Pueblo County issues dismal COVID-19 update


FILE – In this Jan. 9, 2021, file photo, vials of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are placed next to a loaded syringe in Throop, Pa. (Christopher Dolan/The Times-Tribune via AP, File)

PUEBLO, Colo.– Pueblo County’s COVID-19 incidence and test positivity rate has now more than tripled in August 2021 as compared to August 2020, according to data reported by public health.

Pueblo County’s COVID-19 incidence and test positivity rate also nearly tripled from July 2021 to August 2021.

There were 945 confirmed and probable cases reported in Pueblo County for the month of August compared to 264 cases in August 2020.  In July 2021, there were 257 confirmed and probable cases reported in Pueblo County, Colo.. Through September 16, 2021, there have been 896 confirmed and probable cases, compared to 303 for the month of September 2020.

 August 2020August
Total confirmed and probable reported COVID-19 cases264945
Age Range5 months to 92 years2 months to 96 years
Average Age3638
Death age rangen/a31-88
Business Outbreaks*54
School Outbreaks*03
Outbreaks in Long-term Care & Congregate Setting12
Courtesy of the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment

*Change in definition from 2020 two case was an outbreak, and 2021 five unrelated cases where transmission is identified is an outbreak.

“Things are different now than they were a year ago. Last year, there were statewide mandates in place which limited gatherings and events, encouraged universal masking and social distancing, and restricted other activities. Schools were operating remotely. People to people interactions were much more limited,” explained Randy Evetts, public health director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment.

Evetts said that in 2020, the public was dealing with a less transmissible strain of the virus. Now in 2021 we are dealing with a highly transmissible virus with most restrictions having been lifted.

School data for August 2021 showed five schools in Pueblo County that have been placed in outbreak status by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment is working with 23 schools that have confirmed COVID cases among staff or students.

More than 1,200 staff or students have been placed on quarantine or symptom watch because of their potential exposure. Schools are reporting a reduction in the number of students quarantined and the length of quarantine for students because of strategies such as increased ventilation, promotion of good hygiene, student cohorts and universal masking in schools.

Public health investigations conducted in August determined celebrations, weddings, gatherings, schools, workplaces, and events contributed to the rising number of cases. 

The local hospitals are reporting an increase in their daily census of COVID patients.

“Hospital capacity is a concern that we are monitoring very closely,” reported Evetts. “We want to avoid a place where we are rationing care based on who has the best chance of survival or a place where other healthcare needs cannot be addressed due to high volumes of COVID patients.”

“The COVID-19 vaccine remains the most powerful tool to reduce the spread of this virus, and we need every eligible individual to come together and do what is necessary to protect our community and economy,” said Evetts. Evetts explained, “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, it’s effective, and I urge anyone who has delayed getting vaccinated to wait no longer. Although some vaccinated people are becoming ill from the virus (a situation known as breakthrough cases), in most cases their illnesses are much less severe and they are far less likely to be hospitalized, require a ventilator, or die from the virus.”

Pueblo County vaccine data through Tuesday, August 31:

People vaccinated with one dose:                      58.9%

People fully vaccinated:                                          53%

To access the latest vaccine numbers and COVID data for Pueblo County, see the COVID-19 data dashboard.

Community COVID-19 testing is offered near the Pueblo Mall, open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. To view testing options in the community, visit this website.

The community vaccination site near the Pueblo Mall is open Thursday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Additional vaccination sites, including local pharmacies, may be found at www.pueblohealth.org/vaccines or by calling 719-583-4444.

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