By far, the number one source of COVID-19 exposure and infection in Mesa County is through close contact with a family member.

According to the most recent data from Mesa County Public Health, over the past two weeks, nearly 64% of COVID cases are the result of contact with a family member. The second leading source of COVID exposure is your place of employment. In Mesa County, the workplace has accounted for just over 11% of the COVID cases in the last two weeks.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that your family and your job present the greatest risk of contracting COVID-19. We spend the majority of our time with family members and co-workers. These are also the occasions where we tend to have a false sense of security and perhaps exercise less caution than we might would in other public places.

In terms of contracting COVID-19, a breakdown of cases in the last two weeks in Mesa County illustrates nothing comes close to being as big of a risk factor as family and work.

* Contact with famly member - 63.9%
* Place of employment - 11.4%
* Private gatherings - 9.5%
* Exposure source unknown - 4.6%
* Public gathering (church) or outdoor event 4.3%
* Congregate setting (shelter,nursing home,jail) - 3.9%
* School/child care - 1.2%
* Traveling outside Mesa County - .73%
* Cases under investigation - .24%

One number that sticks out is the percentage of cases where the exposure source is unknown. The cumulative total for these cases is over 34%, but just 4.6% over the past two weeks. Being able to trace the source of the exposure is so critical to efforts to slow the spread of the virus and obviously we are making strides in this area.

It looks like progress is being made in the fight against COVID-19. Continued vaccination distribution should significantly impact the numbers in the coming weeks - especially if we continue to be diligent with social distancing and mask-wearing.

It's a difficult thing because people are mask-weary, no doubt about it. But, the key is, we are making progress and we don't want to go backward. It finally feels like we can get to the end of this thing, but we can't give up. We can't stop doing what we can to keep ourselves and others safe.

We have to be patient and persistent and continue to work together. Don't let the false sense of security that comes from the familiarity of family and work keep you from exercising caution in these settings. While most people who are contracting COVID-19 may not be dealing with serious physical issues, the reality is some people are struggling, and in some cases, it is a matter of life and death. You may not fear a positive COVID test, but the consequences of that positive test are far-reaching -- even if they aren't life-threatening.

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