Montrose Fresh
Montrose Fresh
Dec 21, 2020
Montrose Fresh: COVID-19 Vaccine & What Montrose Officials Are Saying
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Good morning and welcome to Montrose Fresh, from The Montrose Daily Press. It’s Monday December 21st and we’re here to bring you a closer look at our top stories, events and more that matter to us here in Western Colorado. Today, our focus is on the COVID-19 vaccine, and what Montrose County officials are saying.

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Before we begin, here’s an event going on in Montrose this week that we’re looking forward to. 

Montrose Botanical Society volunteers were hard at work the past few months, preparing for the annual Garden of Lights. Although the community won’t be able to take a tour through the garden this year, residents can still check out the lights throughout the week. The garden will be lit every night until the 26th from 5 to 9 p.m. You can drive past on Pavilion Drive to see the lights set on the east side of the garden.

And if you’re still searching for the perfect Christmas gift for someone special, a digital subscription to the Montrose Daily Press is just $1.99 right now. 

Now, our feature story.

Montrose County should begin receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this week. County officials have urged the public to sit tight. 

Vaccine doses reached Colorado last week, here’s Governor Jared Polis announcing the arrival. 

For Montrose County, where 21 people have died of covid, the vaccine cannot come soon enough. The County vaccine task force — made up of public health officials, hospital staff, specialist Dr. Joe Adragna, and others — has developed a prioritization plan.

First on the list are health care workers and individuals deemed the highest risk. These are people who have direct contact with COVID patients for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period as part of their jobs. This category, called 1A, includes long-term care facility staff and residents.

The 1B category, next on the list, are moderate-risk health care workers and responders, who do not have prolonged, direct contact with infected patients, but still work in direct patient care.

The 1B category also includes firefighters, law enforcement, corrections officers, and other first responders and COVID-19 response personnel.

Phase 1A and 1B inoculations are expected to take place over the next few months, of course.. depending on the availability of the vaccine.

At the start, vaccine administration is set up to take place at Montrose Memorial Hospital. But once the county has reached Phase 2 or 3, that location could change to Friendship Hall.

Phase 2, includes everyone at an elevated risk of becoming severely ill from the virus. This includes anyone 65 and older, and adults with obesity, diabetes, cancer, or lung, heart, or kidney disease.

Phase 2 also includes people who have direct interactions with the public because of their jobs. So.. people that work at a grocery store, or a school. 

Phase 2 vaccines are expected to begin in spring of 2021. The general public will be waiting until Phase 3 kicks in.. which is probably not until summer, 2021. 

Next, here are a few other things going on in our community that you should know about.

Southwest is set to launch service at Montrose Regional Airport, which means local residents who want to take that quick weekend trip to Denver without long-term hassle are getting their long-awaited wish./Frontline health care workers at Delta County Memorial Hospital made history on Thursday morning, as the first people in Delta County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

And before we go, we’d like to take a moment to remember Delta’s Mike Bitonio.

For anyone who graduated from Delta in the early 80’s there’s a good reason to keep up with the Browns this NFL season. The team’s starting left guard is the son of Mike Bitonio, who graduated in 1983 from Delta. Mike lit up any room with a huge smile and booming voice. He was an outstanding athlete in his own right, and attended Fort Lewis College on a football scholarship. He eventually went on to become a flooring specialist and had a claim to fame as one of the early pioneers of MMA fighting. He was tough, but kind and loved his friends. Mike passed away in 2010, which was devastating news. But like his father, Joel took the life-changing event and used it as fuel to become the best player and person he could be. Ten years later he blossomed into a Pro Bowl caliber NFL lineman. And now, his dad’s classmates from Delta are cheering him on. 

That’s all for today, thank you for listening! For more information on any of these stories visit us at

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For more than 137 years, The Montrose Daily Press has been dedicated to shining a light on all the issues that matter to our community. Go to to subscribe for just $1.99 per week for our digital edition. You’ll get unlimited access to every story, feature, and special section. Thank you and remember to tune in again next time on or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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