Mesa County Public Health announces new restrictions due to the dramatic rise of COVID-19

Photo from the Mesa County Fairgrounds testing site
Photo from the Mesa County Fairgrounds testing site
Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 3:33 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - With a surge in COVID-19 cases in the county, health officials are raising the alarm and have announced new restrictions to try and curb the spread of the virus.

Mesa County Public Health released new guidelines on Thursday which they say come at the State’s direction, and go into effect immediately. The new guidelines that were added to the local public health order are:

1. Outdoor events may occur with no more than 75 people per designated activity or area

2. Personal gatherings are limited to 10 people from no more than two households

3. Indoor events may occur with no more than 25 people per room (Indoor events is defined as an organized activity that is beyond the normal operations of a facility or establishment, such as concerts, receptions, dances, fairs, or celebrations)

Cases have been spiking for the past several weeks in the county, which forced Mesa County to lose its Protect Our Neighbor variance on Oct. 26 and move back into the Safer at Home Level 1 status. County health officials say that the rapidly increasing case counts have resulted in widespread community transmission, which means that case investigators are unable to trace the source of the infections.

“What that means is members of the community who are infected are passing this on to others without knowing it, and that’s where it becomes problematic,” says Heidi Dragoo, Epidemiology Program Manager at Mesa County Public Health.

Aside from cases, COVID hospitalizations have also increased in the county.

“We have seen a tremendous uptick in COVID hospitalizations, which is very concerning,” says Chris Thomas, President and CEO for Community Hospital. “If the present trajectory continues, our ability to adequately respond could be compromised.”

The county announced 45 new cases of the virus on Wednesday and reported that 12 residents are now hospitalized because of it. The county’s two-week percent positivity rate is at 5.7%, and the two-week cumulative incidence rate is 337.6 – both figures exceed the state’s threshold to return back to the Protect Our Neighbor Variance.

To view the updated local public health order, click here.

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