Increasing COVID-19 cases prompt mitigation plan

Mesa County was one of the first counties in the state to be certified for Protect Our Neighbors status, the highest level of reopening allowed in the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 response. Since the implementation of this new phase, cases of COVID-19 have been increasing. 

In the past two weeks (September 30 – October 13) there have been 198 cases in Mesa County. This exceeds the incidence rate (50 cases per 100,000 people) allowed under the current reopening status. Measures for percent positivity and hospitalizations remain in good standing but are increasing as well. Mesa County Public Health met with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the state is requiring a mitigation plan to restore compliance. The CDPHE approved a plan this week, including changes to group size (both at private gatherings and related to facility capacity), face coverings, and last call.

Required changes to the current public health order include:

  • Mesa County must reinstate the statewide Executive Order related to face coverings. 
  • Group sizes reduced to 300 or 50% of capacity, whichever is fewer. 
  • Alcohol consumption must end by 12:30 a.m. in bars and nightclubs after last call at midnight.

This strategy is focused on areas where the largest transmission and risk is occurring locally. Our plan has always been a phased and proactive approach, one that keeps our community’s overall health as a top priority and provides ways businesses can open safely, but it requires individual responsibility from each resident. One example of the proactive approach is our 5-star program. In collaboration with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, this program recognizes businesses that are implementing best practices related to COVID-19 safety. To date, nearly 100 local businesses have been certified for their efforts. A full list of all the participating establishments is available on our website.

To protect yourself and others, consider 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. 

The Board of Health will be updating the local public health order with these changes. If approved, the new order is expected to be in effect immediately. 

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