Seventy-four positive cases of COVID-19 were reported to Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) on October 22. That number is nearly double the previous record (44) which was recorded the day prior.
Although it took four months for Mesa County to reach 100 cases, this week 118 cases were reported in a 48-hour period. The increase we are experiencing is not gradual, and not showing signs of plateauing. The dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases has prompted MCPH to take action to ensure our community can continue to track, treat, and isolate cases of COVID-19.
“Mesa County’s positive cases have significantly increased over the past month. Most of this is due to informal gatherings between friends and family, and people showing up at work and other places while sick, in some instances resulting in sizable outbreaks,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said. Each member of our community can help reduce transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19. We must all take action to slow the spread of illness. MCPH urges all residents to:
- AVOID crowds
- AVOID confined spaces
- AVOID close contact
If you are in a situation where these three things cannot be avoided, wear a mask as well as in public indoor settings as required by the current Executive Order.
With case counts exceeding levels allowed, and because mitigation strategies have so far not shown a decrease in cases, Mesa County will move to the ‘cautious’ level on the State of Colorado’s dial. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment assigns levels based on the number of cases in a two-week period, percent positivity, and hospitalizations, all of which are trending upward. Under this new system implemented at the state level, each county is evaluated using key metrics. Communities move between levels based on these metrics.
MCPH and the Mesa County Board of Health are working to draft a local public health order, which will be in effect upon approval.
Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has been notified of additional positive cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases in Mesa County is now 11.
It is essential all residents of Mesa County take action to slow the spread. We fully expect our case count will continue to increase, however, actions we take now shorten the amount of time we see a continued rise in case counts and could significantly impact severe outcomes, including death, in our community.
“COVID-19 will have lasting impacts on our community, the state of Colorado, the entire country, and the world. We all have a responsibility to do our part,” Jeff Kuhr MCPH Executive Director, says. “We know that asking you to stay at home except for essentials is inconvenient; even a significant hardship for some, but distancing yourself from others is the best protection for you, your family, and the most vulnerable in our community. It can save lives.”
Demographic information for Mesa County is included below:
|Mesa County Testing Status
|Case Counts By Age Group
This information and more is included in a daily summary from Mesa County Public Health posted each night. You can view the summary, along with other data and information about the COVID-19 response in Mesa County on the novel coronavirus page of our website.
The first positive test result for COVID-19 in Mesa County was reported on March 14.
The sampling location for COVID-19 being run by Mesa County Public Health in conjunction with local hospitals and health care providers is expanding to collect even more samples from pre-screened patients for COVID-19.
We have secured supplies through a federal agency and will open up slots for first responders, health care workers, and residents 65 years and older who are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
In order to have a sample collected for testing you must be pre-screened, and have an appointment. Call the Mesa County Public Health COVID-19 Hotline (970) 683-2300 or your primary care provider for a screening.
At current capacity, the appointment-only location is able to collect samples from about 25 community members per day; with this expanded capacity, we’ll be able to nearly triple the number of samples we collect each day. “We have been working to collect as many samples as possible in our community, we have been limited by the fact that some supplies needed for sampling are in short supply, so we secured this source to provide the supplies we need to expand our testing,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr said. “We know COVID-19 is in Mesa County, but we have the opportunity to continue to prevent significant person-to-person transmission through individual resident behavior. I encourage everyone to do their part.”
The COVID-19 Hotline (970-683-2300), which has been set up as a resource for questions related to COVID-19, has volunteers ready to answer questions or direct you to screening. Your healthcare provider can also conduct screening.
Do not go to Mesa County Public Health, your primary care provider’s office, or an Emergency Room for COVID-19 testing. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.
Governor Polis: Now is the Time to Stay at Home
Updated: We are beginning to learn more about the stay-at-home order, and some definitions of essential services. You can read the full Public Health order here and we’ve outlined some of the details below.
The order emphasizes Social Distancing Requirements for all exceptions to the order. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, individuals shall maintain at least a six-foot distance from other individuals, wash hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, cover coughs or sneezes (into the sleeve or elbow, not hands), regularly clean high-touch surfaces, and not shake hands.
New information also defines “Stay at Home” in the following way:
[blockquote author=”” link=”” target=”_blank”]”To stay in your place of residence, which includes hotels, motels, and shared rental facilities, and not leave unless necessary to provide, support,
perform, or operate Necessary Activities, Minimum Basic Operations, Critical Government Functions, and Critical Businesses.”[/blockquote]
Critical Business. Any business, including any for profit or non-profit, regardless of its corporate structure, engaged in any of the commercial, manufacturing, or service activities listed below, may continue to operate as normal. Critical Businesses must comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the CDPHE and any applicable local health department. Critical Businesses must comply with Social Distancing Requirements and all PHOs currently in effect to the greatest extent possible and will be held accountable for doing so. Critical Businesses do NOT include health clubs as
defined in C.R.S. § 6-1-102(4.6), fitness and exercise gyms, and similar facilities, or any of the other businesses required to close by PHO 20-22.
“Critical Business” means:
1.)Healthcare Operations, Including:
● Hospitals, clinics, and walk-in health facilities
● Medical and dental care, including ambulatory providers
● Research and laboratory services
● Medical wholesale and distribution
● Home health care companies, workers and aides
● Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies
● Behavioral health care providers
● Veterinary care and livestock services
● Nursing homes, residential health care, or congregate care facilities Amended Public Health Order 20-24
● Medical supplies and equipment manufacturers and providers, including durable medical equipment technicians and suppliers
● Blood banks
2. Critical Infrastructure, Including:
● Utilities and electricity, including generation, transmission, distribution and fuel supply
● Road and railways
● Oil and gas extraction, production, refining, storage, transport and distribution
● Public water and wastewater
● Telecommunications and data centers
● Transportation and infrastructure necessary to support critical businesses
● Hotels, and places of accommodation
● Businesses and organizations that provide food, shelter, social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged, persons with
access and functional needs, or otherwise needy individuals
● Food and plant cultivation, including farming crops, livestock, food processing and manufacturing, animal feed and feed products, rendering,
commodity sales, and any other work critical to the operation of any component of the food supply chain
● Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the construction or operation of the categories of products included in this
3. Critical Manufacturing, Including:
● Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages
● Computers and computer components
● Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies or instruments
● Sanitary products
● Household paper products
● Any business that produces products critical or incidental to the processing, functioning, development, manufacture, packaging, or delivery of any of the categories of products included in this subsection
● Any manufacturing necessary to support a Critical Business
4. Critical Retail, Including:
● Grocery stores including all food and beverage stores
● Farm and produce stands
● Gas stations and convenience stores
● Restaurants and bars (for take-out/delivery only as necessary under Executive Order D 2020 011 and PHO 20-22, as amended)
● Marijuana dispensary (only for the sale of medical marijuana or curbside delivery pursuant to Executive Order D 2020 011)
● Firearms stores
● Hardware, farm supply, and building material stores
● Establishments engaged in the retail sale of food and any other household consumer products (such as cleaning and personal care products)
● Establishments engaged in the sale of products that support working from home
5. Critical Services, Including:
● Trash, compost, and recycling collection, processing and disposal
● Mail and shipping services, and locations that offer P.O. boxes
● Self-serve laundromats and garment and linen cleaning services for critical businesses
● Building cleaning and maintenance
● Child care services
● Automobile rental, auto supply and repair (including retail dealerships that include repair and maintenance, but not retail sales)
● Warehouse/distribution and fulfillment, including freight distributors
● Funeral homes, crematoriums, and cemeteries
● In-person pastoral services for individuals who are in crisis or in need of end of life services provided social distancing is observed to the greatest
● Storage for Critical Businesses
● Animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities
6. News Media
● Other media services
7. Financial Institutions, Including:
● Banks and credit institutions
● Insurance, payroll, and accounting services
● Services related to financial markets
8. Providers of Basic Necessities to Economically Disadvantaged Populations, Including:
● Homeless shelters and congregate care facilities
● Food banks
● Human services providers whose function includes the direct care of patients in State-licensed or funded voluntary programs; the care,
protection, custody and oversight of individuals both in the community and in State-licensed residential facilities; those operating community
shelters and other critical human services agencies providing direct care or support
9. Construction, Including:
● Housing and housing for low-income and vulnerable people
● Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers
● Other related firms and professionals for who provide services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and critical operation of residences, and
other essential services
● Defense, security, and intelligence-related operations supporting the State of Colorado, local government, the U.S. Government or a contractor for
any of the foregoing
● Aerospace operations
● Military operations and personnel
● Defense suppliers
11. Critical Services Necessary to Maintain the Safety, Sanitation and Critical Operations of Residences or Other Critical Businesses, Including:
● Law enforcement
● Fire prevention and response
● Building code enforcement
● Emergency management and response
● Building cleaners or janitors
● General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor
● Automotive repair
● Snow removal
12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:
● Technology support for online and telephone services
● Child care programs and services
● Government owned or leased buildings
● Critical Government Functions
Critical Businesses, are exempt, subject to certain limitations, from this PHO and are encouraged to remain open. Critical Businesses must comply with Social Distancing Requirements at all times and implement tele-work or other strategies, such as staggered schedules or re-designing workplaces, to create more
distance between workers unless doing so would make it impossible to carry out critical functions. Critical Businesses that serve the public such as grocery stores and other Critical Retail shall comply with Social Distancing Requirements at all times including, but not limited to, when any customers are standing in line.
The Entire Order with more definitions and clarification can be read here.
Late this afternoon, Governor Polis announced temporary stay at home orders for all residents of Colorado. “Now is the time to stay at home,” Polis said in a news briefing.
Exact language of the order has not yet been released, but based on information from the Governor’s press conference, it will require the state’s nearly 6 million residents to avoid unnecessary travel and interaction with non-essential services. We know there will be exceptions, and as soon as the language of the order is sent we will be able to provide industry-specific guidance.
In addition, Mesa County Public Health has been notified of an additional positive case of COVID-19. This brings the total number of cases in Mesa County to six. The latest positive result is a male over the age of 60.
Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has been notified of two additional positive cases of COVID-19 from the state public health laboratory. This brings the total number of cases in Mesa County to four.
The latest positive results are from the following demographic groups:
- Male over the age of 40
- Male over the age of 60
These new cases are not related to one another, nor are they related to the previous two cases in Mesa County. Each of these individuals remain isolated at home and were advised to do so upon sample collection for COVID-19 testing. Mesa County Public Health is in contact with these individuals to identify and follow-up with any close contacts.
Statewide social distancing public health orders are in effect and they are vital to helping contain the spread of this virus in Mesa County and across Colorado. Any resident who believes they have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient should self-isolate to prevent the spread of illness.
In an address earlier this evening, Governor Polis urged Coloradans to stay home to the greatest extent possible. Mesa County Public Health Executive Director, Jeff Kuhr, reinforces that action adding, “Public health intervention takes everyone following guidelines and doing their part. We know this virus is in our community, we can take action to prevent our case counts from continuing to double on a daily basis.”
What to do if you have symptoms
The symptoms of this novel coronavirus are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you have these symptoms you should self-isolate at home. Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen.
COVID-19 spreads through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms are thought to appear within two to 14 days after exposure.
The best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, when immediately throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.