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Pueblo mayor, officials discuss growing number of COVID-19 cases and next steps

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Posted at 7:05 AM, Oct 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 10:37:15-04

PUEBLO — Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar and other officials provided an update Tuesday morning on the rising number of cases in Pueblo and potential next steps if the number of cases continues to rise.

As of Monday, the Pueblo County Health Department stated there are 1,614 confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 and 40 deaths so far.

Pueblo Public Health Director Randy Evetts began the press conference by stating current trends could lead Pueblo to drop back on the state's COVID dial system, which would impact capacity limits and variances.

Gradisar announced city offices will limit the number of people in the building starting Wednesday by having employees telecommute through Monday, Nov. 2.

"This is important that everybody step up and do their part right now," the mayor said. He said the city is looking at ways to enforce requirements and keep cases from spreading, such as suspending business liquor licenses if they are not following certain requirements.

Citizens who need to conduct city business are urged to do so electronically or over the telephone. If a person must conduct business in-person, they are requested to make an appointment first.

“We are taking this step now, in the hopes we don’t have to close the economy later,” Gradisar said. “We are encouraging organizations to look at ways to maintain social distancing or telework so our restaurants, small businesses and other services can stay open.”

Earlier this month, Gradisar said Puebloans are relaxing on safety measures, creating the "perfect conditions" for the virus to spread rapidly.

"If the situation worsens, I fear we will have to close certain parts of the economy, hurting Puebloans and our recovery. We cannot let this happen,” Gradisar said during an update on Oct. 9. “We must work together to keep Pueblo open and healthy, but residents must remain vigilant as we enter this new critical stage to keep the pandemic under control.”

Right now, Pueblo is currently in Level 2 Safer-at-Home on the statewide dial system introduced last month. Level 2, the "concern" level, is the current baseline for the safer-at-home order.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment determines a county's level based on three metrics: two-week incidence rate, two-week test positivity rate, and hospitalizations. Counties that exceed any of the three metrics for more than two weeks are required to consult with the state health department.

Pueblo County was notified on Friday, Oct. 16, by the state health department that there must be changes in their metrics in two weeks, otherwise, they will have to move to greater restrictions.

According to data from the state health department, Pueblo County's two-week incidence rate is 230.8 and its two-week positivity rate is 3.7%. As for hospitalizations, Pueblo has seen nine days of declining or stable hospitalizations. For a look at the data, click here.

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