COVID-19 in Pueblo: Curfew expires Friday, city testing wastewater for traces of virus

Coronavirus

PUEBLO, Colo. — Mayor Nick Gradisar provided an update Wednesday on Pueblo’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The mayor announced the citywide curfew will expire on New Year’s Day, outlined plans for an early coronavirus warning system using wastewater, and asked Puebloans to take a moment of silence Friday to honor victims of the virus.

Curfew expiring

In November, Gradisar imposed an overnight curfew in an effort to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The curfew was extended multiple times, with the most recent extension set to expire at 5 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Gradisar said the curfew will end then, with no plans to reinstate it.

Wastewater warning system

Gradisar said the city will continue testing wastewater for traces of COVID-19, and will use the findings to warn people of high levels of the virus in their community.

“You may not know that since about August, the city of Pueblo has been testing sewer water, wastewater, in our seven basins, sending them to Colorado State University and getting results back,” Gradisar said. “And we’ve determined that there’s a pretty good correlation between increases in the RNA of COVID-19 that’s found in the wastewater to increases in COVID-19 cases that are actually determined from testing.”

For an alert to go out, the city must have three consecutive tests with significant increases in virus levels, or two tests with large increases.

A recorded voice message and text message will be sent to residents within the impacted area, warning of elevated virus levels.

The goal is to encourage more Puebloans to get tested, while also giving health officials information on how the virus is moving through the community.

Moment of silence

The city plans to honor and remember the more than 300 Puebloans who have died of COVID-19 with a brief ceremony Friday. Gradisar is asking churches to ring their bells for three minutes at noon. Residents are asked to ring bells or honor the dead with a few minutes of silence in prayer or remembrance.

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