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As Mesa County, Colorado, COVID cases surge to concerning levels, conservative activists are hosting a conspiracist event featuring three pseudo-medical “doctors,” all of whom actively promote coronavirus disinformation.
Among the organizers of the event is Jessica Migliaccio, who serves on the board of Grand Junction’s Community Hospital Foundation.
Conservative conspiracist Sherronna Bishop, who formerly worked as U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-CO) campaign manager, is the event’s lead organizer and also a speaker. Migliaccio and Bishop have attended previous anti-public health events together.
According to promotional materials, the event takes place at Orchard Mesa Baptist Church from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. Tickets start at $20, with VIP packages that include dinner with the speakers going for $75.
The three other speakers are Dr. Heather Canino, Dr. Stella Immanuel, and Dr. Eric Nepute. All three have spread debunked misinformation about coronavirus prevention and treatment. Of this trio, Immanuel is the only one with a medical license, which she received in Nigeria. She achieved national notoriety last year when Trump praised her for promoting the debunked claim that hydroxychloroquine can prevent COVID while also rejecting masks and social distancing. Immanuel also believes that alien DNA is present in some current medical treatments and that some diseases are caused by patients having sex with demons.
Speaker Nepute is a St. Louis chiropractor who made headlines as the first person prosecuted by the Federal Trade Commission for making fraudulent claims about COVID cures, specifically that the vitamin D and zinc sold by his company could prevent or cure the virus.
“Coach Dr. Heather Canino,” as she calls herself, says she is a “Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor and Life Coach,” who offers a variety of faith-based wellness courses for a monthly fee. She is an End Times believer who, like Nepute, pitches vitamin D as a preventive measure and claims that prayer prevents the coronavirus from entering the body.
Yesterday the Grand Junction Sentinel reported that Mesa County’s one-week positivity rate rose above seven percent—well above the World Health Organization 5% threshold for containment—for the first time in months. 96% of the county’s hospital beds are currently occupied. These numbers follow the recent news that a child died after contracting the Indian variant of the coronavirus, which has so far only been found in Mesa County.
With over 1150 employees, Community Hospital is the second-largest hospital in Grand Junction. It saw nearly 8,300 inpatient days in 2020.
Community Hospital spokesperson Karen Martsolf confirmed Migliaccio’s position on the foundation’s board but declined to comment on any statements made on personal social media pages.
“The opinions and views expressed by employees and/or board members do not necessarily reflect the official stance of Community Hospital,” said Martsolf. “Community Hospital strongly supports the COVID-19 vaccination and encourages people to get the vaccine to help protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”
In addition to her seat on the foundation’s board, Migliaccio works as a sonographer at Community Hospital’s OB/GYN clinic.
She initially agreed to an interview via Facebook message, but then blocked this reporter before providing any comment. Following the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiry, Migliaccio removed both her board position and employment with Community Hospital from her Facebook page.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder website.