‘It is a tough number to turn around’ Pueblo health leaders warn about tighter restrictions

Coronavirus

PUEBLO, Colo. — Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) held a press briefing on Tuesday warning the community that the tightening of COVID restrictions is likely.

As of Tuesday, Pueblo is seeing 357 cases per 100,000 people the threshold set by the state is 175-350 cases per 100,000. If Pueblo continues on this trend for two weeks, the community could be forced to move to safer at home level three, this is according to the state’s COVID Dial.

“Those cases that we are seeing were exposed several weeks ago. If those activities have continued and the social distancing and the mask-wearing and attending the large events have been happening since then, we will continue to see those numbers rise. So it is a tough, tough number to turn around we are really emploring our community to step up and help us,” said Evetts.

(Photo: CDPHE)

Counties have three metrics that determine safer at home level.

  1. New cases: How much the virus is circulating in a county.
  2. Percent positivity: Whether there is sufficient COVID-19 testing to capture the level of virus transmission.
  3. Impact on hospitalizations: Whether hospitalizations are increasing, stable, or declining.

To move to a less restrictive level, counties need to meet and sustain all three metrics for two weeks, according to the CDPHE website. Counties must engage in a consultation process with CDPHE, which may entail moving to a more restrictive level when they are out of compliance with any of the metrics for more than two weeks.

“There is potential we could move if our numbers don’t come back down, through the mitigation efforts,” said Director of the PDPHE Randy Evetts. “It is a tough number to turn around.”

The safer at home level three means gyms and bars would close. In addition to reducing capacity at restaurants and businesses.

The state updated the Safer Home Level Three on Tuesday:

Gyms will be allowed to operate with the following capacity limits per room indoors or per designated activity area outdoors: Safer at Home 3 →  25% capacity, 25 people, whichever is fewer.

Director of the PDPHE Randy Evetts said the city is working on a mitigation plan with the state. He hopes things can improve, but is not so sure.

Evetts also said small private events like weddings are also adding to the numbers. He is not ruling our another stay at home order in the future.

“It could happen again. I don’t think the governor or any local municipality or county wants to take that action, because of the impact on the economy and our residents. But at some point we have to get control of this virus again before it really causes severe impact to our community,” said Evetts.

Their goal is to keep schools and businesses open.

>> Tap here to see a map of how other counties are doing.

He acknowledges COVID fatigue but said the community can’t let up now.

“I get it! We’re all tired of it. I think we all have fatigue from this, we all want to get back to some sort of normal. But I’d also say we’ve come this far and we managed to well for our community, lets not give up now,” said Evetts.

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