Flu season will soon get underway in Mesa County. The flu vaccine is now available at Mesa County Public Health for anyone in the community ages six months old and older. Flu season runs from October through May, with cases typically peaking in January and February.
Influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, body aches, and headache. The best way to protect yourself from the flu this fall and winter is to get vaccinated. It’s a safe and effective way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Mesa County experienced one of its mildest flu seasons during the 2021-2022 season, with 18 hospitalizations. Every year the flu changes, so you need an updated version of the vaccine to ensure your body develops immunity to the most recent strain of the virus. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for the body to develop an immune response.
Mesa County Public Health is hosting two drive-thru flu clinics in October. All residents are welcome.
Saturday, October 15th from 9 AM – 1 PM
Saturday, October 29th from 9 AM – 1 PM
Mesa County Public Health parking lot
510 29 ½ Road
Flu vaccination is typically covered by insurance, however, don’t let cost be a barrier. If you do not have insurance, there are options available.
The Public Health Clinic at Mesa County Public Health also offers flu vaccination during regular business hours: Monday through Thursday from 8 AM to 5:30 PM and Friday from 8 AM to 12 PM. Walk-ins are accepted, however appointments are preferred to ensure patients do not have to wait to be seen. Call 970-248-6900 to schedule an appointment.
UPDATED SEPTEMBER 22, 2022: There is a second confirmed case of West Nile virus in Mesa County.
For the first time this season, a human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Mesa County. A male in his 60s has been diagnosed with neuroinvasive West Nile virus. He is currently hospitalized. Neuroinvasive West Nile virus is a severe form of the disease, which may include encephalitis or meningitis.
Mesa County Public Health tracks West Nile virus cases in the county. Our partner, the Grand River Mosquito Control District, monitors mosquito activity in the Grand Valley.
Regional & State Situation
Montrose and Delta Counties are experiencing an increase in West Nile virus cases compared to previous years. This year, 40% of the cases reported in Colorado have involved residents of Montrose County or Delta County. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there have been 63 cases of West Nile virus statewide this year, including five deaths. So far this season, health officials are seeing increased mortality with 7.7% of reported cases resulting in death.
There is no treatment for West Nile virus, so prevention is key. This is the time of year when mosquito activity typically peaks, so it’s important for residents to take precautions. The best way to avoid getting West Nile virus is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Increased outdoor activity can lead to increased exposure to mosquito bites so take some easy steps to protect yourself:
- Use an EPA-approved insect repellent effective against mosquitoes. Look for one that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, 2-undecanone, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
- Dress in long sleeves and pants when in areas where mosquitoes are active.
- Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn; this is when mosquitoes are most active.
- Drain and remove sources of standing water on your property.
The West Nile virus season runs from May through October with case counts typically peaking in September. Of the cases investigated in 2022 in Colorado, 60% have been neuroinvasive and 67% have required hospitalization. Neuroinvasive infections cause symptoms like fever, seizures, altered mental status, movement disorders, rigidity, and other neurologic deficits.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus do not get sick. In fact, about 75-80% of cases are asymptomatic. For those who do experience symptoms, they can range from mild illness to severe encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain. People who are over the age of 50 are at the highest risk for severe illness. This is not a condition that spreads from person-to-person.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is hosting a free vaccine clinic for monkeypox in Grand Junction:
- Pride Fest on Sunday, September 11th
- 1pm – 6pm
- Main St. and 6th St.
- Register here.
Those who receive their first dose of the vaccine at Pride Fest will be able to get their second dose at Mesa County Public Health.
People who have been exposed to monkeypox or are at high risk for exposure can get a vaccine called Jynneos. Getting the vaccine lowers the chance of getting monkeypox after someone has been exposed. Those who qualify for the vaccine include:
- Anyone (any sexual orientation or gender identity) who has had close physical contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days.
- Anyone (any sexual orientation or gender identity) who:
○ Has had multiple sexual partners in the last 14 days
○ Has had sexual partners they did not previously know in the last 14 days
○ Has had close physical contact with other people in a venue where anonymous or group sex may occur in the last 14 days
○ Was diagnosed with gonorrhea or syphilis in the past three months
○ Who already uses or is eligible for HIV PrEP (medication to prevent HIV, e.g.Truvada or Descovy or Apretude)
○ Who engages in commercial and/or transactional sex (e.g. sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, and other goods or needs)
- Anyone (any sexual orientation or gender identity) identified by public health as a known high-risk contact of someone who has monkeypox.
LOCAL & STATE SITUATION
To date, one person in Mesa County has tested positive for monkeypox. The person was an out of town traveler who does not reside in Colorado.
There are 262 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Colorado.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox transmission typically requires skin-to-skin contact, direct contact with body fluids, or prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox can look like syphilis, herpes, blisters, or acne. If you have a new rash or bumps, have it checked out by a medical provider even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox. Your medical provider can recommend testing if they decide the rash is consistent with monkeypox.
Symptoms are similar to smallpox, but less severe. They begin with flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. A rash that can look like pimples or blisters may appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body. It is rarely fatal. Most people recover in two to four weeks.
Appointments are now open for the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster at Mesa County Public Health. Anyone over the age of 12, who has completed their primary vaccination series or last booster at least two months prior, is eligible to receive the booster.
Last month, Mesa County Public Health surveyed the public to gauge interest in this latest booster vaccine. Due to a large interest, Mesa County Public Health is reopening its vaccine clinic to accommodate the anticipated high demand.
The booster and the initial Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series will be available. You will need to bring your vaccine card with you to the appointment. Staff members can help you create a new one based on your records if you have lost your card.
For anyone over the age of 12:
- The clinic will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- By appointment only.
- Visit our website or call 970-248-6900 to make an appointment.
For children 6 months – 11 years old:
- Appointments available throughout the week.
- By appointment only.
- Call 970-248-6900 to make an appointment.
The Bivalent COVID-19 Booster vaccine is a mix of two versions of the vaccine. While the initial COVID-19 vaccines targeted the original strain of the coronavirus, this booster has been formulated to also fight against the Omicron variants that have spread throughout the U.S. In Mesa County, nearly all of the current COVID-19 cases involve the BA.5 Omicron variant.
Mesa County Public Health will begin accepting residential burn permit applications on September 1. The fall burn season runs through September 30 for the City of Grand Junction, and through October 31 for the rest of Mesa County. Permits for everyone in the county (including those within city limits) are issued by Mesa County Public Health. These permits cost $25 and are valid during both designated burn seasons for the calendar year. All of the proceeds from the permits support local fire protection districts.
Agricultural burn permits are free. Within the city limits of Grand Junction, agricultural burning is permitted only during the designated fall and spring seasons. Outside of the city, agricultural burning is allowed year-round.
The easiest way to obtain a permit is through Mesa County Public Health’s online system. This online tool has been re-designed and is easier than ever to navigate and use. Your permit will be emailed to you right after check out. If you need assistance navigating the online portal, please call our team at 970-248-6900. You can also come to Mesa County Public Health for assistance at 510 29 ½ Road.
Once you have a permit, it’s important to monitor air quality, weather, and other safety alerts.
Burn permits are not valid if there is a red flag warning, fire restriction, or a no burn advisory in place. Air quality information can be found on the Mesa County Public Health website. The Air Quality page makes tracking air quality conditions and advisories easy to access.
Open burning pollutes the air and poses a fire hazard. Consider alternatives, such as composting or wood chipping, if possible. The Mesa County Organic Materials Composting Facility at Mesa County Solid Waste, 3071 U.S. Hwy 50, accepts organic materials like leaves, grass clippings, tree limbs, hay, and straw free of charge from Mesa County residents.
Mesa County Public Health is preparing to offer the Bivalent COVID-19 Booster vaccine. It has been formulated to fight against the Omicron variants that have spread throughout the U.S. In Mesa County, nearly all of the current COVID-19 cases involve the BA.5 Omicron variant.
The vaccine will be available for anyone over 12 years of age for Pfizer and anyone over the age of 18 for Moderna who have completed their primary vaccination series.
The Public Health Clinic has ordered an initial shipment of the vaccine, and expects to begin administering it in early September.
“We are excited to offer another option to the community when it comes to protection from COVID-19. This booster will help fight the most prevalent variants of the virus in Mesa County,” said Jeff Kuhr, the Executive Director for Mesa County Public Health.
In preparation, we would like to determine the community interest in receiving this particular vaccine booster. We are asking residents to take a short survey to assist us in our planning efforts.
The survey can be found here.
Updates on vaccines available in Mesa County can be found on our website.