MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KREX) — Did you know 46 people died of COVID-19 in Mesa County in November alone? That’s fewer than the 51 people who died of COVID in November of 2020 but not much. the difference this year is half of our community is vaccinated.

Mesa County’s Free to Choose resolution still stands so, for now, no mask mandates.

“We just don’t get into the one-size-fits-all solution,” Mesa County Public Health Executive Director Jeff Kuhr shares, “We’ve weathered the storm, I think we’re doing pretty well. Our businesses have been open more so than others through early COVID.”

If you’re wondering if the county will cancel public events for the holidays again this year, the answer is no. Every organizer works with the health department to make sure fun holiday events won’t become super spreader events.

“We will send them information that just reduces risk.,” Kuhr clarifies, “It doesn’t have anything to do with reducing the number of people that attend, but there are certainly things that we can all do to reduce our risk for contracting COVID.”

Public events aren’t the only concern; family gatherings over the holidays may increase the risk of infection. The biggest thing Kuhr recommends for everyone is get tested every time.

“We’re doing rapid tests at the fairgrounds, rapid tests are available to people through the pharmacies,” Kuhr informs, “People should consider going to get a test, finding out in 15 to 20 minutes before you go to a gathering, and that way really risk is pretty low. You want to know what your status is.”

Mesa County Public Health is the main hub for resources to help fight COVID-19. Now, its expanding options for extra protection: opening a clinic for monoclonal antibody treatments starting next week.

The process starts with four shots in 15 minutes under the skin but, like fighting COVID, it takes time .

“We have to observe people for an hour after that, but I will say that getting that treatment is a far better solution than being hospitalized with the unknown,” Kuhr expresses.