MCPH: Phase 2 variance secure, but too early for Phase 3
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) -
Experts at Mesa County Public Health are looking at local COVID cases realistically, but they’re optimistic.
“We had about three weeks maybe where our numbers were pretty high, we were hitting some high numbers every day. But it doesn’t feel like we have anything widespread, it feels like we are able to contain what we have,” said Executive Director for Mesa County Public Health, Jeff Kuhr.
But a new trend: Younger people are leading the demographics effected by the virus. The data makes sense given the sources of the virus.
“This past two week period, about 40% of all our cases, were between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. The last two weeks it’s been family members and places of employment,” Kuhr said.
With more than 280 total positive cases to date, a question circulating on social media: Could Mesa County lose its variance from state orders? Currently, under Phase 2 of the county’s reopening plan, it’s a long shot.
“If we start to get a 15% positivity rate in a two week period, that’s when we have to put in mitigation plans,” Kuhr said.
With the current positivity rate just over 2.5%, things would have to escalate substantially to put Mesa County’s variance at risk, but the game changes if the county went into Phase 3 of reopeing.
“The Protect Our Neighbor variance, (Phase 3) the cap is 5%. And so that’s why we’ve been a little hesitant to move forward,” Kuhr said.
Governor Polis had stopped the variance application process for two weeks, but it’s back open now. Still, MCPH experts are hesitant to apply for Phase 3.
“15% is pretty comfortable, but 5%, and being at 2.5%, with an upward trend…I wasn’t sure if we were ready for that next variance,” Kuhr said.
Some updated guidelines for schools are also in the works.
“I did receive some state guidance from the superintendent and the school guidance is a lot tighter, so we are going to have some discussions today and tomorrow with my team,” Kuhr said.
The latest data shows out of the 286 total cases, 221 people have recovered in Mesa County.
District 51 says 1,124 students in kindergarten through 12th grade have signed up for online learning for this upcoming semester, and that was set up for families with virus concerns.
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