Reduced wait times at Mesa County COVID-19 testing site

Reduced wait times at Mesa County COVID-19 testing site

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to provide FREE COVID-19 drive-through testing at two locations in Grand Junction. The testing site at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, located at 2785 US Highway 50, has changed traffic flow and added another area for sampling, which has significantly reduced wait times. The testing site at Colorado Mesa University is also available to community members, with pre-registration required. 

New at the fairgrounds site is the addition of a test performed with an oral swab. Results from this test are processed through partner lab Curative. “We want to remove all possible barriers to testing,” said Allison Sanchez, MCPH Clinic Manager. Though the nasal swab is done with minimal discomfort, individuals who were hesitant about being tested due to the process may now be able to take advantage of the oral swab. “The addition of this test allows us to be more efficient in our testing. We’re also able to prioritize those who have symptoms to help slow the spread of illness,” Sanchez added. 

Turnaround time for the oral swab is the same as the nasal swab, which continues to be processed through Mako medical. Both labs make results available to patients through online portals within 2-4 days of sample collection 

Holiday hours for Community Sampling Sites in Mesa County:

MESA COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS

  • Thursday, November 26: Closed
  • Friday, November 27, and Saturday, November 28: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Regular hours resume December 1: Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

COLORADO MESA UNIVERSITY: Pre-registration is required, information can be found here.

  • Thursday and Friday (November 26, 27): Closed
  • Saturday, November 28: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m
  • Regular hours resume November 30: Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wait times for sample collection at each site vary, but on average are less than 30 minutes. You do not have to have an appointment at the Fairgrounds site, but pre-registering for your test on the MCPH website can save time upon arrival. There are no identification, insurance, or doctor’s note requirements at either community sampling location.

Anyone who gets tested because of symptoms or because of a possible exposure should be in isolation/quarantine while waiting for the test result. 

All individuals who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should quarantine and limit their exposure to others for a full 14 days, even if they get tested and receive a negative result because the virus can take up to 14 days to be detectable.

Mesa County Hospitals Reaching Limits for Beds, Staffing

Mesa County Hospitals Reaching Limits for Beds, Staffing

Area hospitals are reaching critical thresholds for capacity and staffing due to COVID-19. Mesa County Public Health monitors hospital capacity and bed use. As of November 18 there are no ICU beds available. 

All area hospitals will begin activating surge capacity to ensure additional rooms and beds are ready to use. This is possible due to a robust collaborative planning process that has been in place since the start of the pandemic. The activation of this additional capacity signals yet another pivotal point in the local COVID-19 response.  

“St. Mary’s, like other healthcare facilities across the nation, has been and continues to be impacted by COVID-19 as cases continue to rise in Mesa County,” said Bryan Johnson, President, St. Mary’s Medical Center. “We have hospital beds available, and we have surge plans in place that will allow us to grow capacity and ensure safe, quality care to as many patients as need us,” he continued. “We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Please be proactive and do your part to take the necessary precautions. Wash your hands, wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing.” 

More than 2,000 cases have been reported among Mesa County residents during the past two weeks. Approximately one in 130 people in Mesa County has COVID-19, based on current testing data. That means in a week, if you encounter 20 people a day outside of your household, you are likely to be in contact with someone who has COVID-19.

“Widespread community transmission has had an impact on long-term care facilities, the jail and our homeless population, often through staff who pick the virus up in the community. Hospital employees are being impacted too and if hospital staff are isolated due to illness, they’re not able to care for patients,” said Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health.“Everyone is at greater risk for contracting this disease across the board. Each of our individual behaviors is ultimately leading to more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Kuhr added.

There is an urgent need for staffing in local hospitals.“This is a call to arms,” VA Western Colorado Health Care System Executive Director, Richard Salgueiro said regarding staffing issues, encouraging all community retired or displaced clinical personnel to step in if possible.

It is vital we protect our healthcare workforce. To ensure our community is able to respond adequately, safety precautions including no visitor policies are in effect at SCL Health St. Mary’s Hospital, Community Hospital, Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, and VA Western Colorado Health Care System.

Mesa County Hospitals Reaching Limits for Beds, Staffing

Visitors are no longer allowed in Grand Valley Hospitals

In coordination with Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) area hospitals are implementing additional visitor restrictions in response to COVID-19. 

With widespread community transmission, it’s vital we protect our healthcare workforce. The safety precaution will be in effect at SCL Health St. Mary’s Hospital, Community Hospital, Colorado Canyons Hospital and Medical Center, and VA Western Colorado Health Care System.

One personal caregiver per patient per visit will be allowed for the following patients:

  • Labor & Delivery 
  • Surgery and procedural
  • Emergency Department 
  • End of Life (does not have to be a caregiver) 
  • Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 
  • Intensive Care Unit 
  • Dementia and other patients requiring one-on-one oversight
  • Discharged patients to receive discharge instructions 

“Illness in our community is not slowing, and the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by every resident of Mesa County,” MCPH Executive Director, Jeff Kuhr says. “We are working collaboratively with our healthcare partners to ensure the local hospital infrastructure remains strong; protecting healthcare workers and ensuring these facilities have the capacity to help our community. We continue to ask for your help in these efforts” Kuhr added.

Hospital facilities and staff train continually to prepare for emergencies. They are coordinated and collaborating to help ensure our community is able to provide the greatest support possible for the safety of our citizens.

Area hospitals encourage those who want to check on a current patient to reach out to the patient electronically via cellphone, email, or social media. 

Mesa County Moves To Safer At Home Level Orange: High Risk On The Dial

Mesa County Moves To Safer At Home Level Orange: High Risk On The Dial

Widespread transmission of COVID-19 continues at an alarming pace and the increase in illness requires more protective measures in Mesa County. Effective November 7, Mesa County will move to Level Orange: High Risk on the dial. The action comes two weeks after shifting from the Protect Our Neighbors Level to Level Blue: Cautious. A public health order will be updated and approved by the Mesa County Board of Public Health.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Governor’s office require this action based on the state’s dial framework, which considers the number of cases in a two-week period, percent positivity, and hospitalizations. Each of these measures continue an upward trend. Under Level Orange: High Risk, capacity limits are reduced to 25% for most sectors, group sizes are reduced, and private gatherings are limited to 10 people from no more than 2 households. Full guidance by industry can be found on the Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) website.  

The most recent data shows significant increases in case counts, hospitalizations, percent positivity, and deaths due to COVID-19.  In the past week, the Mesa County Coroner reported 9 deaths due to COVID-19. The majority of the deaths are associated with congregate care facilities, and are in residents aged 60-80+. Additionally, the number of cases for which the source of exposure is unknown accounts for one quarter (26%) of the cases in the previous two weeks. 

Businesses certified with a 5-star rating through the Variance Protection Program are allowed to operate with less restrictive conditions and continue to work with MCPH to ensure safety for customers and employees. The program, launched in collaboration with the Grand Junction Area of Chamber of Commerce, recognizes local businesses that implement safe practices related to COVID-19. A list of current partners can be found on the MCPH website.

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

 

Downloadable resources

 

Public Health Advisory: COVID-19 Cases Continue to Increase at a Rapid Pace

Public Health Advisory: COVID-19 Cases Continue to Increase at a Rapid Pace

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is informing the public that COVID-19 cases have increased significantly over the past two weeks. Case counts are not slowing or showing signs of a peak. Community spread has contributed to this surge. As of November 3, 1,903 cases of COVID-19 have been reported, with about 44% of the total cases (837) being reported in the past two weeks. Deaths due to COVID-19 more than doubled this week; increasing from 6 to 12 on Monday. Three additional deaths due to COVID-19 were reported Wednesday.

“This is a call to action for our entire community. I’ve said previously that we are headed in the wrong direction. Looking at the data it is clear; we now find ourselves far down the road, going the wrong way,” said Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health. “We need an abrupt turn. I urge each member of our community to take action to protect yourself and the ones you love,” Kuhr added.

MCPH is focused on containing the spread of the virus, and our entire agency, alongside numerous community partners, continues to respond to this pandemic through an Incident Command System, set up in early March. In addition to other initiatives and measures, MCPH has implemented the following strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impacts of this illness in our community:

  • Increased Testing: Our community sampling site has expanded multiple times to meet demand. We are able to collect samples from more than 700 residents per day at no cost to residents.
  • Expanded Case Investigation: Our contact tracing team has doubled in size. Through both staff and volunteers, this team works to notify individuals who have tested positive and those who may be close contacts of these cases. With illness so widespread in our community, each resident should self-monitor for symptoms and quarantine when indicated to slow the spread.
  • Hospital Coordination: MCPH and all area hospitals have a medical surge plan that ensures bed availability to patients who need to be hospitalized. While this plan has not been needed to this point, it outlines how additional beds could be made available, should the need arise. Our agency also regularly communicates with healthcare providers through use of the Health Alert Notification (HAN) system.
  • Communicate Key Data and Needed Action: The MCPH website is a community resource and is updated with information and data daily to inform our community about actions they can take to stay safe, as well as case, outbreak and exposure category information.
  • High Risk Populations Prioritized: Through dedicated teams, our response includes a team working directly with Long Term Care facilities, homeless providers, jails and other congregate care settings to prevent and manage outbreaks.
  • Initiated Public Awareness Campaign: Messages have been placed on websites, streaming in broadcast media, in print, and on social and other media urging residents to take action to protect our community and our reopening status. The messages encourage all residents to maintain 6 feet of social distance, wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public, wash hands often, stay home when sick, and get tested if symptoms appear or if you have been in a situation where you think you may have been exposed. 
  • Business Partnership Program Encouraging Safe Practices: In conjunction with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, MCPH launched the 5-star or Variance Protection Program to recognize businesses that are implementing practices related to COVID-19 safety. To date, more than 100 local businesses have been certified for their efforts. This list serves as a directory of safe places to go and is published weekly as a resource for our community.

We need each member of our community to do their part to change course from the path we’re currently on. Businesses are encouraged to maximize teleworking opportunities, and all residents should avoid the three Cs:

  • Closed spaces with poor ventilation 
  • Crowded places with many people nearby,
  • Close-contact settings such as conversations in close proximity to others.

RECOMENDACIONES DE SALUD PÚBLICA DEL CONDADO DE MESA

ASESORAMIENTO DE SALUD PÚBLICA: LOS CASOS DE COVID-19 CONTINÚAN AUMENTANDO RÁPIDAMENTE EN EL CONDADO DE MESA

Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa (MCPH, por sus siglas en inglés) informa al público que los casos de COVID-19 han aumentado significativamente en las últimas dos semanas.  Los recuentos de casos no disminuyen ni muestran signos de un pico.  El contagio comunitario ha contribuido a este aumento. Hasta el 3 de noviembre, se habían reportado 1,903 casos de COVID-19, y alrededor del 44% del total de casos (837) se reportaron en las últimas dos semanas. Las muertes por COVID-19 aumentaron a más del doble esta semana; aumentando de 6 a 12 el lunes. El miércoles se informaron tres muertes adicionales por COVID-19.

“Este es un llamado a la acción para toda nuestra comunidad. Ya he dicho anteriormente que vamos en la dirección equivocada. Mirando los datos está claro; ahora nos encontramos muy lejos, yendo por el camino equivocado ”, dijo Jeff Kuhr, Director Ejecutivo de Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa. “Necesitamos un giro completo. Pido a cada miembro de nuestra comunidad que tome medidas para protegerse a sí mismo y a sus seres queridos ”, agregó Kuhr.

MCPH se centra en contener la propagación del virus, y toda nuestra agencia, junto con numerosos socios comunitarios, continúa respondiendo a esta pandemia desde principios de marzo. Además de otras iniciativas y medidas, MCPH ha implementado las siguientes estrategias para frenar la propagación del COVID-19 y mitigar los impactos de esta enfermedad en nuestra comunidad:

  • Aumento de las pruebas: nuestro lugar de toma de pruebas comunitario se ha expandido varias veces para satisfacer la demanda. Podemos colectar muestras de más de 700 residentes por día sin costo para las personas que viven dentro del Condado de Mesa.
  • Ampliación del equipo en la investigación de casos: nuestro equipo de seguimiento de contactos ha duplicado su tamaño. A través del personal y los voluntarios, este equipo trabaja para notificar a las personas que dieron positivo en la prueba y a las personas que pueden ser contactos cercanos de estos casos. Con la enfermedad tan extendida en nuestra comunidad, cada residente debe monitorearse para detectar síntomas y ponerse en cuarentena cuando sea necesario para frenar la propagación.
  • Coordinación del hospital: MCPH y todos los hospitales del área tienen un plan de emergencia médica que garantiza la disponibilidad de camas para los pacientes que necesitan ser hospitalizados. Si bien este plan no ha sido necesario hasta este momento, describe cómo se podrían poner disponibles camas adicionales, en caso de que surgiera la necesidad.  Nuestra agencia también se comunica regularmente con los proveedores de atención médica mediante el uso del sistema de Notificación de Alerta de Salud (HAN, por sus siglas en inglés).
  • Comunicar datos clave y acción necesaria: El sitio web de MCPH es un recurso de la comunidad y se actualiza con información y datos diariamente para informar a nuestra comunidad sobre las acciones que pueden tomar para mantenerse a salvo, así como información sobre casos, brotes y categorías de exposición.
  • Priorización para población de alto riesgo: a través de equipos dedicados, nuestra respuesta incluye un equipo que trabaja directamente con centros de atención a largo plazo, proveedores para personas sin hogar, cárceles y otros entornos de atención colectiva para prevenir y controlar los brotes.
  • Campaña de concientización pública iniciada: Se han colocado mensajes en sitios web, transmitidos en medios de comunicación, impresos y en redes sociales y otros medios motivando a los residentes a tomar medidas para proteger nuestra comunidad y nuestro estado de reapertura. Los mensajes alientan a todos los residentes a mantener una distancia social de 6 pies (3 metros), usar tapabocas (cubrirse la nariz y la boca) en público, lavarse las manos con frecuencia, quedarse en casa cuando estén enfermos y hacerse la prueba si aparecen síntomas o si ha estado en una situación en la que cree que puede haber estado expuesto.
  • Programa de asociación empresarial que fomenta las prácticas seguras: en conjunto con la Cámara de Comercio del Área de Grand Junction, MCPH lanzó el Programa de Protección de Variación, o de 5 estrellas, para reconocer a los negocios que están implementando prácticas relacionadas con la seguridad de COVID-19. Hasta la fecha, más de 100 negocios locales han sido certificados por sus esfuerzos. Esta lista sirve como un directorio de lugares seguros para ir y se publica semanalmente como un recurso para nuestra comunidad.

Necesitamos que cada miembro de nuestra comunidad haga su parte para cambiar el rumbo del camino en el que estamos actualmente. Se invita a las empresas a maximizar las oportunidades de teletrabajo, y todos los residentes deben evitar las tres E:

  • Espacios cerrados con poca ventilación.
  • Espacios concurridos con mucha gente alrededor,
  • Espacios de contacto cercano, como el mantener una conversación de cerca.

Para realizar un seguimiento de los recuentos de casos y otros datos para controlar los niveles de enfermedad en nuestra comunidad, visite el panel de datos de MCPH COVID-19 aquí.

Mesa County at Pivotal Point in COVID-19 Response: Community Transmission Widespread

Mesa County at Pivotal Point in COVID-19 Response: Community Transmission Widespread

Rapidly increasing case counts have resulted in widespread community transmission of COVID-19. The term “community transmission” means there is a large volume of cases for which our case investigators are unable to trace the source of the infections. “What that means is members of the community who are infected are passing this on to others without knowing it, and that’s where it becomes problematic,” said Heidi Dragoo, MCPH Epidemiology Program Manager. 

Early in Mesa County’s COVID-19 response, community transmission and its impact on hospital capacity were a call to action, because they indicate a diminished ability to rein in the virus. Now, with widespread transmission, our community must once again take action to slow the spread of illness. “It’s a really concerning point; we need our entire community. The State assigns levels on the dial based on disease transmission and we are headed in the wrong direction at a rapid pace. The last thing we want is to have to take a significant step backward in our reopening process,” said Jeff Kuhr, Executive Director of Mesa County Public Health.

At the State’s direction, MCPH is implementing strategies to reduce illness in our community, including reducing group sizes at indoor and outdoor events. The following restrictions have been added to the local Public Health Order and are in place immediately:

  • Outdoor Events may occur with no more than 75 people per designated activity or area.
  • Personal Gatherings are limited to 10 people from no more than 2 households.
  • Indoor Events may occur with no more than 25 people per room.
    • An indoor event is defined as an organized activity that is beyond the normal operations of a facility or establishment. Generally, the event has a specific date, time, and location. The event organizer rents or reserves space for the activity to take place; and the facility or establishment provides a specific area for the event and does not allow the general public to enter the reserved area. Examples include receptions, concerts, dances, markets/fairs, and celebrations. 

On October 26, Mesa County moved to Safer at Home Level 1: Cautious on the dial, which has five levels to guide county response to COVID-19. Levels are based on the number of new cases, the percent positivity of COVID tests, and the impact on hospitals, as well as other local considerations.

“We have seen a tremendous uptick in COVID hospitalizations, which is very concerning,” said Chris Thomas, President and CEO for Community Hospital. “If the present trajectory continues, our ability to adequately respond could be compromised,” added Thomas.

Because cases are on the rise, MCPH has been directed by the State to implement these additional measures to prevent another move backward and avoid more restrictions across all industries.

View what each level of the dial means and see current level restrictions here.

 

 

En Español

El conteo de casos ha aumentado rápidamente como resultado de una transmisión comunitaria generalizada de COVID-19.  El término “transmisión comunitaria” significa que hay un gran volumen de casos para los cuales nuestros investigadores de casos no pueden rastrear la fuente de las infecciones.  “Lo que eso significa es que los miembros de la comunidad que están infectados están transmitiendo esto a otros sin saberlo, y ahí es donde se vuelve problemático”, dijo Heidi Dragoo, Gerente del Programa de Epidemiología de MCPH.

Al principio la respuesta al COVID-19 del condado de Mesa, la transmisión comunitaria y su impacto en la capacidad hospitalaria fueron un llamado a la acción, porque indican una capacidad disminuida para controlar el virus.  Ahora, con la transmisión generalizada, nuestra comunidad debe volver a tomar medidas para frenar la propagación de la enfermedad.  “Es un punto realmente preocupante;  necesitamos a toda nuestra comunidad.  El Estado asigna niveles en el dial (medida de conteo) basándose en la transmisión de enfermedades y vamos en la dirección equivocada a un ritmo rápido.  Lo último que queremos es tener que dar un paso atrás significativo en nuestro proceso de reapertura ”, dijo Jeff Kuhr, Director Ejecutivo de Salud Pública del Condado de Mesa.

Bajo la dirección del estado, MCPH está implementando estrategias para reducir las enfermedades en nuestra comunidad, incluida la reducción del tamaño de los grupos en eventos en interiores y exteriores.( al aire libre)  Las siguientes restricciones se han agregado a la Orden de Salud Pública local y están vigentes de inmediato:

  • Los eventos al aire libre pueden ocurrir con no más de 75 personas por actividad o área designada.
  • Las reuniones personales están limitadas a 10 personas de no más de 2 hogares diferentes 
  • Los eventos en interiores pueden ocurrir con no más de 25 personas por habitación.
    • Un evento en interiores se define como una actividad organizada que va más allá de las operaciones normales de una instalación o establecimiento.  Generalmente, el evento tiene una fecha, hora y ubicación específicas.  El organizador del evento alquila o reserva un  espacio para que se desarrolle la actividad;  y la instalación o establecimiento proporciona un área específica para el evento y no permite que el público en general ingrese al área reservada.  Los ejemplos incluyen recepciones, conciertos, bailes, mercados / ferias y celebraciones.

El 26 de octubre, el condado de Mesa se trasladó a Más seguro en el hogar Nivel 1: cauteloso en el dial,  ( (medida de conteo) tiene cinco niveles para guiar la respuesta del condado al COVID-19.  Los niveles se basan en la cantidad de casos nuevos, el porcentaje de positividad de las pruebas COVID y el impacto en los hospitales, así como otras consideraciones locales.

“Hemos visto un tremendo aumento en las hospitalizaciones por COVID, lo cual es muy preocupante”, dijo Chris Thomas, presidente y director ejecutivo del Hospital comunitario  “Si la trayectoria actual continúa, nuestra capacidad para responder adecuadamente podría verse comprometida”, agregó Thomas.

Debido a que los casos van en aumento, el Estado ha ordenado a MCPH que implemente estas medidas adicionales para evitar otro movimiento hacia atrás y evitar más restricciones en todas las industrias.

Vea lo que significa cada nivel del dial (medida de conteo) y vea las restricciones de nivel actuales.