Mesa County bucks the trend of rising respiratory virus cases

As the nation braces for a surge of respiratory virus cases during the holiday season, Mesa County in Colorado is seeing a decrease in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, flu, and RSV.

COVID-19 cases decline despite low vaccination rate

Mesa County has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state, with only 47% of its eligible population fully vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the county has also experienced a drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks. According to the Mesa County Public Health Department, there were 24 residents hospitalized with COVID-19 as of October 1, down from 58 on September 1. The county’s positivity rate has also fallen from 15.6% to 9.9% in the same period.

Some experts attribute this decline to the natural immunity that many residents have acquired after being infected with the virus. Mesa County has had over 23,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, which is about 15% of its population. However, natural immunity may not last long or protect against new variants, so health officials still urge residents to get vaccinated and follow preventive measures.

Flu and RSV cases remain low but expected to rise

Mesa County has not seen any hospitalizations due to flu or RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) as of October 1, but health officials anticipate that these respiratory illnesses will increase as the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors. Flu and RSV are common causes of hospitalizations and deaths among children and older adults every year. They can also cause complications for people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.

Mesa County bucks the trend of rising respiratory virus cases

The best way to prevent flu and RSV is to get vaccinated and practice good hygiene. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, and the RSV vaccine is available for infants at high risk of severe disease. Both vaccines are offered at low or no cost at the Mesa County Public Health Clinic and other locations. Additionally, people should wash their hands frequently, cover their coughs and sneezes, and stay home when they are sick.

How to stay healthy and safe during the holiday season

The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration, but it can also pose a risk of exposure to respiratory viruses. Traveling, gathering, and shopping can increase the chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, flu, and RSV. Therefore, health officials advise people to take some precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Some of the tips to stay healthy and safe during the holiday season are:

  • Check the local and destination COVID-19 situation before traveling or gathering. Avoid areas with high transmission rates or outbreaks.
  • Get tested for COVID-19 before and after traveling or gathering, especially if you are unvaccinated or have symptoms. Free at-home testing kits are available at the Mesa County Public Health Department and other locations.
  • Wear a mask in public settings where social distancing is not possible or where required by local rules. Masks can help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, especially for people who are not fully vaccinated or have weakened immune systems.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks, utensils, or personal items with others. Use disposable plates, cups, and napkins if possible. Wash your hands before and after eating or touching anything.
  • Monitor your health and seek medical attention if you develop any symptoms of respiratory illness. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, body aches, or difficulty breathing.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the holiday season while keeping yourself and your community healthy and safe.

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