Local Public Health Alert: COVID-19 infection rates remain high in Mesa County.  Click here to learn more.

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COVID-19 Hospitalizations Contributing to Health Care System Overload

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Contributing to Health Care System Overload


Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to respond to an elevated number of COVID-19 cases and is seeing increased community transmission with variant strains. The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 has nearly doubled in recent weeks. On April 13 there were three (3) ICU patients and seven hospitalized with COVID-19 in Mesa County. One month later, on May 13, hospitals reported eight (8) COVID-19 patients in ICU, and 25 total confirmed hospitalizations.

Western Colorado is a medical hub, with severe cases transported to emergency departments and trauma centers in Mesa County. “This is the season with increased outdoor activity, traditionally our hospitals fill up this time of year due to injuries and trauma related to those activities,” Community Hospital Chief Medical Officer, Thomas Tobin, MD said. Dr. Andrew Jones, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, St. Mary’s Medical Center explained, “the additional patients due to COVID-19 are putting a strain on the system. I encourage all eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as this effectively prevents most illness and nearly all serious disease.” 

Mesa County has been successful in slowing and containing COVID-19 in our community throughout the pandemic, these variants create an urgent need to continue the measures to protect our community, our economy, and our hospitals. 

“We are seeing an increase in COVID 19 positivity rates and hospitalization rates as well as increasing numbers of staff testing positive for COVID 19. Like our community hospital partners, these dynamics are impacting and putting stress on our emergency room resources, system, and staffing levels,” VA Western Colorado Health Care System Executive Director, Richard Salgueiro, said.

Measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses continue to be important. “We recognize more than a year into this pandemic, our community is tired of public health recommendations,” Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health shared. “Now that COVID-19 vaccines are readily available there is a clear path to end this pandemic, choosing to get a COVID-19 vaccine is an effective way to protect yourself and your community,” Kuhr added. 

Case investigation and contact tracing are instrumental to MCPH’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Case investigation has shown transmission occurs most frequently in settings where larger groups gather; such as social events, milestone celebrations, or events where multiple households interact. “Think about what we’ve learned over the last year and take precautions to prevent the spread,” Kuhr said. “Our residents know what to do and how to stay safe, but they need to know that COVID-19 is still here. We must learn how to live with it while protecting ourselves and others.”   

MCPH asks residents for their continued support and to consider aiding the community efforts to end the pandemic. The most effective ways to prevent the spread of any COVID-19 virus are to stay home (away from work, school, child care, and activities) when you are not feeling well, wash your hands often, and get a COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated individuals should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from others and wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost, and identification or insurance is not required. Eligibility recently expanded to include individuals as young as 12 years of age.

Schedule your appointment at the Mesa County Community Vaccination Site here

SHARE YOUR STORY: “What matters most to me is taking care of my family.” – Giovanny

Giovanny’s Vaccine Story:

Photo story by Sylvia Johnson. Made possible by National Geographic Society’s Emergency Fund for Journalists and created in collaboration with Garfield County Public Health.

Han cambiado muchos aspectos de la vida. En mi trabajo, en la vida personal, con los niños, en todo ha cambiado. El uso de la mascarilla, las restricciones de que no puedes hacer lo que hacías en tu vida cotidiana, pero poco a poco se ha ido uno adaptando a esto. 

A mí me ha dado Covid una vez. Estuvo un poco duro, porque los síntomas que yo tuve fueron mucha fiebre y dolor de huesos exagerado. Yo no perdí el olfato y el sabor, pero no podía pasar comida. Es lo que más batallé, que no podía pasar la saliva y no podía comer nada, aunque yo tenía mucha hambre.

Decidí ponerme la vacuna primero, porque ya me dio el coronavirus y ya no quiero que me vuelva a dar. Segundo, porque trató de cuidar mi trabajo y trato de cuidar a mi familia, a mi esposa. Mi esposa, de hecho, como trabaja para salud pública, ya se la puso hace mucho tiempo, fue de las primeras personas. A ella no le ha dado y ella ha estado conmigo. Tengo un niño de cinco años y trato de cuidarlo. Lo que más me importa es cuidar a mi familia.

Yo soy carnicero, trabajo en una carnicería y atiendo a mucha gente. Por eso es que también tomé la decisión de ponerme la vacuna, porque yo puedo estar cubierto, pero no sé las demás personas. En el trabajo, si estás vacunado, ya no tienes que hacer la cuarentena, porque estás cubierto con la vacuna. Yo pienso que es una protección tener la vacuna y estar en un trabajo.

Tengo tres hermanas y algunas habían optado por no ponérsela, pero ahorita cambiaron de pensamiento, ya están tratando de ponérsela, porque vieron lo que pasó conmigo, que nada más fue un día realmente lo que te sientes mal, no tiene ningún efecto secundario la vacuna.


Project Summary 

La Vacuna es Para Nosotros (The Vaccine is for Us) is a photo essay consisting of 14 photo stories created by Sylvia Johnson in collaboration with Garfield County Public Health as a tool for local community organizations to share stories and build trust in the Covid-19 vaccine among the Latinx immigrant community. Shot as environmental portraits, these photo stories include families, restaurant workers, business owners, farm workers, law officers, housekeepers, medical interpreters, and students who each share what their experience with the Covid-19 pandemic has been like and what motivated them to want to get vaccinated. The photo stories are available in Spanish and English. As we aim for widespread immunity through vaccination to stop this pandemic, this project humanizes the fallout of the illness, the process of getting vaccinated, and the protection the vaccine offers for being able to live and work safely again.

Sylvia is a National Geographic Explorer and a third culture kid who was born in Latin America and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has been working as a bilingual contact tracer for Garfield County since November and received a small rapid response grant from National Geographic to create this vaccine equity storytelling project.

Five Variant of Interest Cases Identified in Mesa County

Five Variant of Interest Cases Identified in Mesa County

Through sequencing of test samples, a variant of interest has been identified in five Mesa County COVID-19 cases. The individuals, all females from different households, range in age from 30 to 65 years old.

The Mesa County cases are the first time this variant of interest, referred to as B.1.617.2, has been identified in Colorado. This variant of interest was first identified in India in December 2020. Because viruses are constantly changing, it is normal to see variants appear over time.

Vaccination can slow the spread of illness and is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and our community from the spread of COVID-19. Scientists believe the currently approved vaccines are effective in providing immunity against emerging variants. Mesa County operates a Community Vaccination Site with immediate scheduling available for all residents 16 years of age and older.

In populations not eligible to get the vaccine, such as those under the age of 16, having community protection in the form of high vaccination rates is vitally important. “It’s called cocooning, we use this to protect those who are too young to get vaccinated and others who for various reasons may not be able to get vaccinated.” Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health said. Vaccination is an effective and proven tool to aid in the reduction of illness and disease. Currently, 36% of eligible residents in Mesa County are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, meaning they have received both doses in a two dose series or a single dose vaccine. “We urge those who are able, to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Kuhr added.

MCPH understands the choice to be vaccinated can come with questions and a desire to learn about the approved vaccines. We urge all residents to get information from trusted sources, such as the MCPH website. MCPH recommends vaccination for COVID-19 as well as other proven prevention methods to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community including frequent hand washing, the use of face coverings in public indoor settings where social distancing is not possible, and staying home and away from school, work, or child care, if you or a loved one is not feeling well.

“We know it’s been a long 14 months, you may be done with COVID-19 and the associated measures, but COVID-19 is not done with Mesa County. We are asking our community to stay committed for Mesa County’s overall and economic health,” Kuhr added.

Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Bus Visits Seven Locations Across Mesa County

Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Bus Visits Seven Locations Across Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH), in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), announces dates and locations across Mesa County where residents can get a COVID-19 vaccine free of charge and without an appointment at a Mobile COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

Mobile vaccinations will be available in locations from De Beque to Gateway, Fruita to Palisade, and on the Grand Mesa in Collbran. The locations were intentionally selected to span Mesa County and are the result of an equity-focused team at MCPH working to increase access and reduce barriers to vaccination. “This is the next step in making sure everyone in Mesa County who has made the choice to get vaccinated has that opportunity,” Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health, said. 

Vaccines at the mobile clinics are available to residents of any Colorado county and no health insurance or ID is required. Appointments are encouraged in advance but are not mandatory. 

May 4 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mesa County Fairgrounds
2785 U.S. Highway 50, Grand Junction, CO

May 5 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Lincoln Park (Parking lot near Tennis Courts)
1340 Gunnison Ave., Grand Junction, CO

May 7 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Veterans’ Memorial Park (Palisade)
120 W 8th St., Palisade, CO

May 8 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Fruita Civic Center Park
325 E Aspen Ave., Fruita, CO

May 10 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. De Beque Community Center/Town Hall
381 Minter Ave., De Beque, CO

May 10 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Plateau Valley Medical Clinic (Collbran)
58128 Hwy 330, Collbran CO

May 11 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Gateway-Unaweep Fire Protection District
42700 Highway 141, Gateway, CO

*NEW* May 12 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. -Shopping Center at the entrance to Candlewood Park 418 32 Rd, Clifton, CO

*NEW* May 14 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. PeachTree Shopping Center 3225 I-70 Business Loop, Clifton CO

Click here to download a flyer with all the dates and times (en Español)

The mobile clinics will be administering the Pfizer vaccine, with follow-up shots scheduled three weeks later on a return trip. 

There is ample supply of COVID-19 vaccine available in our community. MCPH is working to protect as many people who choose to be vaccinated as quickly as possible, and these mobile sites make getting vaccinated even more accessible. 

In addition to these mobile clinics, MCPH is administering vaccines to homebound individuals through the work of this equity-focused team and continues to operate a Community Vaccination Site (CVS). Everyone age 16 and older is eligible, with evening and weekend appointments available as soon as the next day.  Visit our website to sign up. 

Individuals more comfortable scheduling an appointment on the phone can call 970-248-6900 and press option 7. A dedicated Spanish-language line is also available by Calling at 970-255-3700.


Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa (MCPH), en asociación con el Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE), anuncia fechas y lugares en donde los residentes del Condado de Mesa pueden recibir una vacuna contra COVID-19 sin costo alguno y sin una cita previa.

Las clínicas móviles estarán disponibles en lugares desde De Beque a Gateway, Fruita a Palisade y Collbran. Las ubicaciones fueron seleccionadas intencionalmente para cubrir todo el condado de Mesa con la intención de aumentar el acceso y reducir las barreras para ser vacunado. “Este es el siguiente paso para asegurarnos de que todas las personas en el condado de Mesa que han tomado la decisión de vacunarse tienen esa oportunidad”, dijo Jeff Kuhr, director ejecutivo de Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa.

Las clínicas móviles están disponibles para los residentes de cualquier condado de Colorado y no se requiere seguro médico ni identificación. Se puede hacer cita con anticipación, pero no es obligatorio.

  • 4 de mayo 10 a.m .– 6 p.m. Fairgrounds- Área donde se llevan a cabo los rodeos en el condado de Mesa.
    • 2785 U.S. Highway 50, Grand Junction, CO
  • 5 de mayo 10 a.m .– 6 p.m. Lincoln Park (estacionamiento cerca de las canchas de tenis).
    • 1340 Gunnison Ave., Grand Junction, CO
  • 7 de mayo 10 a.m .– 6 p.m. Parque conmemorativo de los veteranos (Palisade).
    • 120 W 8th St., Palisade, CO
  • 8 de mayo 10 a.m .– 6 p.m. Parque Fruita Civic Center.
    • 325 E Aspen Ave., Fruita, CO
  • 10 de mayo 9 a.m. a 11 a.m. Centro Comunitario De Beque /Ayuntamiento.
    • 381 Minter Ave., DeBeque, CO
  • 10 de mayo 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 pm. Clínica Médica Plateau Valley (Collbran).
    • 58128 Hwy 330, Collbran CO
  • 11 de mayo 9 a.m .– 12 p.m. Distrito de protección contra incendios Gateway-Unaweep.
    • 42700 Highway 141, Gateway, CO

Las clínicas móviles administrarán la vacuna Pfizer, con segunda dosis programadas tres semanas después.

Hay un amplio suministro de vacunas contra COVID-19 disponible en nuestra comunidad. MCPH está trabajando para proteger a la mayor cantidad de personas que eligen vacunarse lo más rápido posible, y estas clínicas móviles hacen que vacunarse sea aún más accesible.

Además de estas clínicas móviles, MCPH está administrando vacunas a personas confinadas en el hogar y continúa operando un Centro de Vacunación Comunitario (CVS). Todas las personas mayores de 16 años son elegibles, con citas por la noche y los fines de semana disponibles tan pronto como al día siguiente. Visite nuestro sitio web para registrarse.

Las personas que se sientan más cómodas para programar una cita por teléfono pueden llamar al 970-248-6900 y presionar la opción 7. También hay disponible una línea dedicada en español llamando al 970-255-3700.

Pedal through May with a Variety of Programs and Events for Bike Month

Pedal through May with a Variety of Programs and Events for Bike Month

May is Grand Valley Bike Month! Mesa County is encouraging residents to give up the keys on Wednesday, May 5 for Bike to Work Day, and bike for transportation. Whether you bike to work, school, or your favorite local spot, when you bike instead of drive there are many benefits including exercise, improved mental health, better air quality, and cost savings.  When you bike for transportation, get rewarded with a number of Bike to Business discounts,  check out Healthy Mesa County for a complete list of deals, biking tips, and Bike Month activities. 

Pedal through May with a variety of programs and events: 

  • Lunch & Learn – Wednesday, May 5 at 12:00 p.m on the GROWL Facebook page. 
  • Ride Challenge – Riders are encouraged to bike all month and track their rides on LovetoRide.net. Compete for most miles or most consecutive days of riding.
  • Weekly Selfie Challenge – Bike the Grand Valley! Try a different trail and bike route each week, snap a photo, and submit for a chance to win.
  • Free in-person Community Events: 
    • Get Ready to Ride Bicycle Fair – Saturday, May 1, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Central Branch Library.
    • Handlebars for Health – Saturday, May 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Colorado Discover Ability.
    • Community Bike Night – Thursday, May 27, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at Mesa Mall (JCPenney Parking Lot).

Why Bike? 

Bike Month is all about promoting biking for recreation and as a viable alternative to driving,  which improves air quality, reduces traffic congestion, and leads to healthier lifestyles within our community. Information about Grand Valley Bike Month and a complete list of rules and official challenge details can be found on the Healthy Mesa County website. 

Follow Mobile Mesa County and Healthy Mesa County on Facebook for additional information related to biking activities put on by our supporting Bike Month partners.