FREE COVID-19 COMMUNITY TESTING EXPANDS

FREE COVID-19 COMMUNITY TESTING EXPANDS

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.

LOCAL CHANGES TO SAFER AT HOME LEVEL ORANGE

LOCAL CHANGES TO SAFER AT HOME LEVEL ORANGE

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.

FREE COVID-19 Community Testing Site Announces Winter Hours

FREE COVID-19 Community Testing Site Announces Winter Hours

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

● Cough

● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

● Fatigue

● Muscle or body aches

● Headache

● New loss of taste or smell

● Sore throat

● Congestion or runny nose

● Nausea or vomiting

● Diarrhea

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

Increasing COVID-19 cases prompt mitigation plan

Increasing COVID-19 cases prompt mitigation plan

Mesa County was one of the first counties in the state to be certified for Protect Our Neighbors status, the highest level of reopening allowed in the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 response. Since the implementation of this new phase, cases of COVID-19 have been increasing. 

In the past two weeks (September 30 – October 13) there have been 198 cases in Mesa County. This exceeds the incidence rate (50 cases per 100,000 people) allowed under the current reopening status. Measures for percent positivity and hospitalizations remain in good standing but are increasing as well. Mesa County Public Health met with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the state is requiring a mitigation plan to restore compliance. The CDPHE approved a plan this week, including changes to group size (both at private gatherings and related to facility capacity), face coverings, and last call.

Required changes to the current public health order include:

  • Mesa County must reinstate the statewide Executive Order related to face coverings. 
  • Group sizes reduced to 300 or 50% of capacity, whichever is fewer. 
  • Alcohol consumption must end by 12:30 a.m. in bars and nightclubs after last call at midnight.

This strategy is focused on areas where the largest transmission and risk is occurring locally. Our plan has always been a phased and proactive approach, one that keeps our community’s overall health as a top priority and provides ways businesses can open safely, but it requires individual responsibility from each resident. One example of the proactive approach is our 5-star program. In collaboration with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, this program recognizes businesses that are implementing best practices related to COVID-19 safety. To date, nearly 100 local businesses have been certified for their efforts. A full list of all the participating establishments is available on our website.

To protect yourself and others, consider the three Cs: 

  • Closed spaces with poor ventilation 
  • Crowded places with many people nearby, 
  • Close-contact settings, such as conversations in close proximity to others. 

The Board of Health will be updating the local public health order with these changes. If approved, the new order is expected to be in effect immediately. 

MCPH hosts community flu clinics, emphasizes importance of vaccine to #fightflu

MCPH hosts community flu clinics, emphasizes importance of vaccine to #fightflu

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is reminding our community that this year’s flu season is officially underway, and it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get a flu vaccine each year. By getting your flu shot, you will be keeping yourself and your loved ones safe.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses is more important than ever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has worked to ensure there is enough flu vaccine this season, and MCPH ordered more doses of vaccine than usual to ensure we have an adequate supply to protect our community. 

We make it easy with drive thru clinics

Mesa County Public Health is hosting drive thru community flu clinics this year. The outdoor clinics are for people of all ages, with special considerations for children. In an effort to keep the events as contact free as possible, we ask that you register ahead of time using this link. Flu vaccine is typically covered by insurance, and if you do not have insurance, you qualify for our vaccine program. Don’t let cost be a barrier.

WHEN:

  • Saturday, October 17th from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. (open to all ages)
  • Saturday, October 24th from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. (open to all ages)

WHERE:

  • Community Services Building, 510 29 ½ Road

IF YOU CAN, AHEAD OF TIME:

WHAT TO BRING:

  • ID
  • Insurance card – if you have it, if not, don’t worry!

Why a flu shot is important

You can get seriously ill from the flu, especially if you do not get a flu vaccine.The CDC estimates that during the 2019-2020 season 38 million people were ill with flu. In Mesa County last year, 77 people were hospitalized due to complications from the flu. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine, especially people at high risk including young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and people with certain chronic health conditions. 

COVID-19 and Flu

Because flu (influenza) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory viruses, symptoms are similar and it can be hard to tell them apart.

                                                Flu (Influenza Symptoms)                                                                Also COVID-19 Symptom?

Fever/chills Yes
Cough Yes
Sore throat Yes
Fatigue Yes
Muscle or body aches Yes
Headache Yes
Stuffy, runny nose Yes
Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children) Yes

The main difference between COVID-19 and flu is that with COVID-19 you can experience a loss of taste or smell. But not everyone with COVID-19 experiences this symptom, and not all symptoms are present in all individuals. Both viruses are spread in similar ways, through droplets or touching an infected surface. You can also be contagious before showing symptoms.

Prefer an appointment?

The MCPH Clinic offers flu vaccination during regular business hours – Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to noon.  If you would like your flu vaccine outside our drive thru flu clinic hours, an appointment is needed. We urge all residents who want to get a flu vaccine to come in and see us or give us a call at 970-248-6900 with any questions.