MCPH Director: Community Not Protecting Vulnerable People From COVID-19

Local News

MESA COUNTY, Colo.- Mesa County, along with most of Colorado, remain on a concerning trajectory of new COVID-19 cases. The county is one step away from sliding back into Stay At Home orders, should these trends continue.

Mesa County Public Health reports a two week case count of over 1100 new novel coronavirus cases, and dramatic increase in hospitalizations. In the last 3 days, the MCPH has reported five new COVID-19 deaths.

“We’re double the two week case count that would get us there for Stay At Home,” said MCPH Executive Director Jeff Kuhr. “I would consider our hospitalizations to be increasing right now.”

Kuhr says vulnerable populations are being heavily impacted in the county right now, especially the elderly and people in nursing homes. Kuhr stresses that, while many people could experience manageable COVID-19 symptoms not requiring medical attention, it could be fatal if it spreads to someone in a high-risk group.

“Our nursing home (case) number is up to 215 staff and residents,” Kuhr said. “Our community is not in a place where we are protecting those vulnerable spots.”

Kuhr says you can do your part by wearing a mask to slow the spread of the virus when you’re out in public, and limiting your informal social gatherings. When asked about what this means for School District 51, Kuhr says right now, this doesn’t mean the entire district should move online. The D51 superintendent feels the same way.

“For right now we’re dealing with it on a case by case, school by school basis,” said Superintendent Diana Sirko.

A D51 spokesperson says since the beginning of the school year, 18 COVID-19 cases were reported among staff and students between Aug. 17 and Sep. 25. And between Oct. 2 to Nov. 6, 111 cases. Sirko says if this trend continues and if Mesa County were to move into Stay At Home orders, the district would have to re-evaluate the situation, but she doesn’t want to make any predictions right now.

“Based on the safety and well-fare of staff and students, we would do whatever we felt like, as we’re all working together, is in the best interest of our staff and students.”

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