Mesa County COVID-19 update

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 7:46 PM MDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 11:38 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - The number of COVID-19 cases in Mesa County continues to increase. Yesterday, the Health Department reported 266 new cases in the county, which included cases from over the weekend. Health officials say the steady increase is driven by our low vaccination rate, which is currently sitting at 51%. Health officials say we are currently seeing the second highest incident rates since the start of the pandemic. Plus with flu season around the corner, officials worry about what comes next.

Since early August, Mesa County has seen a steady rise in positive cases of COVID-19. As well as hospitalizations and death counts.

“Since the beginning of August, we are seeing those levels increase,” said Mesa County Public Health Spokesperson Stefany Busch. “It’s been a steady increase. Nothing sharp or drastic has happened in the past two weeks. We’re at the point now where we are seeing a rolling seven day average of new daily COVID cases be about 80 a day, and in the beginning of August we were seeing that rolling seven day average be about 30 cases a day.”

Health Officials with Mesa County Public Health and Community Hospital say the county is currently seeing the second highest incident rates since the start of the pandemic. With the first being the initial surge around this time last year in 2020, and rates are still climbing.

“Now we’re at a point where our illness levels are teetering closer to what they were during that first big surge in Mesa County,” said Busch.

Mesa County Public Health advises the community to take extra levels of protection right now such as mask wearing and frequent hand washing when transmission levels are high and when you are in close proximity to others.

As far as our local hospitals, capacity levels have been sitting around 90% for the past few months, and ventilator use is currently sitting around 80%.

“Our admission rates are high at this point, we’re full,” said Community Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Tobin. “Between ICU and Med Surge about 30-40% of our patients are COVID admissions. My understanding is that St. Mary’s is in the same position. We’re back to levels we were seeing last fall and winter.”

Health Officials also say staff is feeling worn out, and they worry about health care worker shortages in the coming months.

“It’s getting difficult to manage all the patients & keep everyone cared for and have staff,” said Dr. Tobin. “Obviously staff is getting tired, we’re coming up on two years pretty soon.”

Officials also worry about this coming flu season. Saying flu season last year didn’t hit the county too hard because everyone was social distancing, staying inside, and wearing masks, But this year, since COVID-19 restrictions are much more relaxed, Officials worry the combination of both COVID-19 and flu infections could be catastrophic.

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