Governor Polis Provides COVID Response Update from Mesa County

Saturday, September 26, 2020

GRAND JUNCTION - Gov. Jared Polis today provided an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Grand Junction at Colorado Mesa University. The Governor was joined by Senator Kerry Donovan and Representative Janice Rich. 

“As we continue traveling the state, I’m excited to see how each community is responding to this pandemic and supporting each other. It’s great to be here on the Western Slope and I applaud the work that so many local businesses and cities have done to protect the health and safety of residents,” said Governor Jared Polis. “Our Western Colorado communities serve as a critical part of our state’s economy and will play an important role in building back even stronger than before. This part of our state serves as a hub for the outdoor recreation industry, which has really been bolstered as so many Coloradans are turning to the outdoors during this pandemic. In order to continue enjoying what we all know and love about our state, we must do an even better job of wearing masks, avoiding large crowds, and physically distancing and there are great opportunities to be safe in the vast, great outdoors of western Colorado.”

“I'm proud of the work we did this year in the legislature to provide support to our local businesses and help our economy as we begin to bounce back, and as our community battles this global pandemic,” said Senator Kerry Donovan. “Programs like the CLIMBER Fund and the Rural jumpstart program are just a few of the potential funding sources that can help rural mountain communities.”

“This pandemic has been challenging for our communities and our local businesses and we remain committed to supporting them through these challenging times,” said Representative Janice Rich. “Our community has been resilient and I know we’ll continue getting through this together.”

The Governor started the day in Montrose visiting the Black Canyon Boys and Girls club, a COVID Relief Fund recipient. The club received $40,000 from the Relief Fund and used it to provide food to kids during spring break, and more recently has been using the funds to stay open during the day and help students receive academic support and healthy meals in a safe environment. To date, the COVID Relief Fund has provided nearly $1.5 million to more than 60 organizations serving Delta, Mesa, and Montrose counties.

Gov. Polis today recognized Montrose for moving to the Level 1 phase of the dial framework. This means that the county has been able to contain the virus based on these three metrics:

  1. Number of new cases

  2. Percent positivity of COVID tests

  3. Impact on hospitalizations

In Delta the Governor visited the Delta Middle School to tour the new school and hear from teachers and staff. Students at the middle school are attending school in-person five days per week, while abiding by public health requirements like mask wearing, sanitization, and cohorting. Since the beginning of the school year, the state has been delivering masks to all teachers and staff who work directly with students. To date, Delta County has received 800 masks per week for a total of 6,400 in the last seven weeks, Mesa County has received 3,950 masks per week for a total of 31,600 masks in the last seven weeks, and Montrose County has received 1,150 masks per week, for a total of 9,200 in the last seven weeks. That’s more than 47,000 masks that have been delivered to schools on the Western Slope.

The Governor also visited Delta County Memorial Hospital to thank staff for their work in supporting the community through this pandemic. 

Gov. Polis finished the day in Grand Junction with a visit to Colorado Mesa University (CMU) where he met with Right and Wrong (RAW), a group committed to improving diversity and inclusion in their community. The Governor also spoke to a class at CMU full of student leaders who are working with the university to help respond to the virus and tackle pandemic-related challenges. The Governor commended the University for how they’ve handled the virus on campus while being one of the first higher education institutions to reopen for in-person learning. 

Governor Polis also met with local businesses in Grand Junction on a Main Street tour where he visited two projects that are part of Grand Junction’s CanDo Revitalizing Main Streets initiative. One is an outdoor seating project from the Grand Junction Downtown Development Association, and the other is an informational signage project led by the City of Grand Junction. Both efforts are designed to help expand the amount of available retail and dining space for local restaurants and storefronts in downtown Grand Junction.