Mayor warns rising Omicron cases could impact Pueblo’s economy

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:37 PM MST
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Pueblo, Colo. (KKTV) - The ultra-contagious Omicron variant continues to spread through Southern Colorado.

The seven day positivity rate in Pueblo has climbed to 25% and it is even higher in El-Paso County (32%).

While cases continue to rise, hospitalizations are remaining relatively steady. The new variant appears to be a more contagious but less severe strain of Covid.

“The hospitalization numbers are fortunately remaining in that area where it’s workable, even though cases have gone up.” says Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar.

Parkview Hospital in Pueblo is currently caring for 60 Covid patients. This week, the hospital implemented “contingency standards” to account for staffing problems that could be brought on by Omicron.

These CDC approved standards allow health care workers to return to work after five days if they are fully vaccinated, boosted, asymptomatic, and test negative after exposure to Covid.

But it is not just hospital staff that could be impacted. “It is having an effect on our economy because people get sick and they can’t go to work. They can’t go to work and the restaurant has to cut their hours or the business has to cut their hours.” says Gradisar.

Gradisar did ask the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment to implement a city-wide indoor mask mandate in December. That request was ultimately denied but the Mayor told me today he still believes the mandate is a good idea.

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