First responders helping one of Pueblo’s most vulnerable populations

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PUEBLO— On Thursday, first responders went to homeless camps scattered near Fountain Creek to give people medical help and administer COVID-19 tests.

“Everyone else is doing testing, whether they are infected or not so we are offering that to see if there are any outbreaks,” said Sgt. Frank Ortega with the Pueblo Police Department.

Thursday’s homeless outreach was the first one to take place since the start of the pandemic. The Pueblo County Health Department also came out to administer Hepatitis A vaccines.

“Over the past year we have worked hard to provide this vaccine to those who may not have a provider and this is an ongoing to help with the Hepatitis outbreak going on around the country,” said Brenda Tracy with the Pueblo County Department of Public Health and Environment.

The outreach started at 8 a.m. and some people accepted medical attention but others declined. A handful of COVID-19 tests were administered as well. Health officials say they are keeping an eye on the community since an outbreak can take place.

“If you’re in close quarters then there can be an outbreak, but being out in the air does help, but if they are sharing a tent, it can spread,” said Tracy. “It’s definitely a concern for us.”

Results take days to come back. Officials say the challenge will be tracing down individuals who they’ve made contact with and isolating them.

“The best way is to get as much information as we can when testing them and get a reliable cell phone with someone they are in contact or address they may visit frequently,” said Tracy.

The last outreach was conducted in March and nearly 40 Hepatitis A vaccines were administered.

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