Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

[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).
  • Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) is monitoring the situation and receives regular updates from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • 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.

Where can I find more information?

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Enviornment (CDPHE)

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

The World Health Organization (WHO)