Program allowed over 600 businesses to stay open and serve our community. The program made an estimated 13 million dollar impact on our community. It was implemented on a statewide level through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and replicated in several communities in Colorado and beyond.
- During the COVID-19 response, our COVID-19 vaccine clinic gave more than 69k COVID-19 vaccines to Mesa County residents, over 25k to people who live outside of Mesa County, and 221 vaccines to home-bound members of our community. Through our community testing sites, more than 114k PCR tests were administered. The COVID-19 vaccine and testing sites continue to serve the community as COVID-19 continues to spread.
We thank our community for being part of an unforgettable year and are excited to serve you in 2022!
View the full report on our website, health.mesacounty.us, and stay up to date on all the issues and programs at Mesa County Public Health by following our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
by Amanda Mayle | Jan 7, 2022 | Community Health Needs Assessments, News, Public Health Recommendations
Jeff Kuhr, PhD
A Community Health Needs Assessment is a critical tool used to understand the health status of a population or community. It presents information and analysis on important data measures and identifies areas where action and intervention can make a difference.
Executive Director, Mesa County Public Health
Understanding differences within our own community can lead us to opportunities. Explore our diverse community in these community profiles.
Economic stability provides a context in which Mesa County residents can have good health outcomes. In this section, we consider what economic self-sufficiency looks like in Mesa County, and whether current industries are providing the types of jobs needed to earn at a self-sufficiency level. Read the entire section here.
Mesa County is a regional health care hub with a variety of providers and specialists. However, it’s important to look beyond the presence of services to see whether residents are actually able to access the care they require. In Mesa County, nine out of ten people are insured and have a regular source of care. Nonetheless, rates of utilization are lower than the state, largely because of cost barriers and lack of access to timely services. Read the entire section here.
This section seeks to measure the relationships in our community (between residents and their friends, family, and co-workers, and with their community through civic engagement). Many of these measures are dependent on survey questions. We’ve included existing data measures to characterize social context and the questions we intend to answer as next steps. Read the entire section here.
A solid educational foundation lays the groundwork for resources and resilience to strengthen health outcomes for Mesa County residents. Good educational outcomes—those that provide health literacy as well as economic stability—depend on successful navigation of elementary and secondary education. These years of education are in turn dependent on kindergarten readiness and high quality early childhood education opportunities. Read the entire section here.
Here we examine the built environment and environmental health factors in Mesa County by looking at the capacity of institutions within the county to effectively and efficiently execute their role. We find that in recent years, Mesa County residents have voted to prioritize funding for schools and public safety agencies, which have allowed them to update, expand, and create new facilities. Read the entire section here.
Health implications include health behaviors and health outcomes. In this section, we explore the rates and key causes of illness, injury, and death in Mesa County. We find that when compared to Colorado as a whole, Mesa County has similar or worse rates of the majority of health behaviors and outcomes. Some bright spots are found in infectious disease rates, child welfare, adult asthma rates, and youth tobacco use and exposure. Read the entire section here.
Some areas of strength point to resources Mesa County can leverage in tackling larger issues. Some indicate areas where intervention has been successful, and continued support has the opportunity to continue improving outcomes.
By focusing on these actions, we intend to build collective community strength and resilience, leading to a positive impact on our community’s health behaviors, outcomes, and overall quality of life.
Interactive data with comparison communities detailing graduation rates, demographic enrollment, and more.
Areas where community action may yield measurable results and recommendations to get there.
Areas where learning more about the root causes of issues may lead to intervention opportunities.
by Amanda Mayle | Dec 2, 2021 | News
This release is republished from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Dec. 2, 2021)
COVID-19 omicron variant confirmed in Colorado
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has confirmed its first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in Colorado. The case was identified in an adult female resident of Arapahoe County who had recently traveled to Southern Africa for tourism. She is experiencing minor symptoms and is isolated and recuperating at home. She had been fully vaccinated and was eligible for the booster vaccine but had not received it yet.
The Colorado State Public Health Laboratory conducted genome sequencing on the specimen and confirmed the presence of the omicron variant. The specimen had the signature S gene target failure diagnostic test profile that has been identified in omicron cases. Colorado became the third state to detect the omicron variant and was the first in the nation to identify the Alpha variant last December thanks to the sophisticated team of CDPHE epidemiologists and scientists at the Colorado State Laboratory.
ABOUT THE CASE:
This case was identified following a positive test result through routine case investigation by Tri-County Health Department, CDPHE’s epidemiologists flagged it for follow-up because of recent travel history. CDPHE sent a team to collect an additional specimen for genome sequencing and has been working closely with Tri-County Health Department on case investigation. People who have recently traveled internationally should be tested 3-5 days after their return with a molecular or PCR test, regardless of symptoms or vaccination history.
CDPHE has issued an isolation order for this case and close contacts in Colorado have tested negative. CDPHE is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate this case. CDC is coordinating all travel-associated interstate and international contact tracing efforts and will work with airlines to identify all potentially exposed passengers.
Omicron (B.1.1.529) is a new variant that was first detected in November in South Africa, and may be responsible for an increase in cases in that country. CDC announced that the California and San Francisco Departments of Public Health confirmed the first case of omicron variant in the United States yesterday and a second case was identified in Minnesota earlier today. There is still a lot to learn about the omicron variant, but due to some of the mutations on the spike protein of the virus, it is possible that omicron might be more transmissible, or immune response may not be as effective. The World Health Organization has classified this variant as a variant of concern.
CDPHE has multiple, sophisticated monitoring programs to detect the presence of variants in the state. The CDPHE Laboratory and some private laboratories conduct genetic sequencing of human samples that are positive for SARS-CoV-2 from around the state.
State health officials want to restate that all Coloradans (ages 5+) should get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone 18 or older who has received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or who has received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their initial dose is encouraged to get a booster dose as soon as possible. In addition, all Coloradans (ages 6 months+) should get vaccinated with the flu vaccine to protect the health care system.
It’s particularly critical that Coloradans heed caution and get vaccinated, get a booster dose, wear a mask in indoor public spaces, limit large gatherings, wash their hands frequently, get tested if they have symptoms or were exposed, and practice physical distancing. People who have recently traveled internationally should be tested 3-5 days after their return with a molecular or PCR test, regardless of symptoms or vaccination history. Anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who develops symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate. There are more than 140 free community testing sites across Colorado.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov. All detected variants of concern in Colorado are listed on the data dashboard and the CDC has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 variants.
by Amanda Mayle | Nov 27, 2021 | News
Antibodies are proteins that exist in our immune system. They recognize and defend against harmful viruses and bacteria.
Monoclonal antibodies are made in a laboratory and designed to target a specific bacteria or virus, like SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. Monoclonal antibodies are given to patients through a series of injections (shots). They must be given before someone is hospitalized with COVID-19.
You might be eligible for treatment if you have:
- Tested positive for COVID-19, your symptoms started within the last 10 days,
- you aren’t hospitalized or on oxygen due to COVID-19,
- and you are at risk of getting very sick without treatment.
People as young as 12 years old can get monoclonal antibody treatment.
People at risk of getting very sick include:
People who are 65 years or older.
Older individuals are at an increased risk to get more severely ill or hospitalized due to COVID-19.
These treatments can reduce your risk if you have been exposed to the virus.
People who are obese or overweight.
This includes adults with a BMI of 25 or more.
It also includes children age 12 to 17 who have a BMI in the 85th percentile or higher for their age and gender.
People with certain underlying conditions.
This includes pregnancy. See a full list from the CDC by clicking here.
After Receiving Treatment
After monoclonal antibody treatment continue to self-isolate and protect those around you by wearing a mask, keeping your distance, avoid sharing personal items, and frequent handwashing.
Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any allergic reaction or side effect that bothers you or does not go away.
by Amanda Mayle | Nov 8, 2021 | COVID19, News
LOCAL PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT
Mesa County has seen a recent substantial increase in COVID-19 cases. This is in addition to the high transmission rate the county has experienced over the past month. In one week (Oct. 26 to Nov. 3, 2021), Mesa County’s positivity rate jumped from 7.5% to 8.7%.
Many Colorado hospitals are full or nearing capacity due to both COVID-19, non-COVID-19 emergency, and other routine visits. Hospitals are currently diverting patients. The Governor stated that if this surge continues, Colorado will need to request FEMA medical surge teams (in addition to National Guard teams already in place), halt elective surgeries, and hospitals may need to resort to crisis standards of care.
On Nov. 5, the state reported 1,296 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 — a number that has been increasing over the past weeks. To put this in context, the average peak hospitalizations for the flu season in Colorado over the past five years is between 275-500 cases per week, and generally, the peak is not sustained for more than a few weeks. Not only are COVID-19 hospitalizations longer in duration compared to the flu, but they result in higher ICU demand. Statewide in the past few weeks, over 40% of ICU patients have been COVID-19 patients. And, COVID-19 is far more deadly. November of last year (2020) was Mesa County’s deadliest month in terms of deaths due to COVID-19, with 45 recorded fatalities in a single month.
Flu season is underway. Mesa County saw 117 hospitalizations during the 2018-2019 flu season, this was 50% lower than the severe 2017-2018 season. Flu activity was minimal for the 2020-2021 season, however this year we expect influenza to put extra stress on the healthcare system which across the state of Colorado is already at over 90% capacity with 30% of facilities reporting anticipated ICU bed shortages in the coming week and 36% reporting staffing shortages.
Mesa County Public Health recommends the following for safer fall and winter festivities:
Vaccines remain the most effective way to control the spread of COVID-19 and prevent disease and hospitalizations. Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) strongly recommends that all individuals take the following additional precautions:
The charts below compare Mesa County cases from 2020 and 2021. Highlights in pink show Oct. 1 through Oct. 31 for both years and illustrate how quickly cases accelerated in 2020. Beginning in November 2020, illness levels spiked. To say it another way, the county is just now heading into the flu season and an expected COVID-19 surge due to the perceived seasonality of the illness.
Pink highlighted region shows Oct 1 – Oct 31, 2021
Pink highlighted region shows Oct 1 – Oct 31, 2020
Taking COVID-19 precautions now will not only help prevent additional COVID-19 hospitalizations and death but help make sure our hospitals can also provide critical non-COVID emergency and routine care for those who need it.
ALERTA DE SALUD PÚBLICA LOCAL
MCPH URGE A QUE LA COMUNIDAD TOME PRECAUCIONES ADICIONALES EN VÍSPERA DE LOS DÍAS FESTIVOS, COVID-19 Y LA INFLUENZA CIRCULAN PONIENDO TENSIÓN ADICIONAL EN LOS HOSPITALES LOCALES
Recientemente, el condado de Mesa ha visto un gran aumento en los casos de COVID-19. Esto se suma a la alta tasa de transmisión que ha experimentado el condado durante el último mes. En una semana (del 26 de Octubre al 3 de Noviembre de 2021), la tasa de positividad del condado de Mesa saltó del 7.5% al 8.7%.
Muchos hospitales de Colorado están llenos o cerca de su máxima capacidad debido a las visitas de emergencia COVID-19, emergencias no relacionadas con COVID-19 y otras visitas de rutina. Actualmente, los hospitales están desviando a los pacientes a otros hospitales. El gobernador declaró que si este aumento continúa, Colorado deberá solicitar equipos de emergencia médica de FEMA (además de los equipos de la Guardia Nacional que ya están en su lugar), detener las cirugías electivas y es posible que los hospitales deban recurrir a estándares de atención de crisis.
El 5 de noviembre, el estado informó 1,296 hospitalizaciones debido a COVID-19, un número que ha ido en aumento durante las últimas semanas. Para poner esto en contexto, el pico promedio de hospitalizaciones durante la temporada de gripe en Colorado durante los últimos cinco años está entre 275 y 500 casos por semana y, en general, el pico no se mantiene durante más de unas pocas semanas. Las hospitalizaciones por COVID-19 no solo son de mayor duración en comparación con la gripe, sino que también generan una mayor demanda en la UCI. En todo el estado, en las últimas semanas, más del 40% de los pacientes de la UCI han sido pacientes con COVID-19 y COVID-19 es mucho más mortal. Noviembre del año pasado (2020) fue el mes más mortífero del condado de Mesa en términos de muertes por COVID-19, con 45 muertes registradas en un solo mes.
La temporada de gripe está en marcha. El condado de Mesa vio 117 hospitalizaciones durante la temporada de influenza 2018-2019, esto fue 50% más bajo que la temporada severa 2017-2018. La actividad de la influenza fue mínima para la temporada 2020-2021; sin embargo, este año esperamos que la influenza ejerza una presión adicional sobre el sistema de atención médica, que en todo el estado de Colorado ya tiene más del 90% de su capacidad y el 30% de las instalaciones informan escasez anticipada de camas en la UCI en el estado de Colorado la semana que viene y el 36% informa de escasez de personal.
Las vacunas siguen siendo la forma más eficaz de controlar la propagación de COVID-19 y prevenir enfermedades y hospitalizaciones. Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa (MCPH) recomienda encarecidamente que todas las personas tomen las siguientes precauciones adicionales:
- Siempre que sea posible, haga las reuniones y eventos públicos y privados al aire libre. Aumente la ventilación en los espacios al interior si no es posible estar al aire libre.
- Use tapabocas en espacios interiores y exteriores llenos de gente.
- Hágase la prueba si tiene síntomas compatibles con COVID-19.
- Quédese en casa si está enfermo o esperando el resultado de la prueba COVID-19. Siga las pautas de aislamiento y cuarentena de salud pública del condado de Mesa.
- Vacúnese si es elegible.
- Reciba su vacuna de refuerzo si es elegible según sus circunstancias laborales, de vida o médicas.
Tomar las precauciones contra el COVID-19 ahora no solo ayudará a prevenir hospitalizaciones y muertes adicionales por COVID-19, sino que también ayudará a garantizar que nuestros hospitales también puedan brindar atención crítica de rutina y de emergencia no relacionada con COVID para quienes la necesiten.