Pueblo County reports COVID-19 cases on the rise

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Digital generated image of Covid-19 cell surrounded by plexus structured shell on black background. (File: Getty)

PUEBLO, Colo.– Pueblo County’s COVID-19 testing numbers, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are all climbing in October as compared to September’s numbers, according to local public health officials.

There have been 21 reported deaths from COVID-19 in October of 2021, compared to 22 for the entire month of September of 2021. From Wednesday, Oct. 13 until Wednesday, Oct. 20, there were 15 deaths reported. One of these deaths was a child under age five.

Last week, the cumulative positive rate among Pueblo County residents was 342.6 per 100,000 with the average positivity rate at 6.3%. There are currently 35 outbreaks reported in the county, as compared to the 21 at the end of September. This past week, there were nine new outbreaks reported, including six schools. Three outbreaks were reported resolved this week.

“People of all ages can get and spread the virus. Children are getting and spreading COVID-19 at a faster rate than they have in the past. Cases in children age 5 to 18 are at its highest level since the start of the pandemic,” said Randy Evetts, public health director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. “We need to continue to do all that we can to protect those who can’t protect themselves, those who currently are unable to get the vaccine, including children under the age of 12.”

The number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 in Pueblo County also has risen to now totaling 78 people hospitalized in Pueblo County, the highest number since last January of 2021.  Hospitals along the Front Range report shortages of personnel and bed capacity because of COVID, other illnesses and trauma. Hhospitals are delaying or canceling elective inpatient procedures because of their limited capacity.

“Hospital capacity is a finite resource,” commented Evetts. “The lack of capacity to manage other emergency health needs should be concerning to the entire community.”

Stay away from large crowds, wear a mask, get tested if you have symptoms or feel that you have been exposed, get vaccinated for both the flu and COVID-9, stay home if you are feeling ill, and practice good hand hygiene.

Testing is a critical strategy for disease surveillance and containment. Community COVID-19 testing is offered at two locations in Pueblo, near the Pueblo Mall and near the Colorado State Fairgrounds. Testing is also available at other locations and pharmacies in the community.

The State of Colorado and its contractor, Mako Medical, are offering free community testing at two locations near the Pueblo Mall, open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and near the Colorado State Fairgrounds. To view testing options in the community, visit this website www.pueblohealth.org. This past week there were over 1,780 tested at the two community testing sites, an increase of 200 from the previous week.

Currently, 58% of Pueblo County residents who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are fully vaccinated. While natural immunity from the illness does provide some initial protection, the current research suggests that natural immunity begins to wane in three to six months.

The current vaccines add another layer of protection against this dangerous virus. Vaccines are available to those age 12 and older and soon vaccines will be available for those ages 5-11. Currently, the vaccines are about 80% effective at preventing illness and around 90-95% effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. Everyone eligible is encouraged to get their vaccines and boosters when applicable.

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.

The state vaccine bus and many local pharmacies offer both flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine, and individuals may receive both vaccines at the same time.

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