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

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Public Health Emerging Issues: COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Public Health Emerging Issues: COVID-19 Vaccination Update

Public Health Emerging Issues

January 28, 2021

Vaccine Distribution Update

  • Colorado is currently in phase 1 of vaccine distribution.
  • Mesa County is currently in phase 1A and 1B of vaccine distribution and is administering both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to members of our community.  
  • As of the week ending January 23, Mesa County has administered 7,425 first doses and 1,613 second doses for a total of 9,038 doses. 
  • We estimate Phase 1 is 38% complete.
  • Vaccine data is published weekly on our Vaccine Dashboard.
  • Mesa County Public Health is operating a Point of Distribution (POD) mass vaccination site at the Grand Junction Convention Center (159 Main St.) 
    • This location, open by appointment only, will allow for approximately 1,200 doses to be administered per day and can be expanded further.
    • Because of the nature of the vaccine, as well as storage and monitoring requirements an appointment is required.
  • Our current priority group is a small number of remaining front-line health care workers, the majority of our appointments are being filled by first responders, essential personnel in Phase 1B, and individuals age 70 and older. 
  • Phase 1A and 1B recipients will receive the vaccine through their employer, local public health agency, enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider, or through the federal government’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care (LTC) program.
  • All skilled nursing and long-term care facilities in Mesa County have held clinics for first doses of vaccine. Scheduling is underway for clinics to administer second doses.
  • Phase 2 is scheduled to begin this spring and Phase 3 is on track to begin this Summer if not sooner based on vaccine availability.
  • An interest form on the MCPH website is available for individuals who have not been contacted through their employer, or those who are 70+.
  • There are more than 30 facilities across Mesa County that have signed up to distribute vaccine. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is working to determine which additional providers will serve expanded groups as we move through subsequent phases. 
  • Cost is not a barrier. COVID-19 vaccines are provided free of charge; you may be asked for insurance information, if you have it, for administrative costs. 
  • Questions about eligibility, interest, or registration for appointments can be emailed to healthinfo@mesacounty.us or call 970-248-6900. We ask for your patience as we return calls as quickly as possible, high call volumes have resulted in delayed response times.
  • For general information, the state of Colorado has set up a vaccine call center. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
    • Beginning Feb. 1, hours will extend to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 
    • The toll-free number is 1-877-CO VAX CO (1-877-268-2926).

 

ADVISORY:  MCPH and Local Hospitals Host Joint Press Conference Friday, January 22

ADVISORY: MCPH and Local Hospitals Host Joint Press Conference Friday, January 22

Mesa County Public Health and local hospitals will provide a joint update on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which includes a mass vaccination point of dispensing (POD) location at the Grand Junction Convention Center. The POD will be open by appointment beginning Monday, January 25, 2021.

Members of the media are invited to a press conference at 10 a.m on Friday, January 22, at the Grand Junction Convention Center (159 Main Street, Grand Junction, Colorado). Top healthcare and public health officials will update media representatives on the current status of COVID-19 and vaccine distribution in Mesa County and the community’s response to the virus. Confirmed speakers include representatives from SCL Health St. Mary’s, Community Hospital, Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, and the VA Western Colorado Medical Center. The event will also be streamed on the Mesa County Public Health Facebook page.

Please visit Mesa County Public Health’s community resource webpage for current, reliable information on COVID-19: https://health.mesacounty.us. Mesa County Public Health representatives are also available to respond to vaccine and other COVID-19 questions by phone from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., at 970-248-6900. 

Estimated Timeline and Latest Details Related to COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts in Mesa County

Estimated Timeline and Latest Details Related to COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts in Mesa County

COVID-19 vaccine is currently being administered at local hospitals, long-term care facilities, and at Mesa County Public Health (MCPH).  To-date, 4,489 doses have been administered, including second doses for some of the highest risk health care workers. 

Vaccination for Phase 1A is underway, which includes approximately 7,000 individuals who are front-line health care workers and high-risk individuals. Local hospitals and Mesa County Public Health are the designated providers for vaccine administration to individuals in Phase 1A. Vaccination has also begun for staff and residents of Long-Term Care facilities. These are occurring through a Federal contract between the CDC, Walgreens, and CVS. This effort is known as the Pharmacy Partnership Program. Our community goal is to have the majority of health care workers in Phase 1A receive their first dose by the end of January.

Limited vaccination for Phase 1B is underway with expansion plans as more vaccine is received. Phase 1B, which was expanded in the State of Colorado on December 30, includes moderate-risk health care workers, individuals 70 years and older, first responders, and essential workers. Mesa County Public Health is operating a vaccination clinic with the capacity to serve 2,000 people per week. 

A vaccine interest form on our website can be filled out by individuals who are 70 years and older or essential workers eligible in Phase 1B. MCPH will notify those individuals via email or telephone to set-up an appointment as vaccine becomes available. Because of limited supply:

  • Registration is required through an online portal exclusively for organizations in Phase 1A and 1B. 
  • Access to registration is verified through a unique registration token, or key, given to organizations and individuals. 
  • Token information is sent in an email or provided by MCPH to ensure only the appropriate number of appointments, based on available doses of vaccine, are scheduled.

Mesa County will move to additional categories under Phase 1B once we receive more vaccine doses. Local hospitals will continue to assist in local efforts to vaccinate groups 1A and 1B. Our community goal is to have the majority of first responders and individuals 70 years and older vaccinated by the end of February. 

As supply increases, MCPH will expand its ability to administer vaccine by opening a mass vaccination Point of Dispensing (POD) location at the Grand Junction Convention Center. This location will allow an average of 1,600 doses per day to be administered and could be expanded further if needed. 

By March, MCPH hopes to begin vaccinating frontline essential workers in education, manufacturing, postal services, and transportation, among others. This timeline is dependent on receiving a steady supply of doses, which at this time remains limited. The state of Colorado as a whole received 46,000 doses last week.  MCPH is prepared to quickly administer the vaccine as we receive it, regardless of allocation size. 

As we move into Phase 2 later this spring, 35 independent practices have registered to be vaccine providers. Once this phase opens, those providers can order vaccine from the State and administer vaccines to Mesa County residents.

As you prepare for your turn to be vaccinated, please continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth, stay 6 feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands. 

To see a summary of Mesa County’s vaccination plan, learn what phase you fall into, or to track our progress, visit the COVID-19 vaccine page.

Mesa County Moves to Level Orange on January 4

Mesa County Moves to Level Orange on January 4

Due to a sustained decline in cases of COVID-19 Mesa County will transition to Level Orange: High Risk on the state of Colorado’s dial effective January 4. The move allows businesses who were not part of Mesa County’s Variance Protection (5-star) Program to operate at a greater capacity, partners certified with a 5-star rating may continue to operate at their current level. If declines continue on the current trend, we anticipate these certified businesses will be able to move to level yellow, as soon as the middle part of January.

“Mesa County has stepped up in a big way to get us here, we’re thrilled to see the dial shift back toward green,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director, Jeff Kuhr said. The most recent data shows a slowing of illness due to COVID-19 in our community; case counts, hospitalizations, and percent positivity are all down in the most recent two week period. 

Still, the number of cases for which the source of exposure is unknown accounts for about 41% of cases in the past two weeks, indicating there is still community spread occurring. “We can’t let our guard down, I ask residents to continue to wash their hands, wear a mask, and avoid in-person interactions with people outside your immediate household.”

To track case counts and other data to monitor disease levels in our community, visit the Mesa County Public Health COVID-19 data dashboard here.

Estimated Timeline and Latest Details Related to COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts in Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on a vaccination plan for COVID-19. Mesa County now has supply of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. A majority of the 975 doses delivered last week have been administered by local hospitals to their staff.

The distribution plan prioritizes groups of people who are most likely to get COVID-19. Front-line health care workers, for example, need to receive vaccines so they are able to care for patients who get sick. Priority is given next to people at higher risk because of their age, underlying health conditions, if their job requires frequent contact with the public, and those who live in shared living situations where COVID-19 can spread easily. The general public will receive the vaccine after these priority groups. Using this phased approach, we can slow the spread of the virus and keep more Mesa County residents safe. 

The initial supply of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to be very limited for several months. This means that a vaccine will not be immediately available to everyone. MCPH is preparing for future widespread distribution and is creating a robust plan for when vaccines are more readily available. Community partners are providing essential data so we can allocate the vaccine in the most precise way possible. This will ensure we are able to vaccinate the maximum number of residents with no doses going to waste. 

In Mesa County 35 sites have signed up to distribute vaccines, including local pharmacies, health care provider offices, and hospitals. In addition, the MCPH Clinic will stock and have vaccine available for distribution as outlined in the phases. 

MCPH is currently distributing vaccine to partners eligible during Phase 1A. Once that is complete we will move into subsequent phases. The timeframe is subject to change and depends on a variety of factors, but is currently outlined as follows:

*Timeline subject to change based on the supply chain. Prioritization subject to change based on data, science, availability.

Mesa County Public Health has created a resource to help you plan for when you might be eligible to get a vaccine. Visit our website for a full list of where certain industries fall within the prioritization list. 

Residents are encouraged to frequently visit health.mesacounty.us for updates to the vaccination plan. The website also includes useful links for providers administering the vaccine.

First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Mesa County

First Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Arrive in Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has received the first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be administered to frontline health care workers in Mesa County. The distribution will be done in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and local health care providers. These limited first doses will be administered to frontline health care workers.

The vaccine requires storage at an ultra-cold temperature (-60°C to -80°C). Mesa County is one of several locations across the state where the vaccine will be stored and then distributed. “Mesa County’s approach since the beginning of this pandemic has consisted of constant collaboration with our health care and other community partners,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said. “The distribution of this vaccine will require a coordinated effort, MCPH is both excited and ready for this vaccine in our community,” Kuhr added. 

Vaccine distribution will begin this week. This initial shipment will be followed by more doses of the Pfizer vaccine as well as an allocation of the Moderna vaccine to be administered once the Moderna vaccine is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Authorization for the second vaccine is expected later this week.

Initial supplies of this vaccine are limited and it will be made available first to the highest-risk individuals and then to the general public. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment along with the COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning team has created phases for distribution

To slow the spread of disease, we continue to ask all Mesa County residents to continue physical distancing, mask-wearing, and limiting social interactions with those outside your immediate household until a vaccine is widely available and able to be distributed to all residents of Mesa County.

En Español

Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa (MCPH) recibió el primer envío de la vacuna Pfizer COVID-19 que se administrará a los trabajadores de atención médica en el condado de Mesa. La distribución se realizará en colaboración con el Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE) y los proveedores de atención médica locales. Estas primeras dosis limitadas se administrarán a los trabajadores médicos que estan en primera fila. 

La vacuna requiere almacenamiento a una temperatura ultra fría (-60 ° C a -80 ° C). El condado de Mesa es uno de los varios lugares del estado donde se almacenará y distribuirá la vacuna. “El enfoque del condado de Mesa desde el comienzo de esta pandemia ha consistido en una colaboración constante con nuestro cuidado de la salud y otros socios comunitarios”, dijo el director ejecutivo de salud pública del condado de Mesa, Jeff Kuhr. “La distribución de esta vacuna requerirá un esfuerzo coordinado, MCPH está emocionado y listo para esta vacuna en nuestra comunidad”, agregó Kuhr.

La distribución de vacunas comenzará esta semana. A este envío inicial le seguirán más dosis de la vacuna Pfizer, así como una asignación de la vacuna marca Moderna que se administrará una vez que la vacuna marca Moderna sea autorizada por la Administración de Alimentos y Medicamentos (FDA). Se espera la autorización para la segunda vacuna a finales de esta semana.

Los suministros iniciales de esta vacuna son limitados y estará disponible primero para las personas de mayor riesgo y luego para el público en general. El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado, junto con el equipo de planificación de distribución de la vacuna COVID-19, ha creado fases para la distribución.

Para frenar la propagación de la enfermedad, seguimos pidiendo a todos los residentes del condado de Mesa que continúen con el distanciamiento físico, el uso de tapabocas y la limitación de las interacciones / fiestas sociales con las personas fuera de su hogar, hasta que una vacuna esté ampliamente disponible y pueda distribuirse a todos los residentes del condado de Mesa.