COVID-19 update in Mesa County

With 221 new cases reported just on Tuesday, health experts are saying average cases are still increasing.
Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 9:11 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - As positive COVID-19 cases start to plateau and even decrease in the eastern part of the country, in Colorado cases are still on the rise. Omicron is the dominant variant in Colorado, and Mesa County health officials believe the variant is the dominant strain in the county as well.

With 221 new cases reported just on Tuesday, health experts say average cases are still increasing.

“Since we’ve had this increase in cases that we do attribute to omicron, our hospitalizations have definitely gone up,” said Mesa County Public Health Spokesperson Stefany Busch. “But also we’ve seen our hospitalizations be this high with less cases.”

Right now, nearly 60 Mesa County residents are hospitalized. The Mesa County health department says the number of hospitalizations has been this high before, but with fewer overall cases, which makes it seem like omicron is less severe.

Since omicron was first identified in Mesa County on Dec. 29, there have been 80 recorded omicron cases.

“Which this data has roughly a two week delay on it so we can assume there are currently many more omicron cases in our community,” said Busch.

The health department is not seeing a decline in cases yet, as they determine this based on averages. “When we look at our seven day average cases per day, cases are still very high ranging in the 300s,” said Stefany Busch. “Some days we’ll have 300, some days we’ll have 150, it varies. But we look at it on an average basis.”

But health officials are hopeful the county will plateau or start to decline soon.

“This case load is new, this hasn’t happened before,” said Stefany Busch. “We keep on having new record days of the highest cases we’ve ever had in one day, and we do attribute that to omicron. We know that’s how it’s acting in communities who have been hit earlier than us with this variant.”

Based on forecasting tools by looking at data from other communities in which omicron entered before ours, health officials are projecting omicron to begin plateauing and declining in mid-February.

What is known about the omicron variant is it spreads more easily than the others. So health officials continue to recommend wearing a mask in indoor environments, social distancing, frequent hand washing, and staying home when ill.

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