Mesa County is in an elite group of Colorado counties in the COVID fight, but an uptick in positive cases clearly means we have to do better.

The map from Mesa County Public Health shows Mesa County is one of only five Colorado counties currently in the "Protect Our Neighbors" stage of reopening. Three of those counties are on the western slope including Moffatt, Rio Blanco, and Gunnison. Gilpin County, located just west of Denver, rounds out the five.

Every other Colorado county is in various stages of the Safer at Home phase of reopening. The lone exception is Logan County, in the northeastern corner of the state, which is locked in the Stay At Home phase.

Delta and Montrose Counties remain in the next highest level of reopening, level one of Safer at Home. Garfield County is still in level two of the Safer at Home phase.

The reality, however, is Mesa County is in danger of going backward as the uptick in positive cases continues. In the last two weeks, there have been 171 new cases of COVID, and the two week average of positivity is at 3.1%. The county recently reduced group sizes to 300 or 50% of capacity, whichever is less, and called for an end to alcohol sales in bars and nightclubs at 12:30 am. Further restrictions may be coming if the surge continues.

On Thursday, MCPH reported an increase of 74 positive COVID cases, bringing the total in the county to 1,184 since the pandemic began. There have been 812 recoveries in Mesa County and six deaths.

The uptick in positive cases in Mesa County is reflective of what's happening in many other states that are seeing a rise in COVID numbers and it is definitely alarming. It feels like there are still too many people that aren't taking the virus seriously, even though it has killed more than 221,000 Americans.

Mesa County Public Health is strongly urging residents to take individual responsibility in the fight against COVID by maintaining social distancing, staying at home when you are sick, washing your hands, getting tested when you have symptoms, and by all means, wear a face covering when you're around other people.

We are extremely fortunate to be in the Protect Our Neighbors stage of reopening, but, if we don't all work together to do these responsible things we are going to end up with more restrictions and more closings, and nobody wants that. This thing isn't going away any time soon and we need to make the best of the situation and do our part to keep ourselves and everyone else safe and slow the spread of the virus. We have to do better.

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