COVID-19 Community Sampling Site Open on Veterans Day

COVID-19 Community Sampling Site Open on Veterans Day

The FREE community sampling site operated by Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) for COVID-19 testing located at the Mesa County Fairgrounds will be open on Veterans Day, Wednesday, November 11. 

You do not have to have an appointment, but pre-registration is encouraged. Information about how to register can be found on the Mesa County Public Health website. There are no identification or insurance requirements.

People with symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested as soon as possible. Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Anyone who gets tested because of symptoms or because of a possible exposure should be in isolation or 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 have been tested and the result is negative, since the virus can take up to two weeks to emerge.

Identifying illness early is a key component of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Testing is one part of the multi-pronged approach, and we must all take action to slow the spread of illness. 

Mesa County Public Health urges all residents to avoid crowds, confined spaces, and close contact. COVID-19 spreads more easily in these environments and the risk of infections and outbreaks is higher when these factors overlap.

WATCH: Campaign Encouraging Coloradans to Wear Masks

WATCH: Campaign Encouraging Coloradans to Wear Masks

Our Masks are Our Passport to the Colorado We Love

A new campaign encourages Coloradans to wear masks as much as possible when they leave the house, you can watch the public service announcement in the video player above.

In a news conference Thursday, Governor Polis said, “here in our great state, your mask is your passport to the Colorado we love, and will play an important part in keeping yourself and those around you safe. Studies show that men are particularly reluctant to wear a mask, because they think it makes them look weak or uncool. But real weakness is being too insecure to wear a mask and then spreading coronavirus to your family when you get back home. At the end of the day, wearing a mask allows us to enjoy more of the Colorado we love.”

Gov. Polis also signed Executive Order D 2020 092, amending and extending prior Executive Orders concerning non-medical face coverings, to provide discretion to employers and operators of places of public accommodation to deny admittance or service and require the removal of any individual who fails to wear a medical or non-medical face covering. This Executive Order takes effect immediately.

MCPH to offer antibody testing for COVID-19

MCPH to offer antibody testing for COVID-19

Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) will begin offering serological, or antibody, testing for COVID-19. This is a blood test that looks for antibodies in your blood. It can detect the body’s immune response to the infection caused by the virus, rather than detecting the virus itself.

Mesa County Public Health plans to use the tests for epidemiological purposes, broadening our understanding of the timeline and impacts of COVID-19 in our community. “Our case counts have remained low, leaving many to believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 even earlier than when the first case in Mesa County was detected,” Jeff Kuhr Executive Director, Mesa County Public Health, said. “These tests will help us put together a more complete picture of the virus in our local community, and could provide valuable information to help us plan should another wave of illness hit in the months ahead.”

It is important to note, as we learn more about this novel coronavirus, these types of tests should be used for research, not diagnostic purposes. That means regardless of the result you get, you should continue to take preventive measures. Much is still unknown about how long immunity may last following COVID-19, so we caution patients to not use this test, or the results they may get, as a false sense of security.

Only certain types of antibody tests are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The test MCPH is using is approved under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization and results are available within a few days.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are distributing rapid test kits to detect antibodies, these tests have not been evaluated or approved for this type of use. Additionally, antibody tests may cross-react with other respiratory viruses resulting in false-positive results. 

Mesa County Public Health will do blood draws by appointment. Fill out this form for pricing and to be contacted for scheduling.

FAQ about Governor’s urging for all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings

FAQ about Governor’s urging for all Coloradans to wear cloth face coverings

There is new evidence that people can spread the COVID-19 novel coronavirus while being asymptomatic. Although staying at home is still the best way to prevent the spread, when you need to leave your house for necessities or if you work in a critical, non-medical field, wearing a bandana or non-medical mask made of cloth on your face can help prevent the spread to others if you have the virus. Because of the lack of medical-grade masks that are so crucial to protecting health care providers on the front lines, it is paramount that these types of masks not be sought after or used by the general public. 

On Friday, April 3, Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced the Colorado Mask Campaign encouraging Coloradans to wear non-medical cloth face coverings when leaving the home for essential business. The following frequently asked questions were provided by the Governor’s office. The state has partnered with ColoradoMaskProject.com, where people can find patterns for making their own masks and ideas for how to help others who can’t make their own, get one.

The goal of this campaign is that by April 15, every Coloradian will have a non-medical mask (such as a scarf or bandana), everyone should wear a mask when outside of their home for necessary activities. 

Why are masks really needed? What is the science behind it? The CDC has announced that up to 1 in 4 people infected with COVID are asymptomatic and spreading infected respiratory droplets. If people wear face coverings, it will help reduce spread. 

Many people are not aware that they are spreading COVID-19 because they don’t have symptoms, or their symptoms are mild. A face covering helps lower the risk of spreading by someone who may be sick and not realize it. 

Is wearing a mask encouraging or is the Governor requiring Coloradans wear it? The Governor is encouraging all Coloradans to wear a cloth face coverings when going out in public. Please DO NOT go out and buy surgical masks – those are needed by our healthcare workers and first responders. If this recommendation leads to a run on surgical masks, taking them from those who need them, then we have hurt more than helped. 

In the past, health experts have said that healthy people should not wear a mask? Why now? what has changed? With up to 25% of people not knowing they may be carrying COVID-19, it is a good idea to have everyone wear a face covering to reduce the spread.

Face coverings are also a good reminder not to touch your face. Wearing a face covering will prevent you from touching your own face and make you aware of how often you are tempted to touch your nose and mouth. 

Will this take away from health professionals that desperately need the supplies? No, we are prioritizing N95 and surgical masks for front-line health care professionals only. We are recommending everyone else wear cloth face coverings. 

What’s the difference between a cloth mask and a N-95? Do they work the same, and if not, why should people wear a cloth mask? N95 respirators look like a face mask but are designed to prevent transmission of at least 95% of droplets. They are manufactured with a special material and have a tight seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical masks are also made from a special material, but they don’t provide a seal around the nose and mouth, so they are not as effective as N95 masks. Both N95 and surgical masks must be reserved for health care workers and first responders to protect them when they come into contact with COVID-19 patients. 

Cloth face coverings can be worn to reduce the spread of large droplets. They can help prevent “community spread” when people travel from their homes for necessary activities like grocery shopping. 

If N-95 masks are better to prevent the spread, why not provide those for critical workers like grocery store workers? There is a global shortage of N-95 masks. The state is working with urgency to acquire all the PPE and N-95 masks we need for all of our essential workers, beginning with front-line health care workers. 

Are all counties in the state encouraged to participate? Yes. 

How will this be enforced? We are asking Coloradans to do this voluntarily and to help their neighbors. As a community, we must work together to protect our most vulnerable community members, sustain our health care system for the months ahead and slow the spread of COVID-19. It is good for all of us. 

When you say people should wear for necessary activities what does that mean? CDPHE has outlined a number of necessary activities that people can engage in outside their homes while the Governor’s Stay at Home Executive Order remains in place. These activities include things like grocery shopping, purchasing supplies for your residence, taking care of a family member or loved one at another location, and recreation close to home. You can find the complete description of Necessary Activities in Public Health Order 20-24

Remember, Social Distancing Requirements must be observed at all times, even when engaging in Necessary Activities. 

Should people wear a mask to walk their dogs or workout? We want to make it the norm to wear a face covering for the duration of the COVID-19 response, so please wear your non-medical mask whenever you leave your home. When you are walking your dog you should. When it comes to exercising use discretion.  

Should kids wear a mask? Yes, they should wear ones that fit their face. This is a great way to engage kids in helping on COVID. Have them decorate their masks, use fun fabrics, and encourage their friends to do it. 

What about homeless people, will they be provided masks? We are working with private partners who are donating at least 100,000 masks a week and will distribute those masks to homeless service providers who can help us get masks to every Coloradan, including people experiencing homelessness 

What if I can’t afford a mask, where can I get one? There is no need to buy a mask! You can repurpose a t-shirt, a dish towel, a bandana, or other fabric items into a mask that fits your face! There are great instructions online at coloradomaskproject.com. 

Will businesses be required to provide masks for their employees? We ask that all critical businesses ask their employees to wear face coverings, and we hope that they help provide them. We all must work together to protect our most vulnerable community members, sustain our health care system for the months ahead and slow the spread of COVID-19. 

If someone is wearing a mask, do they still need to be 6ft apart? Yes! This is a new PART of our infection reduction strategy. Maintaining 6ft of physical distance is still absolutely important! 

Can I go out to buy fabric to make masks? No, please don’t. There is no reason to purchase new supplies. Instead, use fabric you already have. A t-shirt, a dish towel, or a bandana is perfect. Staying home is still #1! Or order online. 

What if someone does not know how to sew or does not have a sewing machine? If you cannot sew a face covering from fabric you have, you should use a bandana or other fabric you have to tie around your face when you are out in public. Go to coloradomaskproject.com to get ideas. 

Are you doing this because of the President’s announcement? We are doing this because it is the best thing for Colorado. This should help in our effort to increase physical distancing between people, and therefore reduce the spread of the disease. We all should be committed to do everything we can to not only keep vulnerable people safe, but help prevent our doctors and nurses from being overwhelmed by this pandemic.