PUEBLO — Pueblo County now has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 per 100,000 people in the entire state.
"If you look at Pueblo and our vaccination rates compared to the whole state of Colorado, we are significantly lower, and until folks get vaccinated and we can get some kind of immunity in this community going… It's going to be a tough fight," said Racheal Morris, a representative for Parkview Medical Hospital.
Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar says he does not foresee businesses closing down again, like this time last here.
However, Gradisar says Pueblo's hospitals are virtually shut down already. Parkview Medical has delayed Elective Medical Procedure as a result of the influx of COVID-19 cases.
"We went from low 60s to almost 80, now this week we're sticking around the 70s," said Morris about the number of COVID-19 cases at Parkview Medical right now.
"The sad thing about that... Is last year we didn't have a choice. This year we do, and if we are not intelligent enough to take advantage of these vaccines, then shame on us," said Gradisar.
Pueblo County's vaccination rate is roughly 65% right now.
"It is a little disappointing on our end because we do have this vaccine, and we're so fortunate that we live in a community where we have easy, free access to a tool that can fight this virus," said Morris.
The Pueblo County Health Department says currently, schools, child care centers, extracurricular activities, clubs and sports account for the highest proportion of newly reported outbreaks in Pueblo County.
Gradisar says, if COVID-19 cases do not see a downward trend in Pueblo County, there is a strong chance that children will have to resort back to online learning.
"There will be too many kids out sick, there will be too many teachers out sick, so they'll have to go back to that virtual learning, which was a disaster last year and it hasn't gotten any better in the last 12 months, so that's what we have to look forward to if we don't get this under control," said Gradisar.
Pueblo's School District 60 is partnering with the health department to offer mobile vaccine clinics at elementary schools, beginning on November 5. The clinic will happen Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.
MOBILE CLINIC DATES:
• November 5: Heritage Elementary
• November 13: Highland Park Elementary
• November 19: Morton Elementary
• November 20: Haaff Elementary
• November 20: Bradford Elementary
• November 26: Bessemer Academy
• November 27: Eva Baca Elementary