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MCPH Urges Additional Precautions as Holiday Gatherings Approach and COVID-19 and Influenza Circulate Putting Additional Strain on Local Hospitals

MCPH Urges Additional Precautions as Holiday Gatherings Approach and COVID-19 and Influenza Circulate Putting Additional Strain on Local Hospitals

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.

2021

2021

2020

2020

 

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.

MPCH Accepting Appointments for COVID-19 Vaccination in Kids Aged 5-11

MPCH Accepting Appointments for COVID-19 Vaccination in Kids Aged 5-11

With approval from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and authorization by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is now accepting appointments for pediatric patients, age 5-11 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

The MCPH online appointment system is open for individuals in the newly approved group to schedule appointments. A parent or guardian will be able to schedule the appointment and must sign a consent form. In addition, we have adjusted our Community Vaccination site to allow for individual appointment rooms, an atmosphere better suited for children to receive their COVID-19 vaccination than a mass vaccination site. MCPH will offer Saturday appointments for these pediatric vaccinations, at the MCPH building, located at 510 29 ½ Road. Due to the specialized nature of these visits, appointments are required. 

The Pfizer vaccine for this age group is one-third of the adult dose. The vaccine is still given as a two-dose series, three weeks apart. 

Illness levels among school-age children (5-11) have been steadily increasing since the first part of September. The percent positivity, or the percentage of positive tests compared to the number of tests administered, is at 12% for the most recently completed week (October 31).

Percent positivity or the percentage of positive tests compared to the number of tests administered, for children age 5-11 as of October 31, 2021.

 

Based on 2020 population estimates, 8.5% of Mesa County’s population is in the 5-11 age group. This new approval makes this population eligible to receive the life-saving vaccine for the first time. Previously only individuals age 12 and older were eligible.

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the delta variant. CDC data show that in August 2021, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. was more than 11 times greater for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people.

If you are unable to complete online scheduling or prefer to make an appointment over the phone call 970-248-6900. Individuals who are more comfortable communicating in Spanish should call the Mesa County Public Health Spanish-language line at 970-255-3700.

Stay up to date by visiting health.mesacounty.us.

This is your sign

This is your sign

This is Your Sign

Get A VaccineLearn More

Your sign to get vaccinated isn’t written in the sky. It’s here. Now.

Mesa County Public Health is launching a fresh campaign to engage our county in creative invitations to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Grab a pen.

Write “This is your sign” on anything you can find.

Get creative.

Snap a pic.

Hold your sign and take a pic.

A

Share it.

Send it into the universe on your favorite social platforms.

Tag us!

Z

Pat yourself on the back.

You just joined a movement that will help our community move forward.

Example of Post

I have received vaccines my entire life, and thankfully never had any of the serious illnesses that we were trying to prevent (knock on wood). I intend to continue that trend. 

Jeremy Lozano

Regional Epidemiologist

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine was an easy move for me. I don’t have time to get sick. And I really don’t have time to be in the hospital.

Alli Howe

Communications Specialist

Example Post

I decided to get the COVID-19 vaccine because it enables me to safely spend time with the people I love the most, support local businesses I value, and travel with peace of mind. 

Carmen Flores

Community Health Planner

Share at work! Help us spread the word farther!

MCPH Scheduling 1st, 2nd, Additional, and Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

MCPH Scheduling 1st, 2nd, Additional, and Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to offer appointments for COVID-19 vaccination and is now offering immediate scheduling for additional COVID-19 doses as well as booster doses for those populations who qualify. The online appointment scheduling system allows patients to choose which vaccine type they receive, as allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In Mesa County, 53% of eligible residents have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In total, more than 128-thousand doses of vaccine have been administered. We are well on our way to ending the pandemic, but more work must be done especially as we enter the colder-weather months where indoor activities are more common and respiratory viruses can spread.

The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, including against the delta variant. CDC data show that in August 2021, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. was more than 11 times greater for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people.

Many people who have already been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should now receive another dose to stay protected. If you are eligible, getting a booster dose can help protect you, your family, and your community from COVID-19. You should get a booster dose if you:

  • Are 65 years old or older.

  • Live in a long-term care facility.

  • Are 18 to 64 years old and at high risk of severe COVID-19.

  • Are 18 to 64 years old and at high risk because of where you live or work.

  • You received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for your initial dose.

The timeline for when a booster dose should be administered is as follows:

  • If you received Pfizer or Moderna for your first two doses you should receive your booster dose at least six months after your second dose of vaccine, no matter what vaccine product you receive as a booster.

  • If you received Johnson & Johnson for your initial dose, you should receive your booster dose at least two months after your first dose, no matter what vaccine product you receive as a booster.

Booster doses are common for many vaccines. The scientists and medical experts who developed the COVID-19 vaccines continue to closely watch for signs of waning immunity, how well the vaccines protect against new mutations of the virus, and how that data differ across age groups and risk factors.

Vaccination occurs at the Community Services Building, located at 510 29 ½ Road, with appointments available Wednesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. Mobile clinics are also being offered to make vaccination as quick and convenient as possible. View the schedule of upcoming mobile clinics here.

If you are unable to complete online scheduling or prefer to make an appointment over the phone call 970-248-6900. Individuals who are more comfortable communicating in Spanish should call the Mesa County Public Health Spanish-language line at 970-255-3700.

Stay up to date by visiting health.mesacounty.us.

MCPH offers BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing to school age, symptomatic students

MCPH offers BinaxNOW COVID-19 testing to school age, symptomatic students

As part of our continued efforts to keep Mesa County students in classrooms, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is partnering with local school districts to provide BinaxNOW tests to school-age, symptomatic students and staff.

The average daily COVID-19 case counts in Mesa County remain in the mid-80s with a positivity rate above 6%. The CDC continues to classify Mesa County as a high transmission area.

“We continue to work closely with agencies who serve Mesa County’s youngest residents who are not yet eligible for vaccination.  Those between the ages of 5-11 are a high-risk population right now,” Jeff Kuhr, Director of Public Health for Mesa County said. 

The BinaxNOW test is an antigen, viral test that offers results in between 15-30 minutes. The test is completed with a nasal swab, inserted just inside the nose (not a deep swab). The FDA-approved test is most useful to detect active COVID-19 infection and works best in symptomatic individuals.  

School-age children, staff, and those in local child care facilities, can request the BinaxNOW test at the MCPH Community Testing Site, located at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.

Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing:

    • New Location: Mesa County Fairgrounds (under the Grandstands), 2785 US Highway 50, Grand Junction, CO 81503 
    • Hours: Tuesday-Friday 7 AM to 3 PM and Saturday 9 AM to 12 PM

D51 and other local students and staff should let the staff at the testing center know they are there for a school-related BinaxNOW rapid test.

“We want to do everything we can to protect Mesa County kids, we’re happy to aid in this testing in partnership with our local schools as they continue to work toward even more testing options for students, to keep our schools safe and protect in-person learning,” Kuhr added. 

Due to limited supply, this test will not be offered to the general public. Residents have the opportunity to enroll in the state of Colorado’s Rapid At-home testing program. More information about this program can be found here.  

Since March of 2020 MCPH has operated a Community testing site for COVID-19. The site recently moved back to the Mesa County Fairgrounds with increased capacity. 

Visit the Mesa County Public Health website for hours and locations of several community testing sites or call your healthcare provider.

New Toolkit for High-Risk Settings

Mesa County Public Health is dedicated to limiting outbreaks of COVID-19 in our community.

This toolkit is designed for the hard-working organizations that provide housing and counseling for vulnerable populations.

It includes recommendations and guidance to help maintain a safe living situation for residents.

Topics include:

  • Admissions
  • Symptom monitoring
  • Cleaning
  • managing exposures of COVID-19
  • Testing

These are recommendations only. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact MCPH via email at communityoutreach@mesacounty.us or phone at 970-248-6900.

Ask for an Outreach and Education team member.

**This document is not intended for Long Term Care, Assisted Living Facilities, or any other facility supported by regulations from CDPHE and CMS.

Download the Toolkit here. Download the Decision Tree here.