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Garfield County sees first confirmed case of monkeypox

Risk to the general community remains low after one case of monkeypox was confirmed in Garfield County, according to a Garfield County news release.

“(Garfield County Public Health) is working to reduce the risk of transmission through awareness and education efforts,” the release states. “If you think or know you have been exposed to monkeypox, contact a health care provider as soon as possible as they can determine if you are eligible for vaccine and treatment, which work best if administered early. Your provider may order a monkeypox test to determine illness.”

There were 53 confirmed monkeypox cases statewide as of Wednesday, according to Centers for Disease Control data.

Monkeypox is typically transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, direct contact with body fluids or prolonged face-to-face contact with someone already infected, the release states.

“Anyone is at risk of contracting monkeypox through close contact,” the release states.

Most who become ill recover within 2-4 weeks and the disease is rarely fatal.

“It may begin with flu-like symptoms that can include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion,” the release states. “Typically, within five days after the onset of fever, a rash that can look like pimples or blisters may appear on the face or inside the mouth and then spread to other parts of the body. Contact a health care provider and avoid physical contact with others if you think you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms. A person is contagious with monkeypox until all of the scabs on the skin have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed.”

Although vaccines exists, they are not yet available in Garfield County. Men age 18 and older who are gay, bisexual or other men who have recently had sex with men who have had anonymous or multiple partners in the last 14 days will receive priority as recommended by the CDC, the release states.

“Anyone who believes they have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox in the last 14 days is also eligible for the vaccine. Getting the vaccine between four and 14 days after exposure can help prevent severe illness but may not completely prevent infection.”

The first case in Colorado was confirmed in May.

Doctor’s Tip: More random health tips

Last week’s column was a potpourri of random health tips, and this week’s column is more of the same.

NEUROPATHIC PAIN (nerve pain): Examples of this kind of pain are sciatica and shingles pain. According to the current issue of the American Family Practice journal, this responds best to the anticonvulsants gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica); and to the SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) duloxetine (Cymbalta).

LOW BACK PAIN: According to the above journal, “Exercise is the main intervention that produces sustained improvement in chronic low back pain.” Muscle relaxants such as Robaxin are no better than a placebo. Cymbalta, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, and opioids provide some relief. There’s lower quality evidence that manipulation and topical capsaicin (a chemical irritant from chili peppers that comes as a cream) help.

HEART ATTACK PREVENTION: Heart attacks are the No. 1 cause of death in countries on a Western diet, and most are preventable. Guidelines recommend use of risk factor scoring such as the Framingham Risk Score, in which age, gender, BMI, family history, blood pressure, diabetes, smoking and cholesterol are plugged into a computer program. Although many providers use this scoring system, in their new book “Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain,” heart attack prevention specialists Brad Bale, M.D., and Amy Doneen, PhD, point out that “risk factor profiling has been shown to be a highly inaccurate predictor of heart attack and stroke danger.” They recommend direct assessment of artery health through carotid IMT or coronary calcium scoring.

DAILY EXERCISE DURING PREGNANCY when initiated early decreases the risk of gestational hypertension and preeclampsia.

EGGS: According to the summer edition of Good Medicine (published by PCRM — Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine), research published in the journal Circulation indicated eating just 1 egg per day is associated with significantly increased risk of dying from heart disease. There are contradicting studies out there, but for the most part they are sponsored by the egg industry and involve comparing eggs to even less healthy food, thereby making eggs look good — a common trick used by the food industry to cast doubt on established science.

PROBLEMS WITH MEDICAL PRACTICE GUIDELINES: If a physician follows established medical guidelines when treating patients, they probably would win if sued for malpractice. However, an editorial in the April American Family Physician journal titled “Where Clinical Practice Guidelines Go Wrong” explains that such guidelines “remain controversial for several reasons, including discordance among guidelines, the influence of intellectual and financial conflicts of interest, and a lack of adherence to standards for developing trustworthy guidelines.”

BAKER’S (AKA BREWER’S) YEAST HEALTH BENEFITS: According to Dr. Greger’s evidence-based website nutritionfacts.org, a half teaspoon of baker’s yeast a day for 3 months has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar and to lower A1C (a measure of average blood sugar for the previous 3 months) by more than a point — more than many oral medications. It also lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, in children it decreased the number of colds per year by 50%, and when they did get a cold, the length was decreased from more than a week to three days on average. The immune-enhancing effect is thought to be due to a component in the cell walls of yeast called beta glucan.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

Doctor’s Tip: A potpourri of health tips

Following are some random health tips that don’t warrant a whole column of their own:

COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING: Over 50,000 Americans die annually from colon cancer, which is a preventable disease — it’s very rare in populations on a life-long plant-based, whole food diet. The earliest stage of colon cancer is clusters of abnormal cells lining the colon. The second stage is polyps — small growths that protrude from the lining. The final stage occurs when small polyps — that are initially benign — gradually become malignant and eventually spread. Screening is now recommended at age 45 and earlier if there is a family history of colon polyps or colon cancer. A repeat is recommended every 10 years up to age 75, more often if polyps are found. The old screening method of checking stool from three different bowel movements for blood annually is no longer recommended because it’s too inaccurate. Colonoscopy has been the gold standard for screening for years and should be used in circumstances such as a family history of colon cancer. However, it’s inconvenient, expensive (much cheaper at an outpatient facility in Grand Junction versus here, where it’s done in Valley View Hospital), and associated with a small risk of perforation. According to a recent issue of the Berkeley Wellness Letter, an annual home stool test called FIT (fecal immunochemical test), done with a kit prescribed by your doctor, is inexpensive ($20) and quite accurate; if positive, a colonoscopy is indicated. Another stool test called Cologuard is expensive ($650) and has not been shown to be more accurate than an annual FIT.

GUT/BRAIN CONNECTION: According to an article in a recent Harvard Health Letter, the gut microbiome can influence our emotions, our cognitive capabilities and our vulnerability to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Three mechanisms are involved: 1) Substances made by gut bacteria can get into the brain via the bloodstream. 2) Gut bacteria can send signals to the brain through certain nerves connecting the two organs. 3) Gut bacteria can stimulate immune system cells in the gut wall, and these immune cells can send signals via gut-brain nerves. The best way to ensure a health-promoting gut microbiome is to lead a healthy lifestyle including eating lots of fiber (found only in plants).

REDUCING ALZHEIMER’S RISK: The same Health Letter cites evidence that 40% of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed with the following: 1) regular aerobic exercise; 2) learning something new as you age; 3) eating a healthy diet; 4) getting at least seven hours of sleep at night; 5) limiting alcohol consumption; 6) maintaining social connections; 7) managing stress through activities such as yoga, tai chi or mindfulness; 8) avoiding tobacco; 9) maintaining normal blood pressure, weight and cholesterol; 10) treating hearing impairment; 11) avoiding head injuries; 12) avoiding midlife obesity; 13) avoiding/reversing diabetes; and 14) avoiding air pollution.

INACCRATE MEDICAL INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET: Sites such as Harvard Medical and Mayo Clinic are reputable. However, according to the June issue of Nutrition Action, published by Center For Science in the Public Interest — which has no industry ties — many other sites such as Healthline, WebMD, Medical NewsToday.com, Everydayhealth.com, SHAPE and Healthy Eating are influenced by ties to the pharmaceutical, food and supplement industries and contain inaccurate information.

CURRENT ASPIRIN RECOMMENDATIONS: If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, a baby aspirin (81 mg) a day helps prevent a second event. However, aspirin can have serious side effects: stomach bleeding and hemorrhagic strokes (where a blood vessel in the brain bursts). When it comes to preventing a first heart attack or stroke, aspirin might be considered in someone at high risk for a heart attack or stroke, such as strong family history or presence of plaque in their arteries (seen on imaging tests such as coronary calcium scoring or carotid IMT). However, other people should avoid aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, because the risk outweighs the benefit. And people at risk for bleeding (age over 70, use of steroids or drugs like ibuprofen, history of stomach ulcers or GI bleeding) should avoid aspirin in all circumstances.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

Torres column: Anyone can do things when life is great

Anybody can run a business when things are perfect, anyone can lose weight when life is perfect, anyone can achieve their goals when things come out just as planned. If life was a fairytale, everybody would have the life of their dreams.

The truth is that only those who are made to endure in difficult times are able to achieve their goals. 

When difficult times come, many people focus on complaining, and others focus on fear. Many others focus on “How can I improve myself, so I can help others.”

As the so-called pandemic is hitting the world, many people continue with their lives and improve people’s lives. They learn, exercise, work, eat healthily, make others feel safe, help others around them and continue with their goals. 

Complaining and living in fear simply won’t help. Where there is faith, fear is gone. Where there is gratitude, scarcity is gone. When we are concerned about the future, we get paralyzed, and when we focus on scarcity, we think about taking instead of giving. 

I know many people were not expecting these bad times, but the best thing we can do is live life to the fullest and work with what we have. Unfortunately, many people have lost everything that they have been working for all their lives. Other people don’t see the hope ahead, and many even committed suicide. Millions of people lost their jobs and can’t afford even a plate of food. 

However, many of us have more work than ever. Yes, true, many of us are facing difficult times, but others have it even tougher. 

Are you still working on your goals? Or are you letting this “pandemic” affect your decisions? Are you focusing on gratitude or scarcity? Are you faithful or concerned about the future? 

Look around and you will see how blessed we are. We are here in this world to make a difference. We have it better than others, and I know I can count on you to improve this world. Let’s make a difference in everyone’s lives today.

Reassess your dreams, your goals, your desires, your plan and everything you had in mind before this tragedy.

Get back on track, and don’t let outside circumstances affect your goal. 

Sandro Torres is owner of Custom Body Fitness in Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs and author of the books “Lose Weight Permanently” and “Finding Genuine Happiness.” His column appears on the third Wednesday of the month.

Doctor’s Tip: Putting Dr. Greger’s daily dozen all together

Last week’s column was the last in a series based on Dr. Greger’s daily dozen — 10 things we should be eating every day, what we should drink every day and exercise. Today’s column is about putting this into practice.

Breakfast: There’s a saying from The Blue Zones — where people live the longest and healthiest lives — that we should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. For breakfast, start out with an orange to take advantage of the health benefits of citrus fruit. Buy some oat groats and maybe rye groats at Natural Grocers (steel cut oats would be next best, followed by old fashioned rolled oats), cook enough for a week in a large pot, and keep in the refrigerator. Put in a bowl in the morning and heat in the microwave. Sprinkle on some cinnamon, add blueberries (cost-effective frozen organic blueberries sold at Costco) and/or other berries. Add a tablespoon of flax meal (most grocery stores) and a handful of walnuts (buy in bulk at Natural Grocers in Glenwood or Mana in Carbondale, keep in freezer). If you want toast in addition, use Ezekiel low sodium bread (Natural Grocers, Mana), put unsweetened organic applesauce on it, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Finally, add unsweetened soy or almond milk. Drink some hibiscus or green tea with your breakfast. If you put some frozen edamame on one of the pieces of toast, by the time you finish breakfast you will have eaten six of the 10 daily dozen items you should eat every day (probably not the recommended quantity, though), and one of the things you should be drinking every day (tea).  

For something different on Sunday, consider tofu scramble. Dice up a yellow sweet potato or a purple potato, some red onions and peppers. Cook in a wok using water — not oil. Add chopped mushrooms. Crumble a large square of tofu and add it to the wok (tofu makes a good substitute for egg whites). Add Mexican spices, black pepper and no-salt salt (potassium chloride instead of sodium). Finally, add a large bag of spinach and remove the wok from heat when the spinach cooks down. Add hot sauce before eating.

Or consider pancakes: Mix 1 ¼ cup of medium-ground cornmeal and 1/4 cup of sorghum flour in a bowel. Add 1 smashed banana, 1/2 cup of raw old fashioned rolled oats (not instant), a sprinkle of pumpkin spice or cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/3 cup of coarsely-ground walnuts or pecans, and 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce. Cook on a non-stick pan (no oil). Before eating put unsweetened applesauce and berries on top. Syrup is usually not necessary, but if you really want some, drizzle a small amount of maple syrup.

Lunch: An ideal lunch would be a large, colorful salad with greens, peppers, onions (red best), some cruciferous vegetables, carrots, tomatoes and beets. Sprinkle on some unsalted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and if you didn’t eat them for breakfast, a handful of walnuts. Add beans or other legumes. Eat a colorful fruit afterwards, such as an apple, red pear or dark grapes or plums. For dressing, use a small amount of balsamic vinegar or other oil-free dressing (find recipes on the internet). If you don’t have time to make and eat a big salad, consider a green smoothie made out of the same ingredients — 75% greens and other veggies, 25% fruit, and add as much water as the container will hold before blending.

Dinner: Use cookbooks like the following for dinner: “Oh She Glows,” “Isa Does It,” “Thug Kitchen” (contains some “colorful” language); “Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen,” “Simply Delicious,” “How Not to Die Cookbook” and “Forks Over Knives Cookbook.” Or go to websites such as Minimalist Baker. If a recipe calls for oil or eggs, substitute ground flaxseed and/or unsweetened apple sauce.

Don’t like to or don’t have time to cook? You can get cost-effective, plant-based, whole food meals delivered to your door if you go to websites such as LeafSide (meals based on Dr. Greger’s daily dozen) or Purple Carrot.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

Los cambios en las pruebas gratuitas de COVID-19 entran en vigencia en el condado de Garfield

Habrá menor disponibilidad de pruebas gratuitas de COVID-19 en el condado de Garfield y estarán limitadas a una sola ubicación en Carbondale, incluso cuando el número de casos aumenta localmente con la propagación de las últimas subvariantes del virus.

A partir del martes, el único lugar en el condado en el que se puede obtener una prueba gratuita de PCR State Lab, con resultados disponibles de 24 a 36 horas, será en el sitio de pruebas detrás del Centro de Recreación de Carbondale, en 511 Colorado Ave., explicó en un comunicado de prensa Carrie Godes, especialista en salud pública del condado de Garfield.

El horario es de mediodía a 5 p.m. de martes a viernes, y de 8 a.m. a 2 p.m. los sábados. Se aceptan personas sin cita previa o en automóvil, pero se pueden programar citas en affinityecarecolorado.com.

El viernes fue el último día para los sitios de pruebas gratuitas de COVID en Roaring Fork en todo el condado de Garfield y Roaring Fork Valley.

Ese servicio se transfirió al laboratorio con fines de lucro Valley COVID, también en la ubicación de Carbondale, y requiere una tarifa. La prueba tipo PCR de $120 que ofrece Valley COVID brinda resultados el mismo día. El horario de ese servicio es de 8:30 a.m. a 11:30 a.m. de lunes a viernes, según el comunicado del condado.

Hay otras opciones para realizar pruebas además de los sitios, dijo Godes.

Las pruebas rápidas de antígeno gratuitas para llevar a casa están disponibles sin cita previa en las instalaciones de Salud Pública del condado de Rifle, ubicadas en 195 W. 14th St., aunque los suministros son limitados. El horario es de 8 a.m. a 5 p.m. de lunes a viernes (cerrado al mediodía), o llame al 970-625-5200 para obtener más información.

También puedes solicitar el envío por correo de pruebas rápidas de antígeno gratuitas a través del programa federal de pruebas en el hogar, según el comunicado.

“La gente aún puede acudir a su proveedor de atención primaria para hacerse una prueba, pero sus precios y requisitos varían según el proveedor,” afirmó Godes.

Para obtener información adicional sobre las pruebas de COVID-19 en el condado de Garfield, visite garfield-county.com/public-health/covid-19-testing/

Los casos positivos informados de COVID-19 han aumentado en el condado de Garfield y en todo el estado en las últimas semanas, alcanzando un pico de dos meses de 22.4 casos por día en el condado el 28 de junio, según la página web de datos de Salud Pública del Condado de Garfield.

El condado tuvo 157 casos reportados durante el período de siete días del 22 al 28 de junio, con una hospitalización reportada esta semana y la primera muerte atribuida a COVID-19 desde abril. Eso ocurrió el 10 de junio e involucró a un hombre de unos 80 años que no estaba vacunado, dijo Godes.

El condado de Garfield ha tenido 96 muertes confirmadas por COVID-19 desde el comienzo de la pandemia en la primavera del 2020.

Los brotes recientes de COVID-19 se están monitoreando en cuatro hogares de ancianos en todo el condado de Garfield y otro en un hogar grupal residencial de recuperación de adicciones para hombres en Carbondale.

“El mejor consejo que te podemos dar es que recibas tu vacuna de refuerzo si te toca una,” dijo Godes. Los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades recomiendan que los adultos mayores de 18 años reciban un refuerzo inicial al menos cinco meses después de la dosis final de las vacunas de dos dosis de Pfizer y Moderna. Se recomienda que los adultos mayores de 50 años y las personas con inmunodepresión moderada o grave reciban un segundo refuerzo al menos cuatro meses después del primer refuerzo, según las recomendaciones del CDC.

Traducción de Edgar Barrantes. Puedes contactar al Reportero Sénior/Editor Gerente John Stroud al 970-384-9160 o jstroud@postindependent.com.

Doctor’s Tip: Exercise — what to do and how much

Exercise is the 12th and final item on Dr. Michael Greger’s daily dozen list, the others being 10 things we should eat every day and the 11th being what we should drink every day.

The Blue Zones are five places in the world where people live particularly long and healthy lives — proven to be due to lifestyle rather than genetics. They include the highlands of Sardinia; Okinawa; the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica; an island off the coast of Greece called Ikaria; and the Seventh Day Adventists in Los Angeles — who for religious reasons are at least vegetarians if not vegans. These five populations eat primarily plant-based, unprocessed food; eat a lot of legumes; and engage in frequent, low level physical activity.

Exercise lowers your weight, your blood pressure, your blood sugar, your cholesterol and your stress hormones. In moderation, exercise decreases inflammation and oxidative stress. It improves health of the endothelium that lines your arteries and decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It decreases risk of several types of cancer, maintains joint health and range of motion, helps prevent and treat depression, helps with sleep, helps prevent dementia including Alzheimer’s, improves low back pain, increases bone density, helps you live longer and enhances quality of life as you age.

Recommendations vary for how much aerobic exercise people should get and often are influenced by how much exercise experts think people will actually do (an example of the paternalism in medicine, where experts tell people what they want to hear instead of telling what the science shows and let them make up their own minds). In his book “How Not to Die” and on his website nutritionfacts.org, Dr. Greger presents evidence that what’s optimal is 90 minutes of moderate-intensity or 40 minutes of vigorous exercise a day. You should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, and if time doesn’t allow that, you can break it up into three 10-minute segments.

Examples of moderate exercise are brisk walking at a pace of 4 mph, downhill skiing, hiking, shooting baskets, yard work and yoga. A good rule of thumb is that when you engage in moderate exercise you should able to talk but not sing. Vigorous exercise would be bicycling uphill, cross-country skiing, running, singles tennis, swimming laps and water jogging. Avoid exercising right after a meal. Also, avoid exercising in the evening, which can make you feel “wired” and cause rather than prevent sleep problems.

A lot of aging is loss of strength, and it is advisable for people 40 and over to engage in upper and lower body and core resistance work for at least 20 minutes twice a week, on nonconsecutive days, using light weights, kettlebells or rubber bands. If you do this without resting in between exercises, this counts towards your daily aerobic exercise.

Humans evolved over millions of years to be moving about, and sitting is bad for health. In particular, sitting adversely affects the delicate endothelium organ system that lines arteries. If you have a desk job, consider a treadmill desk or at least a standup desk. Another strategy is to take frequent, short breaks and walk around. If you watch TV at night, buy a small piece of equipment that enables you to slowly, constantly pedal.  One company that sells them is called Stamina, www.staminaproducts.com.

Only 23% of Americans meet the national exercise guidelines, and fewer meet Dr. Greger’s more evidence-based guidelines discussed above. On the flip side, there is such a thing as too much exercise, which applies to a very small percentage of people. This causes rather than prevents inflammation and oxidative stress. Endurance athletes who engage in repeated marathons, ultramarathons and ironman triathlons show evidence of heart damage after competitions and are more apt to have arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation.

If you have led a sedentary life or have other risk factors for heart disease, it’s fine to ease into a light exercise program such as walking on the level, but check with your doctor before embarking on a vigorous exercise program, since a stress test might be warranted to check for a major coronary artery blockage. And it’s not safe to be a weekend warrior — being sedentary all week and engaging in vigorous exercise on weekends.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.

Garfield County names new environmental health manager

Janette Whitcomb

Jannette Whitcomb, formerly with the city of Aspen’s Environmental Health Department, is Garfield County Public Health’s new environmental health manager, county officials announced recently.

Whitcomb is replacing former environmental health manager Joshua Williams, who became head of the public health department in January following the retirement of longtime director Yvonne Long. 

According to a news release, Whitcomb will oversee a staff of five environmental health specialists and program managers specializing in wastewater, consumer protection and air and water quality.

Whitcomb served 24 years with Aspen’s Environmental Health Department, where she focused on programs aimed at improving the health and well-being of city residents. She brings extensive experience in air quality, COVID-19 response and recovery, consumer protection, solid waste and water quality, the release states. 

“I am honored to serve alongside the dedicated and compassionate staff in the environmental health department,” Whitcomb said in the release. “They have done exceptional work in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as continuing to respond to the community’s environmental health needs. I look forward to supporting our staff in this transition back to our priority environmental programs.”

The Garfield County Environmental Health Department oversees, and in some cases serves as the regulatory authority for, programs related to air and water quality, consumer protection for child care, schools and retail food establishments, radon, and onsite wastewater treatment.

“It is important to me that we understand the diversity of challenges our community faces through social, economic and environmental perspectives,” Whitcomb said in the release. “In doing this, we can implement and promote programs that have a lasting and positive outcome for the community.”

Free COVID-19 testing changes take effect in Garfield County

Free COVID-19 testing is now less available in Garfield County and limited to a single location in Carbondale, even as case numbers locally rise with spread of the latest subvariants of the virus.

As of Tuesday, the only place in the county to get a free PCR State Lab test, with results available in 24-36 hours, was at the testing site behind the Carbondale Recreation Center, 511 Colorado Ave., Garfield County Public Health Specialist Carrie Godes said in a news release.

Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Walk-ins or drive-ups are accepted, but appointments can be made at affinityecarecolorado.com.  

The final day for the free Roaring Fork COVID Testing sites throughout Garfield County and the Roaring Fork Valley was Friday. 

That service has been handed off to the for-profit Valley COVID lab, also at the Carbondale location, and requires a fee. The $120 PCR-type test offered by Valley COVID provides same-day results. Hours for that service are 8:30-11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, the county release states.

There are other options for testing besides the sites, Godes said.

Free, take-home rapid antigen tests are available on a walk-in basis at the county’s Rifle Public Health facility, 195 W. 14th St., although supplies are limited. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (closed for the noon hour), or call 970-625-5200 for more information.

Free rapid antigen tests can also be requested to be sent by mail through the federal at-home test program, the release states.  

“People can still go to their primary care provider for a test, but their pricing and requirements vary by provider,” Godes said.

For additional information on COVID-19 testing in Garfield County, visit garfield-county.com/public-health/covid-19-testing/

Reported positive cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in Garfield County and statewide in recent weeks, reaching a two-month peak of 22.4 cases per day in the county on June 28, according to Garfield County Public Health’s data webpage.

The county had 157 cases reported during the seven-day period from June 22-28, with one hospitalization reported this week and the first death attributed to COVID-19 since April. That occurred on June 10 and involved a male in his early 80s who was unvaccinated, Godes said. 

Garfield County has had 96 confirmed COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in spring 2020.

Recent COVID-19 outbreaks are being monitored at four nursing homes across Garfield County, and another at a men’s addiction recovery residential group home in Carbondale.

“The best advice we can give is to get your booster shot if you are due for one,” Godes said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises adults age 18 and older receive an initial booster at least five months after the final dose of the two-shot Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Adults over age 50 and people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised are advised to receive a second booster at least four months after the first booster, according to CDC recommendations.

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or jstroud@postindependent.com.

Doctor’s Tip: What should we drink every day and how much

Last week’s column was about the pros and cons of Lifeline Screening, which was offered locally the end of June. Prior to that there were 10 columns on Dr. Michael Greger’s daily dozen — things we should eat every day. The 11th item on the daily dozen list is what we should drink every day and how much.

Depending on age and sex, at least 50% of the human body is composed of water, which is present in cells, between cells and in our bloodstream. Adequate fluid intake is important for optimal health. Among other things, dehydration leads to concentrated urine and thicker blood, which is more apt to clot. If severe enough, dehydration can lead to death. Studies have shown a 50% decrease in bladder cancer and heart disease in people who drink an adequate amount of water every day.

What’s adequate depends on several factors. For example, plant-based food has a high water content, whereas animal products don’t, so people who are plant-based meet a lot of their daily water requirements through the food they eat. Another example is that water requirements for a couch potato are much lower than for someone exercising or doing hard physical work outside on a hot day.

A good rule of thumb is that people should drink enough water so that they are urinating every hour or so throughout the day, and so that their urine is clear to light yellow. Dark urine means dehydration, although a caveat is that B-vitamins cause dark urine for a few hours after intake. In their recently released book “Healthy Heart, Healthy Brain,” Brad Bale, M.D., and Amy Doneen, PhD, point to research that supports using weight to determine how much to drink every day — roughly half of body weight in ounces of water per day. So if you weigh 100 pounds you should drink 50 ounces of water a day (8 ounces is a cup).

When to drink? If you are getting up to urinate once or more during the night, it’s best to avoid fluids after 6 p.m. or so. If you’re going to engage in vigorous exercise, drink before, during (at least every hour) and after.

What to drink? Dr. Greger recommends tap water because in contrast to bottled water it is less expensive, has less environmental impact and often has less chemical and microbial contamination. However, Nutrition Action Health Letter printed an article titled “America’s drinking water is in trouble,” which pointed out that while most Americans no longer have to worry about getting parasitic, bacterial or viral illnesses from water, we now have to worry about industrial, pharmaceutical, agricultural and other chemical contaminants; as well as naturally occurring ones such as arsenic and lead (think Flint, Michigan). If you have any concerns, such as living in an old house that could have lead pipes, get your water tested.

Water can be boring, so consider spicing it up with things like lemon, lime, mint, cucumber slices, ginger shavings, a cinnamon stick, lavender or carbonation. Here’s what you need to know about other fluids:

• Tea has many health-promoting micronutrients, according to Dr. Greger, and hibiscus tea has the most (buy looseleaf from a specialty tea shop or online). Green tea is a close second best. Hibiscus tea has been shown to lower blood pressure, and green tea to decrease risk of several cancers. You can make hot tea or cold-steep it.

• Coffee has some health benefits but not as many as tea. The downside of coffee is that it can contribute to gastric-esophageal reflux, sleep problems (some caffeine is still present at bedtime from your morning coffee) and in some people a rise in pulse rate and blood pressure.

• Alcohol is not recommended as a source of fluids, because other than beer, it is dehydrating. And any alcohol other than small amounts of red wine increases risk of breast cancer in women.

• The Beverage Guidance Panel ranked cow’s milk far down the list of recommended beverages due to links to prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. (Unsweetened soy and almond milk are fine).

• Soda is not recommended in any form or quantity. Sugar is an issue with regular soda (10 teaspoons in a can), and there are other health issues with artificial sweeteners in sugar-free soda.

• Sports drinks such as Gatorade are not healthy unless you are exercising vigorously, such as running more than a 10K, because of their high sugar, salt and calorie content.

• Avoid fruit juices, which are basically flavored sugar water.

Dr. Feinsinger is a retired family physician with special interest in disease prevention and reversal through nutrition. Free services through Center For Prevention and The People’s Clinic include: one-hour consultations, shop-with-a-doc at Carbondale City Market and cooking classes. Call 970-379-5718 for appointment or email gfeinsinger@comcast.net.