AS THE CDC WARNS OF CONTINUED SPREAD OF NOVEL CORONAVIRUS DISEASE (COVID-19) IN THE UNITED STATES, MCPH HAS LAUNCHED THIS WEBPAGE AS A RESOURCE FOR OUR COMMUNITY FOR CURRENT, RELIABLE INFORMATION.
There have been 0 confirmed cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Mesa County. To ensure our community is prepared, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has a dedicated place for current information on our website.
With the rapidly changing information, MPCH has created this site to be a resource for our community on current recommendations, resources, ways to prepare, and answers to some frequently asked questions related to COVID-19. We’ve broken the information into sections targeted to providers, businesses, and the community at large. Some of the information is included here for quick reference, but each section online is expanded with additional suggestions, downloadable resources, links and more.
[alert style=”warning”]Number of Confirmed Cases in Mesa County: 0[/alert]
While we understand that new viruses like this can be worrisome, we echo the CDC’s statement that the risk to people in the United States is low at this time.
At Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) we anticipate and respond to conditions that impact the quality of life of Mesa County residents. We are committed to informing our community on issues that impact the overall health of our community, nation, and the world. We know you have questions, and we’re here to help provide answers.
What is a novel coronavirus?
Human coronaviruses are common throughout the world. Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild to moderate upper respiratory symptoms, like a runny nose, cough, and sore throat. Coronaviruses can affect many different species of animals, including camels and bats. Rarely, these viruses can evolve and infect humans and then spread between humans. Novel indicates that this is a type of virus that had not been previously seen. In December 2019, cases of a respiratory virus started appearing and sickening humans in one region of China. The virus has been named SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes has been named coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated to COVID-19.
Who is impacted?
The illness centers in Wuhan City, China where more than 11 million people reside.
Cases have also been reported in several other countries including Thailand, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the United States. These cases were exported from Wuhan City, China.
Updated case counts can be found here from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms associated with this illness are fever and pneumonia-like symptoms that typically accompany a lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath).
And a history of travel from Wuhan, China or close contact with a person who has COVID-19.
What is being done?
A number of countries, including the United States, have been actively screening incoming travelers from the Wuhan area. Entry screening is happening at five main ports of entry into the United States (San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Chicago).
Our routine disease surveillance continues which includes data collection and analysis on causes of illness, injury, and death affecting Mesa County residents.
The control measures recommended to stop the spread of illness for this virus are similar to ones MCPH recommended during a gastrointestinal illness outbreak at the end of 2019. These public health recommendations are important practices to contain the spread of any illness.
Stay home if you’re sick: Illnesses can spread easily from person-to-person. If you’re experiencing symptoms from an illness remain at home until you are symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
Consider self-isolation: The most effective way to the person-to-person spread is to avoid close contact with others when you’re not feeling well.
Cover your cough: When an infected person coughs or sneezes, millions of tiny particles are released into the air. Coughing or sneezing into your elbow can stop these particles from becoming airborne and infecting others.
Disinfect high touch surfaces: Droplets from an infected person can live on hard surfaces and then infect others. Use a disinfectant that’s effective against the type of virus you’re targeting. We recommend a bleach solution (one cup bleach per one-gallon water) on commonly touched objects like light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, and telephones.
Wash your hands: This is the most effective way to stop the spread of illness. Wash with soap and water when possible. If soap and water are not available, look for a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Consider a flu shot: The likelihood of contracting influenza is far greater than coronavirus. The best protection against influenza is a seasonal vaccine. The Mesa County Public Health Clinic has flu vaccine available, don’t let cost be a barrier, we have options. Walk-ins are welcome for flu vaccine.
Has this ever happened before?
A recent example of a coronavirus is SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which was first reported in Asia in 2003. The illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the outbreak was contained. No human cases of SARS have been reported anywhere in the world since 2004.
Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced by the natural breakdown of uranium, which is present in soil, rocks and sometimes groundwater.
January is Radon Action Month, be an informed homeowner by testing your home for radon. Radon exposure can present a significant health risk and it’s entirely preventable.
Breathing unsafe levels of radon can lead to lung cancer. In fact, radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to smoking.
All Colorado counties, including Mesa, are considered Zone 1, meaning there is a high radon potential because the soil in Colorado is rich in minerals, specifically uranium. When the uranium naturally breaks down in soil, rock, and water, it produces radon, which gets into the air you breathe.
Protect your family by testing your home for radon. It’s simple and could save your life.
Get a kit. A limited number of free test kits are available for Colorado residents through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).
Place the test kit in the main living area of your home.
Send it in for testing.
Smoking makes radon even more dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smokers who live in homes with high radon levels have a risk of lung cancer that is 10 times higher than nonsmokers.
Radon can leak into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation or other means.
The age and/or type of home doesn’t matter when it comes to whether high levels of radon could be present.
During cold weather months, the potential for high radon gas levels is highest because windows and doors are locked tight to keep out cold air.
In Colorado, about half the homes have radon levels higher than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommended action level of 4 picoCuries per liter (pCi/L).
Since the norovirus-like illness that impacted our community around the Thanksgiving holiday, Mesa County Public Health has been monitoring illness to an even greater degree than usual. As a result of that enhanced monitoring, we have been made aware of increased illness at least one local school heading into Winter Break.
The reports we received of increased illness were on Thursday (12/19) and Friday (12/20). The symptoms are similar to what we saw in November, with most cases reporting vomiting. In addition, there are also reports of fever with this illness. As of this (Friday) afternoon, District 51 schools are out of session for Winter Break.
Mesa County Public Health is concerned about the spread of illness into our community. This time of year, the chance of getting sick increases as we all gather together. To remain healthy, we’re asking our community to take steps to prevent the spread of illness.
We hope these recommendations help ensure you have a happy and healthy holiday.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
To prevent the spread of illness to other people it is very important we all:
REMAIN HOME If someone in your family is ill and has symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, and/or a fever, they should stay home until at least 24 hours after symptoms end.
These types of illnesses typically run their course but watch for symptoms of dehydration which include: sunken eyes, dry mouth and tongue, increased thirst, skin that goes back slowly when pinched, and a decrease in volume of urine.
KNOW THE RISKCertain groups are at a higher risk of illness, and if you’ve been around someone who’s been sick there’s an increased likelihood you could get sick, too. Many illnesses have what’s called an incubation period, an amount of time between when you’re infected and you actually have symptoms. Keep that in mind, and if you’ve been around or cared for someone who’s been sick, consider limiting interactions. You could be contagious and spreading illness, even when you don’t feel sick yet.
WASH HANDS Ensure that all members of your household wash their hands often, especially after using the bathroom, cleaning, changing diapers, or before preparing or eating food.
Cover all parts of hands with soap, rub lathered hands together vigorously for at least 20 seconds, and thoroughly rinse hands with water.
A hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not available, but washing with soap and water is best.
DISINFECT Some of these illnesses can be difficult to get rid of and particles can live on surfaces for weeks, even months. When you’re cleaning, disinfect using a solution of one cup of regular strength bleach in one gallon of water. Be sure to clean surfaces that are commonly touched like doorknobs, light switches, or remote controls.
CONSIDER A FLU SHOT Mesa County Public Health recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get an annual flu vaccine. Influenza is prevalent this season in many areas of the country, including Colorado. A flu shot is your best protection against severe complications that can arise from influenza. The Mesa County Public Health Clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, has flu vaccine available and serves all patients regardless of ability to pay.
CONTACT PUBLIC HEALTH The public vomiting line remains open and allows Mesa County Public Health to follow up with facilities where public vomiting events occur to ensure proper cleanup. To report an incident of public vomiting online click here or call 970-462-7074.
CONTACT A DOCTOR These recommendations are intended to help prevent the further spread of illness, not serve as a diagnosis or medical advice. If you or your child is sick, and you have questions about the symptoms or illness, you should contact a healthcare provider.
Flu Season is already hitting parts of the country hard, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is closely monitoring activity and you can too with Flu-View.
Mesa County Public Health has once again activated our flu-view on health.mesacounty.us. This gives our community a real-time way to monitor flu activity in Mesa County and the surrounding areas.
What’s new this year
In addition to providing a meter showing hospitalizations for flu, a second meter has been added monitoring flu and flu-like illness activity at primary care offices throughout Mesa County.
With activity already high in many parts of the country, this new data source will be a chance for MCPH, our health care provider partners, and the community, to monitor local activity.
Also added is an influenza type tracker where you can see which type of influenza is impacting our region.
So far this season, unlike the severe start in some other areas, Mesa County’s predominant strain is influenza A. However, in the last week, we have seen more positive tests for influenza B. This could be an indication of increased activity in the weeks to come.
Influenza B can be more severe in young children. Vaccinating your children is the best protection against influenza. Caregivers and other adults around children should get a vaccine too.
The flu vaccine protects against both influenza A and influenza B.
It’s not too late to get a flu vaccine. Our clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, has vaccine available. Our clinic is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome, no appointment needed.
Things to know about influenza
An annual flu vaccine is your best protection from influenza. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot. It can help shorten the severity and has been proven to lead to fewer hospitalizations.
Children aged 6 months through 8 years require 2 doses of influenza vaccine during their first season of vaccination to enhance immune response.
Flu can be dangerous for children. Complications from flu include pneumonia, dehydration, sinus problems, and ear infections. Complications can lead to death.
The flu spreads mainly by droplets made when people with the virus cough, sneeze or talk. People with flu can spread it to others up to 6 feet away.
With the recent gastrointestinal illness outbreak in Mesa County, it’s easy to be confused about the differences between influenza and norovirus.
Influenza is a respiratory virus that affects mainly the lungs.
Symptoms of the flu are; cough, sore throat, sudden onset of fever (up to 104 degrees). To read more about the differences between these viruses, click here.
Public health recommendations
A flu shot is the first step to prevent influenza but you should also:
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Clean your hands frequently, and use soap and water whenever possible.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Routinely clean frequently touched objects at work and home including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones to help remove germs.
Stay home if you get sick. Germs spread easily at child care, school, and work, so it’s best to stay home when you’re not feeling well.
Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) continues to monitor illness in our community, and while initial indications from student absence reports from D51, community illness reports, and data from visits to primary care providers give us reason to believe the illness is dwindling, we are still seeing reports of gastrointestinal illness, and a handful of incidents of public vomiting. The levels of illness we are seeing, however, are in line with what we would expect to see this time of year.
These types of illnesses are very common. The rapid spread and large number of people impacted was unique with this outbreak, but viruses like this are around all the time. They typically peak in the winter months when we are all together indoors or other confined spaces. The highly contagious viruses can spread very quickly from person to person as we saw with this outbreak, and the sudden onset of vomiting with this virus made it more widespread than usual.
For your health and the protection of everyone, you should stay home from work or school and keep your kids out of child care if you or they are sick. In addition, MCPH recommends disinfecting high touch surfaces; make sure to do this after you’ve been sick, but sanitizing your surroundings with a cleaner effective against norovirus on a routine basis never hurts, as these types of viruses can live on surfaces for weeks.
Perhaps the most effective way to stop the spread of illness, and to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands. Studies have shown that handwashing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related sicknesses. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. But whenever possible, wash your hands with soap and water. When you wash:
Wet your hands with clean running water, and apply soap.
Lather your hands by rubbing them together. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
Scrub for 20 seconds. How long is that? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song, twice.
Rinse your hands under running water.
Dry using a clean towel or air dry.
In addition, it is influenza season and flu activity is increasing across the country. There has already been one person hospitalized due to influenza, or the flu, in Mesa County. Statewide, more than 150 hospitalizations have occurred already this season. Unlike the gastrointestinal illness that impacted our community, there is a vaccine available to protect against the flu. MCPH recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year. Our clinic, located at 510 29 ½ Road, has vaccine available, walk-ins are welcome for flu shots, no appointment needed.