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Mesa County Public Health prepares for holiday spike in COVID-19 cases

Demand for testing has gone down in Mesa County over the last two weeks.
Demand for testing has gone down in Mesa County over the last two weeks.(KKCO/KJCT)
Published: Nov. 30, 2020 at 7:13 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Despite the recent decrease in positivity rate across the valley, Mesa County Public Health is bracing for another spike in COVID-19 cases caused by large gatherings on Thanksgiving weekend.

“Informal gatherings of family and friends have always been our biggest source of infection,” says MCPH Executive Director Jeff Kuhr. “If you felt like it was a potentially risky situation, I would encourage you to get tested.”

Demand for testing has decreased, along with case numbers, over the past several weeks. Just 350 people were tested at the Mesa County Fairgrounds site on Saturday, while they were prepared to test upwards of 1200 people. The newer site in Mesa County, at Colorado Mesa University, does seem to be helping control the demand. Wait times are down to around 15 minutes at both testing locations, depending on the time of day.

“Will we see those rates rise? We hope not,” says Dr. Amy Bronson, director of CMU’s physician assistant program. “But COVID is here, and it’s here around the holidays. Some of that is counterintuitive to what we want, which is being together.”

Since the incubation period for the virus is several days, MCPH recommends getting tested next weekend.

“Friday or Saturday would be good, as it gives you a seven day period for potential exposure,” Kuhr says, adding, “I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that even though they gathered, they probably did their best in implementing those safety practices.”

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