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COVID-19 Public Health Briefing April 17

The number of positive cases of COVID-19 in Mesa County remains at 34, with 30 of those cases recovered; defined as having at least 14 days since symptom onset. Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) added another point of data to our community impact dashboard showing the date of illness by onset. You can view the latest data here (or here for a better view on a mobile device).

There are more than 250 tests pending, and those are associated with samples collected through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) those swabs are sent to a reference, or private, lab. They represent results not released to MCPH, however, people with positive results have been notified directly by HHS. 

We are developing our plan to open back up. You’ve seen examples of this at the statewide and national level; our local model takes a similar approach, in phases. We want to get people back to work as soon as we can without putting ourselves at risk for surge and illness once again.

Testing 

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to make testing for COVID-19 a priority through an appointment-only community sample collection site. 

The sampling location for COVID-19 is being run by Mesa County Public Health in partnership with a federal agency. Depending on the lab processing the sample, results may be available in as soon as 48 hours.

Mesa County Public Health is encouraging people with symptoms and in a high-risk group to get tested. 

High-risk groups include: 

  • Frontline healthcare workers and first responders.
  • Any person who lives in a long-term care facility or another residential setting (such as a homeless shelter or correctional facility).
  • Any person who is 65 years or older.
  • Any person who is less than 19 years old.
  • Any person with an underlying medical condition.
  • Any person who is a close contact of a known COVID-19 case. 
  • Any person who works at a business that is still open. 
  • Any person who works with vulnerable populations or in a group residential setting.
  • Any person who is currently homeless.

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.

Mental and Behavioral Health

The outbreak of COVID-19 has created stress, fear, and uncertainty for many people in our community.  Anxiety about getting sick, loss of income, and a new reality affects each of us differently. Taking care of our mental well-being is of vital importance.  If you or someone you love is feeling overwhelmed by feelings of sadness, anxiety, or fear, we urge you to seek help. 

Mind Springs Health and West Springs Hospital is open and offers Walk-In Crisis Services as well as virtual options. They have a robust schedule of Facebook Live events scheduled, hosted by mental health experts. 

There are also several valuable resources available in our community to offer aid:

  • Colorado Crisis Services
    • 844-493-TALK(8255)
    • Or text TALK to 38255
  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text CO to 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • 800-273-TALK
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line (available 24/7)

City of Grand Junction #GJStrong Fund

The City of Grand Junction has appropriated $500,000 to be administered by the Western Colorado Community Foundation (WCCF). WCCF has distributed these funds to local non-profit organizations that are providing critical aid to those who have been impacted by COVID-19. The City issued a release on the grant awards that can be viewed here.

Mesa County COVID-19 Case Count Now in Double Digits; all Residents Asked to Take Action to Slow the Spread

Mesa County COVID-19 Case Count Now in Double Digits; all Residents Asked to Take Action to Slow the Spread

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
Positive* 11
Negative 262
Pending 68

 

Gender Mesa County Colorado
Male 8 (73%) 974 (47%)
Female 3 (27%) 1,077 (52%)
Unknown 0 (0%) 12 (1%)

 

Case Counts By Age Group
Age Range Mesa County Colorado
0-9 0 (0%) 22 (1%)
10-19 0 (0%) 48 (2%)
20-29 0 (0%) 308 (15%)
30-39 1 (9%) 351 (17%)
40-49 1 (9%) 323 (16%)
50-59 3 (27%) 352 (17%)
60-69 5 (45%) 293 (14%)
70-79 1 (9%) 220 (11%)
80+ 0 (0%) 135 (7%)
Unknown 0 (0%) 9 (0%)

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. 

Mesa County COVID-19 Sampling Location Expands to Serve First Responders & Health Care Workers

Mesa County COVID-19 Sampling Location Expands to Serve First Responders & Health Care Workers

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.

Stay at Home Order for all Colorado Residents Effective 6 AM on 3/26/2020

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 Businesses

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

● Pharmacies

● 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
subsection

3. Critical Manufacturing, Including:

● Food processing, manufacturing agents, including all foods and beverages

● Chemicals

● Computers and computer components

● Medical equipment, components used in any medical device, supplies or instruments

● Pharmaceuticals

● Sanitary products

● Telecommunications

● Microelectronics/semiconductor

● Agriculture/farms

● 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
extent possible

● Storage for Critical Businesses

● Animal shelters, animal boarding services, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries, and other related facilities

 

6. News Media

● Newspapers

● Television

● Radio

● 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

 

10. Defense

● 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

● Security

● Emergency management and response

● Building cleaners or janitors

● General maintenance whether employed by the entity directly or a vendor

● Automotive repair

● Disinfection

● Snow removal

 

12. Vendors that Provide Critical Services or Products, Including Logistics and Technology Support, Child Care and Services:

● Logistics

● Technology support for online and telephone services

● Child care programs and services

● Government owned or leased buildings

● Critical Government Functions

Business Operations

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.

 

 


Previously released:

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.

Two Additional Mesa County Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 Bringing Total Local Case Count to Four

Two Additional Mesa County Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 Bringing Total Local Case Count to Four

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.
Two Additional Mesa County Residents Test Positive for COVID-19 Bringing Total Local Case Count to Four

Second Case of COVID-19 in Mesa County

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has been notified of a second positive case of COVID-19 from the state public health laboratory. 

The Mesa County resident that tested positive is a male over the age of 60. This individual is a contact of the first person to test positive for COVID-19 in Mesa County. 

Our community-wide response team is working to help stop the spread of illness, but as we’ve shared before we fully expect more cases. The MCPH screening location is collecting dozens of samples every day, those results are being reported to us as they are completed at the state lab in Denver.

We are taking the situation seriously, and ask residents to do the same by staying informed and following public health and provider recommendations. 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.  

Public Health Recommendations

  • If you are experiencing symptoms like a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing, isolate yourself and call your health care provider. Do not go to the emergency room unless you are having a medical emergency. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve community members with the most critical needs. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Practice good personal hygiene and sanitize often. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water; in the absence of soap and water, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol; cover coughs and sneezes; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home if you’re sick; keep your children home if they are sick. Stay away from people that are ill, especially if you are 60 and older, or have underlying medical conditions.