Mesa County loses variance amidst surge in COVID-19 cases

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Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:54 AM MDT
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Mesa County loses variance amidst surge in COVID-19 cases

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A large increase of COVID-19 cases and an upward trend in percent positivity and hospitalizations has forced Mesa County to enter into the Level 1 Safer at Home variance on the State of Colorado’s COVID-19 dial system.

74 new reported cases by Mesa County Public Health on Thursday prompted the county to take a step back, as the two-week cumulative incidence rate reached 198, which is well above the 75 that is needed to stay in the Protect our Neighbor phase. The incidence rate is determined by the number of positive cases per 100,000 people in the county in a two-week span. An upwards trend in hospitalizations and the two-week positive rate also factored into the move back. MCPH says most of the cases stem from private gatherings.

The two-week percent positive rate in the county is now at 3.92%, and eight people are currently hospitalized in the county who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The total number of cases in the county sits at 1,265, with 812 of those having recovered.

Mesa County Public Health is urging residents to avoid crowds, avoid confined spaces, and avoid close contact. “Each member of our community can help reduce transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19," states the press release published on Friday by Mesa County Public Health. “We must all take action to slow the spread of illness.”

The health department says that they and the Mesa County Board of Health are working to draft a local public health order, and it will go into effect upon approval.

Under Level 1 restrictions, business capacity cannot exceed 175 people or 50%, whichever is lower. Also, gyms cannot exceed 75 people or 25% of their capacity, and bars that do not serve food will have to close.

“So the governor did allow us with this next variance with this next step down, he’s allowing us to continue with the 5-Star Program and exempt those businesses from having them to move to a lower capacity limit," says Jeff Kuhr, executive director, Mesa County Public Health.

If you would like to apply for the 5-Star Program you can email MCPH at

The health department is hoping to have the new order drafted within the next few days.

Check back for updates.

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