Spike in Local COVID-19 Cases Linked to Travel, Hotels Concerned

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Mesa County Public health reports nearly half of new COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks are travel related.

With a sizable regional airport, the Grand Valley is accessible for tourists and residents to travel quickly and easily, but this could lead to dangerous consequences.

“We have a travel related case and there are nine people infected because of that,” said Mesa County Public Health Director Jeff Kuhr.

The numbers have hotel workers worried too. For Hotel Melrose manager Charlene Daughtery, managing Grand Junction’s oldest hotel during the pandemic has proved difficult, especially when there are rooms booked for visitors coming from hot spot areas like California.

“I have to examine and figure out where they’re coming from, compared to the news, and what they may have been exposed to,” Daughtery said.

Daughtery says Hotel Melrose has been open for about three weeks now after a three month shutdown. She says she is taking things slow and only booking every other room to practice social distancing.

“We don’t want to book no more than six rooms a night honestly, we really don’t.”

When asked if she would consider not allowing guests to stay at the Melrose who are from COVID hot spot states, Daughtery says this is a difficult decision.

“I haven’t gotten to that point yet because it’s a fine line,” she said. “I don’t want to turn any guest away but I also don’t want to jeopardize any guest either.”

Back at Mesa County Public health, Kuhr has a firm message for Western Slope locals who may be thinking of traveling out of state any time soon.

“When you get back you do need to watch yourself for two weeks,” Kuhr said. “I would like for people to quarantine themselves for those 14 days after they travel simply because we can’t afford to have the cases as a result of that travel. “

Kuhr also wants people to understand it is not just travel either. He emphasizes caution about large gatherings contributing to more cases, and wants people continuing to practice social distancing and wear face coverings when in public.

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