Through testing at the Mesa County Fairgrounds COVID-19 community sampling site, a case of the B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in a female Mesa County resident in her 30s with no travel history. The woman reported no symptoms (asymptomatic) and was not hospitalized.
The case was confirmed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment through laboratory testing on February 4.
Mesa County Public Health completed a case investigation with this individual and advised her of isolation instructions and quarantine measures for her close contacts. Quarantine guidance for those exposed to the variant is more strict, to minimize transmission and other potential exposures.
Statewide, COVID-19 variant cases remain relatively low. The case added from Mesa County today is one of 23 new reported variant cases, bringing the total to 39.
Colorado was the first state to have a confirmed case of the B.1.1.7 variant in the United States; that case was in a resident of Elbert County on December 29.
This strain, sometimes referred to as the UK variant, appears to spread more easily and quickly than more common strains that cause COVID-19. There is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of hospitalization or death than previous circulating strains.
Scientists believe that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be effective in providing immunity against these new variants.
Infections due to the new variants seem to have the same symptoms as the original COVID-19 strain. They can also cause asymptomatic infection, as was reported with this individual. Contacts of cases with any of the new COVID-19 variants need to quarantine for a full 14 days.
The most effective ways to prevent the spread of any COVID-19 virus remain the same: Wearing a mask in public, maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance from others, limiting contact with anyone outside your household, washing your hands often, and staying home when you are sick.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting health.mesacounty.us.
JUST ANNOUNCED: The testing site at Colorado Mesa University has opened testing slots for this weekend (11/14 & 11/15).
You must pre-register but this testing is open to all Mesa County residents.
Beginning Monday, November 16, additional COVID-19 testing will be available to Mesa County residents. The additional community testing will be done in partnership with Colorado Mesa University and COVIDCheck Colorado, a social benefit enterprise of Gary Community Investments.
Due to increased demand, this secondary site will provide additional testing capacity as Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) works to expand operations at the Fairgrounds location.
Community Sampling Sites:
MESA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS: Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Turnaround time for test results is approximately 2 days. Pre-registration recommended, information can be found here.
COLORADO MESA UNIVERSITY: Open Monday – Friday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Turnaround time for test results is 2-4 days. Pre-registration is required, information can be found here.
While testing for COVID-19 helps control the spread of illness, the actions of individuals after testing or despite results are just as important.
- All individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine and limit their exposure to others for a full 14 days, even if they have testing done and that testing is negative, as it may take up to two weeks for illness to emerge.
- While waiting for results, or if you aren’t able to get tested the day your symptoms develop, you should isolate yourself from others.
- Anyone who gets tested because of symptoms or because of a possible exposure should be in isolation/quarantine while waiting for the test result.
- If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, wait about seven days after the date you think you were exposed before getting tested, unless you develop symptoms. Testing immediately after exposure isn’t helpful because it may be too early in the incubation period, and there isn’t enough viral material for the test to detect.
In addition to the two community sampling sites, several other locations also offer COVID-19 testing. Call your primary care physician’s office to inquire about COVID-19 testing and fees if you prefer to be tested there.
The Mesa County Board of Public Health will approve a new Public Health Order for Safer at Home level orange, the level assigned through the State of Colorado’s dial framework. The framework system considers the number of cases in a two-week period, percent positivity, and hospitalizations. Each of these measures continues an upward trend in Mesa County.
Because of the significant case increases, Mesa County is putting stricter measures into place regarding events and group gatherings. Indoor events, outdoor events, and public gatherings are not allowed under any circumstances. This is to make every effort to keep businesses operating and students in classrooms, and to avoid the closures that would be required if we were to move to the Stay at Home (red) level.
Requirements under the public health order include (but are not limited to):
- Bars that don’t serve food must be closed.
- Restaurants and bars that serve food are limited to 25% of the facility’s normal capacity, not to exceed 50 people per room, and cannot offer live music or any other live performances.
- Non-critical retail sales establishments and offices are limited to 25% of the facility’s normal capacity.
- Places of worship are limited to 25% of the facility’s normal capacity, not to exceed 50 people per room.
- Recreation, including gyms, bowling alleys, recreation centers, indoor pools, and outdoor recreation facilities, are limited to 25% of normal capacity, not to exceed 25 people per room.
- Private gatherings are limited to 10 people from no more than 2 households.
The order also outlines industries in which businesses certified through Mesa County’s Variance Protection Program may operate under slightly modified restrictions while continuing to prioritize customer and employee safety.
The local public health order is anticipated to be approved tonight and will be in effect immediately.
Mesa County Public Health continues to provide a FREE COVID drive-through community testing site in Grand Junction. The testing site at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, located at 2785 US Highway 50, is open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
You do not have to have an appointment, but pre-registration is encouraged. Information about how to register can be found on our website. There are no identification or insurance requirements.
People with symptoms should always get tested immediately. Symptoms include:
● Fever or chills
● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
● Muscle or body aches
● New loss of taste or smell
● Sore throat
● Congestion or runny nose
● Nausea or vomiting
Anyone who gets tested because of symptoms or because of a possible exposure should be in isolation/quarantine while waiting for the test result. All individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine and limit their exposure to others for a full 14 days, even if they have testing done and that testing is negative.
While testing is an important tool in the COVID-19 response, we ask all Mesa County residents to take action and avoid crowds, avoid closed-in spaces, avoid close contact with other people, wear a face cloth covering, and stay home if you are sick.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting health.mesacounty.us