Media Contact: Sarah Gray 970-697-4611 firstname.lastname@example.org
After more than three years, the national public health emergency for COVID-19 will officially end on May 11, 2023. Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is grateful for community support as we navigated this historic pandemic together. Our team is looking ahead to the next steps.
“We have learned a lot in the last three years about how this virus operates and how to keep it controlled,” said Executive Director Jeff Kuhr. “COVID-19 is not gone, however we are now able to manage it in a way that’s similar to other diseases, like influenza.”
SUCCESSES DURING PANDEMIC
MCPH started its COVID-19 testing on March 5, 2020. As demand increased, the testing site moved to the Mesa County Fairgrounds. Some days, more than 600 tests were administered. The team provided about 85,000 tests before the testing site closed on March 28, 2022.
On December 31, 2020, our team administered their first Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Less than a month later, the mass distribution site opened at the Grand Junction Convention Center. In the beginning, our team, along with hundreds of volunteers, served almost 2,000 patients daily. The vaccine site moved back to the Community Services Campus on May 19, 2021.
The 5-Star Program allowed businesses, including restaurants, to operate while using enhanced sanitation and safety measures. The designation helped promote businesses who were following public health guidelines, and helped people who were concerned about in-person interactions to make decisions about where to shop. The program was pioneered in Mesa County and adopted across the state. By allowing businesses to stay open, the program created an estimated $13 million positive economic impact in Mesa County.
WHAT TO EXPECT MOVING FORWARD AT MCPH
MCPH will continue to provide guidance about the best ways to stay healthy. Our team monitors disease levels in our community and provides support for businesses if they experience an outbreak.
COVID-19 vaccines will remain available at the Public Health Clinic. Insurance will likely cover the cost of these vaccines. For those without insurance, once the federally supplied vaccine stock is depleted, there will be a charge. However, don’t let cost be a barrier. For families without insurance, our clinic can provide vaccinations at low cost. The mobile vaccine bus service will end on May 11.
We have a limited supply of rapid COVID-19 test kits still available for the public at the Health and Human Services Building. After May 11, you’ll be able to purchase home rapid test kits at various retailers. There is the possibility insurance will cover some of the costs.
If you have questions, or are looking for guidance about these changes, reach out to our InfoLine Team at 970-248-6900 or visit health.mesacounty.us.
“We are turning a page, which comes with a lot of questions and even uncertainty for some. We at Mesa County Public Health are here to support the community during this transition,” said Kuhr.