Mesa County fiddles while Covid-19 rages

The Center for Independence recently displayed one white flag for each of the 337 people who have died of Covid-19 so far in Mesa County. If these people’s coffins were lined up end to end, they would extend half a mile. (Photo: KJCT 8)

Back on March 22, 2021, the Mesa County Commissioners, none of whom have a medical degree or any experience in epidemiology, immunology, virology or any other medical field, signed a “Free to Choose” resolution (pdf) that ended all Coronavirus protections in the county, including physical distancing, masking, capacity limits in businesses and hand washing. Their rationale was that hospital use in Mesa County was decreasing, everyone had access to vaccines, and people had spent plenty of time wearing masks already and enough was enough.

Well maybe things were looking up at the time, but the virus doesn’t go by how angry we are at it.

When they signed this resolution the Commissioners gave the virus the go-ahead to keep spreading unchecked, and it has been doing so steadily ever since, on steroids because of the Delta variant. The result has been a steady upswing in Covid cases that spiked recently, high enough to catapult the county back in severity to where we were with the pandemic in December of 2020.

All of the progress we saw last March has been lost.

The failure of our elected officials to understand what a communicable disease is and accept the reality of how it works, and their inability to accept public health experts’ advice on how to best deal with it, has taken a severe toll on the County, as once again science and common sense have taken a back seat to ideology in County government, to the detriment of residents, and especially all the dead people.

Mesa County Public Health statistic on Nov. 3, 2021. There have been 16 Covid deaths in Mesa County in the last two weeks, more than one a day, and 82% of them are in unvaccinated people.

Hundreds of deaths and more to come, but few people seem to care

More than one person a day is dying from Covid-19 now in Mesa County.

337 people have died of Covid so far, and with our large unvaccinated population, cases and deaths will keep climbing — a real danger as we head into another winter holiday season.

25 schools in Mesa County currently have active Covid outbreaks.

1,235 new cases have been reported in Mesa County the last two weeks, 85% among unvaccinated people.

An October 31 Daily Sentinel article that announced that 43 Covid deaths in October made it the deadliest month since December, 2020 didn’t even make the front page of the paper.

Few people are bothering to mask up in grocery stores any more, and concerts, festivals, galas, dinner party fundraisers and theater productions are going on as if everything is back to normal. Colorado Mesa University is almost completely ignoring the pandemic with a notable absence of any Covid precautions, despite the high rate of Covid outbreaks in local schools.

CMU’s absent Covid policies

Amid all this desperation, Colorado Mesa University requires neither masks nor vaccines for students, and has gone so far as to block faculty from enforcing mask mandates in their classrooms, terrorizing instructors by making them fear for their health as the pandemic rages again in western Colorado.

Contrast this with how Western Colorado University in Gunnison is handling the surge in cases. WCU is temporarily requiring all students and staff to mask up again indoors, submit proof of vaccination to the school, and continue physical distancing and hand washing protocols.

ICU beds in the County are 100% filled

Staffed ICU beds in the County are 100% utilized, so if you have an accident, heart attack or stroke or some other calamity and need an ICU bed, you’ll likely need to drive a long way or buy a plane ticket to get to a hospital somewhere far away. The states of New Mexico, Idaho and Montana have all been rationing medical care since September, and Utah has been on the brink of enacting crisis standards of care since mid-September. In October, when Community Hospital tried to transfer a patient, they couldn’t find an available bed within 500 miles.

100% of staffed ICU beds in the county are full due to so many unvaccinated people in Mesa County.

Rationing care

Last Sunday, Gov. Polis signed an order that allows hospitals to start turning away patients and using “crisis standards of care,” which means doctors can start rationing medical care by giving it only to patients they think have the best chance of survival.

These aren’t the imaginary “death panels” Republicans threatened when it looked like the Affordable Care Act was going to pass. This makes those contrived scenarios look like a silly little joke.

This is real life and Mesa County citizens may soon face the reality of rationed health care due to our area’s mass intransigence in getting vaccinated and our area’s leaders’ failure to do what is necessary to reduce transmission of Covid to a manageable level. If people don’t start changing their tune on vaccines and the County doesn’t start taking Covid mitigation seriously, we could all face the collapse of our health care system locally and the very real possibility that people won’t be able to access the health care system when they need it.




  21 comments for “Mesa County fiddles while Covid-19 rages

  1. As of yesterday, 53% of the population has had at least one shot of a vaccine. The positivity rate in Mesa County is 10% with a hospitalization rate of 25.6 per 100,000 residents. In Orange County, CA, a destination from GJT, 75% of the population has at least one shot of a vaccine. The positivity rate is 2.9% with a hospitalization rate of 6.7 per 100,000. Los Angeles County, the home of more people illegally in the US than any other county, has 75% of the population with at least one shot. The positivity rate is 0.95% with a hospitalization rate of 6.6 per 100,000. Also, LA County still has an indoor mask mandate. Very obvious what counties are doing better.

  2. My right wing nut job sister keeps sending me stuff about the vaccine. She’s LITERALLY begging me not to take my two teenagers for their shots. She’s always been the black sheep of the family. But, the gargantuan amount of stuff she has sent me over the last few months does make me wonder. Do you know anyone who is having health issues after getting their shots? I felt like crap for a few days, but was fine afterwards. Someone I work with, though, her husband has some life-threatening clots now. Another co-worker has a mom who got COVID right after her shots, and then everyone in the family got it too. Her mom died. I was feeling reassured with the FDA announcement this week, but my sister keeps sending her crap. I have to admit, I have some hesitancy about taking my teens in for their shots. I’m surprised I haven’t yet… But now, I just don’t know what the truth is anymore. Can anyone else relate? Ugh. Here’s the latest my sis sent.

  3. Why are hospitals not determining who gets medical care based upon who believes in Jesus? Those that believe in Jesus as their personal savior would be sent down a cold damp hall into a large room, where they would wait, sick, for Jesus to save them. The rest of us would get treatment, and all the jello and country fried steak we can handle!

    The christian model is such that receiving medical care is literally heresy, they are supposed to be waiting for Jesus to fix and solve everything! So we should start respecting and honoring their belief in Jesus by denying them medical care – we would, in the process, be helping them to not all be heretics! I mean, why do christians all have one foot on either side of the fence like that, its time to help them not be so “conditionally christian”.

    Next up – deny them food so Jesus can feed them, deny them beer so Jesus can show up in a Budweiser truck, deny them country music so Jesus can show up with a guitar. Living life is all heresy to these dumb ignorant “god-fearing” (hahahahahaaahhaah!!!) “christians”.

  4. The coronavirus is a silent assassin. Asymptomatic infected people could be your silent assassin. Colorado is now the 5th worst state in the nation for new cases. And I don’t see Mesa County as a community taking appropriate steps to improve our case count especially with winter approaching. It’s sad so many stupid people live in such a beautiful place. Anne, thank you for trying to bring light to this sorry situation.

  5. The adage comes to mind DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ. Many of the stats and misinformation out there are painting a picture that is total gloom and doom and you Ms Landman are the queen of gloom and doom. What should be the mantra —-is treated early virtually everyone has a survival rate of 98%- Those with co-morbidities are definitely at higher risk but once again treated early vs. being told to go home until you can breath is not exactly good medical advice. Now about that shortage of beds- could it be because the government has forced businesses to abide by a tyrannical order against any personal exceptions to fire those medical professionals that have been on the front line (aka used to be the heroes of the nation) of this infection. If you do not have the workers that translates into not having the beds not a crisis of numbers!

    If anyone with half a brain understands science they would be reading about natural immunity as well as real herd immunity. The vaccine has caused an absolute crisis – if you do not believe me then why is it in Israel where they have the highest vaccine rate also has the highest break thru of cases. This is has been happening in the US as well. Massachusetts comes to mind. Outbreaks in nursing homes of fully vaccinated individuals- well how does that work OH yea read the patent on Pfizer it explicitly says wont prevent transmission – the virus is way smarter than the scientists. (Even the beloved Dr. Fauci) and can adapt way faster than any vaccine- never in history has mankind been able to vaccinate its way out of a pandemic! This is about control not health care- wake up and educate yourself sooner vs. later!

    • Everything in Kiah B’s comment is erroneous and represents a classic example of misinformation & disinformation. For example, the statement: “never in history has mankind been able to vaccinate its way out of a pandemic!” is entirely false. The following 14 diseases, which used to be prevalent in the United States, have been nearly eliminated because of VACCINATIONS.
      1. Polio
      2. Tetanus
      3. Influenza
      4. Hepatitis B
      5. Hepatitis A
      6. Rubella
      7. Hib
      8. Measles
      9. Pertussis
      10. Pneumococcal Disease
      11. Rotavirus
      12. Mumps
      13. Chickenpox
      14. Diphtheria

    • “The vaccine caused an absolute crisis” Really? You mean like, by minimizing the number of people who have to be admitted to the hospital for Covid? A crisis indeed. Sounds like someone has been watching too much Fox News.

    • While this is one of Ms. Landman’s more emotionally charged blogs, it makes sense that a highly communicable disease is spreading rapidly among those who are unvaccinated and not practicing measures to prevent contagion. I’m as sick as the covid protocols anybody else, but mandates need to be based on science and not emotion.

    • Seriously? You don’t understand why a country with a high vaccination rate has a (relatively) high breakthrough infection rate? Could it possibly be that with most people being vaccinated, most infections will be in the vaccinated?

      Or is that too simple an explanation for you? Should we bring in the faked moon landings, chemtrails or the illuminati?

    • Kiah B, listen to me, hon.

      Being told by your “religion” that you have to die in order to live is RETARDED. Being told you are a mistake, and that everything is corrupted and shamed and make of sin IS IGNORANCE THAT THE IGNORANT BELIEVE IN.

      I am very sorry that YOU ARE RETARDED.

      There is simply no fixing christianity. The answer is to walk away from taking it literally. There. I’ve just supplied you with universal truth. For free. And I didn’t pass around a tithing basket. Effing DUMMY.

  6. Two weeks ago, when the green light was given, for those of us in high risk categories to get the booster, I called the health department and left a message that I needed to get some information about boosting for the J&J vaccine for a disabled client who is at very high risk for contracting COVID. My call was never returned. I had already asked the PA at his doctor’s office, and she was pretty wishy washy about it and I never felt like she gave me a straight answer. The doctors office is not giving people the COVID vaccine and they are referring people to the health department. Since the health department never returned my call, I tried to schedule appointments online, and kept getting a message that we were not eligible. After several failed attempts, I was finally able to schedule appointments and I was so excited to get an appointment on November 11. I thought it was weird that they would be working on Veterans Day, but we decided that would be our way to honor our Veterans, including my client, was to get the booster. Early this week, we got an e-mail from the health department that they had scheduled us for boosters on a county holiday when they would not be at work. They told us to either reschedule online, or call them and we would be prioritized. I tried to reschedule online, but kept getting a message that there were no such confirmation codes. I decided to call and try to talk to someone about it, so I left a message. They did not return that call either, so two days later I left another message and expressed my frustration with their process. Yesterday I got a call and they tried to reschedule us, then in the conversation, they told me that they are sending a nurse to people’s homes who are homebound so that they can get the booster shot and not have to put their health at risk going out to find the vaccine bus, or sitting in the grocery store for 20 minutes after the shot, with a bunch of idiots who refuse to wear masks. My client is on a Medicaid program where he gets his care in his home. The program is for clients with nursing home level care. In other words, if not for the care I provide to him, he would be institutionalized in one of the facilities where our elders are dying at a very high rate, because the staff is refusing to be vaccinated. My client’s health has been failing over the past two years and he recently had two surgeries for cancer. I am trying to keep both of us safe from the extreme risk there is out in our community because of the anti vaccine crew. I think that the health department has good intentions, but it seems like there is still chaos when it comes to scheduling. I also think that there should be a larger emphasis on helping the shut ins in our community to get the protection they deserve. The nurse they are sending to people’s homes only works one half day a week. With the number of elderly and disabled people we have in our community, you would think that either Rocky Mountain Health Plans, or the health department could do more to bring the vaccines to the people who cannot easily leave their homes to go find a vaccine. I know that the health department is trying to do the best they can, without much support of community leaders, but we need help out here. What ever happened to the days where the kids lined up in the hallway at school outside the nurses office and we all rolled up our sleeves and the school nurse vaccinated us? I miss those good ole days when it was a combined effort by everyone in our country to protect the vulnerable by getting vaccinated. Anne, thank you so much for everything you have been doing over the past two years to get us information that is timely and accurate about this pandemic, that oh by the way, is still ravaging our country, and especially our most vulnerable.

  7. I cannot imagine how exhausted and angry the medical community must feel to care for the constant stream of patients that come in needing acute care that are unvaccinated. We never hear about our high numbers in the local media. The Sentinel will not report it so most people who do not search the Covid numbers are clueless. Local right wing politics have created this incredible vulnerability for the community. This culture has solidified on bullying and ignorance which defines now the reputation of Grand Junction.

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