Montrose County announces third death from COVID-19

MONTROSE COUNTY, Colo. (KJCT)- In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Montrose County announced their third death from COVID-19-- a 64-year-old man who passed away Monday night.

Montrose County also announced that a dozen residents are currently hospitalized at Montrose Memorial Hospital.

Montrose officials had a strong message - take this virus seriously.

"It's important for you to know that the COVID-19 illness is here, it is serious, and we can fight it," says Dr. Joe Adragna, the Montrose County Public Health Medical Director.

Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall states, "Let me be clear, the choice you make will either contribute to the problem or the solution in our community. And this is serious, it affects our citizen's lives, and the lives of our first responders and our medical staff."

"We have an opportunity to beat this virus right here at home, please take it seriously," urged State Representative Marc Catlin. "This is about life and death, for you or for someone you know, or someone you love."

On why Montrose is seeing a higher death rate than others, Dr. Adragna states that the county has an older population, and has a higher percentage of those who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, and people with heart failures.

Adragna noted that Montrose has been doing a good job responding to the crisis.

Montrose Memorial hospital has "multiplied their capacity to care for ventilated patients by an astonishing 500%," according to Dr. Adragna.

Furthermore, the county is performing 210% more tests than "our peers," by utilizing private labs and by using unique testing methods. They have found a way of performing three tests per testing kit, all while adhering to CDC policy.

Larry Peeters, the Chief Clinical Officer at Montrose Memorial Hospital, says that the hospital currently has five positive COIVD-19 patients, and five who are under investigation.

He says the COVID unit has been operating successfully, with 7-10 patients a day. On a good note, he states that most of the COVID patients they have dealt with have been discharged and have done well.

To watch the full press conference, click here.

We will continue to update this article.