MCPH COVID-19 Briefing 7/1: Case Statistics, phase three reopening plan

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MESA COUNTY, Colo. — Mesa County Public Health held a COVID-19 community briefing Wednesday, discussing Mesa County’s current COVID-19 status, how the next re-opening phase will work, and the importance of mask use/slowing the spread.

So far, Mesa County has conducted 5,000 tests. The county has seen a jump in cases, amounting to about 30 cases in the last three weeks or so, after two weeks of no new cases in May. Mesa County sits at 97 positive cases and 80 recoveries as of Wednesday, which represents 2% of the total tested. Jeff Kuhr, with Mesa County Public health, says 2% of the total tested is still well below one of the “trigger points” for Mesa County variance. If 5% of the total tested are positive, some reopening procedures can be taken away by the state.

Looking deeper into the positive cases Mesa County has recorded, 21% of them are travel-related, 17% are from a relative or family member, 13% are from public or private gatherings (which has been increasing lately), 10% are workplace-related, and 35% are unknown, which Mesa County Public Health considers “community spread”.

When talking about who is testing positive, Jeff Kuhr of Mesa County Public Health says, “we are starting to see more positives in younger people, it’s happening nationally as well, it’s happening in Mesa County.”

As for future reopening plans, Colorado will soon shift into a plan called “Protect our Neighbors”, which gives three levels of opening capability to counties across the state based on the county’s COVID-19 status (positive tests, hospitalizations). Mesa County is currently writing an application to the state to see where Mesa County would fit among the three tiers. According to Mesa County Public Health, Mesa County should meet the requirements for the highest tier, which would keep Mesa County’s businesses open at a 50% capacity, but would increase by 5% every four weeks Mesa County holds steady with cases. Group sizes would also increase from 50 people to 500 people in gatherings if Mesa County is granted the highest tier of “Protect our Neighbors”.

Mesa County Public health closed the meeting by expressing the importance of staying six feet away from others, limiting the amount of time spent around others, and wearing a mask.

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