PUEBLO, Colo. — Officials held a press conference Tuesday in Pueblo about the alarming increase of coronavirus in the county saying if the number of coronavirus cases does not go down in the next two weeks, more restrictions will come.
In the last seven days, 218 new COVID-19 cases have appeared in the county, but officials say they think the numbers are somewhere between 4-5 times that amount that they are unaware of, and more people should seek testing, according to Pueblo Public Health.
As of Monday evening, Pueblo County had 1614 total COVID-19 cases with 413 new positives in October with 13 new outbreaks. There are 40 total deaths.
“Unfortunately, over the past few weeks, the numbers have taken a turn for the worst,” said Randy Evetts, Pueblo Public Health Director.
Evetts said there are a total of 1,614 cases with a positivity rate of about 5-7%. The current two-week incidence rate is 230 cases per 100,000.
Mayor Nick Gradisar took preemptive action to flatten a new COVID-19 curve by instructing his department directors to reduce in-person workforce to 25% but he instructed keep city services open beginning Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
Mayor Gradisar instructed department directors to keep offices open for business and maintain a high-level of service through teleworking. Citizens who need to conduct city business are urged to do so electronically or over the telephone, first. If a person must conduct business in-person, they are requested to make an appointment first.
Public safety will not be impacted as both the Pueblo Police and Fire Departments remain fully operational. Pueblo Municipal Courts will remain open.
Pueblo Sales Tax Division will remain open. Residents are requested to use the drop-box to pay their sales or use taxes. Appointments are suggested but not required.
Boards and Commissions meetings will return to being held virtually.
The order begins Wednesday, October 21 and runs to November 2, 2020.
At this rate with these numbers, Pueblo County (which is currently at Safer Level 2) will soon push into the “Safer Level 3,” which is why officials are asking the public to step up and help slow the spread. Last Friday, the state notified the county of Pueblo that more restrictions will come in the next level if the numbers increase.
This means businesses would be at 25% capacity and variances would go away – meaning all bars would close.
The capacity would go down to 75 people for indoor events, among other restrictions as follows:
County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz also announced that Pueblo County is going to be doing another round of grants to local businesses and nonprofits – totaling $500,000. This funding comes from CARES money.
The emphasis will be placed on businesses who will be affected by COVID during the winter months.
For example, a restaurant may not be able to have patio seating due to cold weather, so the county wants to help with these needs.
The application will be on the Pueblo County website starting Wednesday, October 21.
To apply for the grant, visit the following website www.county.pueblo.org.