Mesa County Hospitals and Public Health Urge Caution During the Winter Holiday Season

As the winter holidays continue and families and friends gather to celebrate, Mesa County Public Health and local hospital partners at SCL Health St. Mary’s Medical Center, Community Hospital, Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, and VA Western Colorado Health Care System remind all residents that COVID-19 is still a health crisis impacting hospitals and local communities. 

Together we encourage everyone to take steps to decrease COVID-19 transmission and ease the strain on our health care system and ask all residents to follow public health recommendations including:

  • Get vaccinated for those 5 years of age or older
  • Get a booster vaccine dose if it has been six months since the second Pfizer or Moderna dose or two months since a Johnson & Johnson vaccine
  • Get an influenza vaccine (for those older than 6 months)
  • Wear masks when in public indoor spaces
  • Get tested if experiencing symptoms
  • Stay home when sick
  • Keep gatherings small and hold them outdoors when possible. 

Hospitals Still Seeing Record Patient Levels

Mesa County has seen recent slowing in new cases and hospitalizations from record highs just one month ago. However, hospital capacity is critically limited. At last report, hospital bed availability in Mesa County is less than 10% for both intensive care unit and medical/surgical care beds. Colorado’s hospitals have activated crisis standards of care for staffing to meet each resident’s COVID-19 and non-COVID related health care needs while supporting health care workers. 

“Mesa County’s hospitals have been working in close collaboration since the beginning of the pandemic. Each has surge and other capacity and staffing plans and work to make sure we’re leveraging all available community resources,” Jeff Kuhr, Director of Public Health for Mesa County, said. “Very high case rates of COVID remain in Mesa County, and last month was the deadliest month on record for deaths due to COVID-19,” Kuhr added. 

Worrisome Variants

The Omicron variant has already been detected in Colorado, and the experience from other parts of the world is that this variant will spread quickly. Mesa County saw the swift and devastating impacts of a variant as the first community in Colorado to identify the Delta variant, which is now the dominant and still more concerning variant.

Taking COVID-19 precautions can prevent additional COVID-19 hospitalizations, and will help ease the state’s limited hospital capacity. Prevention measures like vaccines, boosters, and masks while indoors can slow COVID-19 and keep our community safer.