Pueblo mass vaccination and testing sites could close in April
Pueblo, Colo. (KKTV) - “I think they’re probably going to be open until the first of April and then they will gradually sort of start to go away. The goal is to try to bring our COVID-19 treatments back into our regular healthcare system, so it’s pretty unusual for us to be giving vaccines in parking lots or to be taking tests in parking lots.”
That was Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar’s response today when I asked him about Pueblo two mass vaccination and testing sites. I visited both sites today at the Pueblo Mall and State Fairgrounds and saw almost no visitors while I was there.
Pueblo currently has a positivity rate of just 2.5% and hospitalizations have been either declining or staying steady for 13 straight days, if these trends continue there could be big changes on the horizon.
As a state Colorado has the tenth lowest death rate from Covid-19 and one of the highest vaccination rates.
Last Friday, Governor Jared Polis detailed his plan to put Colorado on a pathway out of the pandemic and into a sense of normality.
His plan hinges on four separate pillars, planning for hospital readiness, public health readiness and surge planning, healthcare workforce expansion, and engaging in federal government reform by fighting for the expansion of medicare and medicaid.
He hopes this plan will create a health care system strong enough to eliminate the need for mass vaccination and testing sites.
Pueblo mayor Nick Gradisar told me he agrees with the Governor. He told me he believes it is time for Colorado to begin the process of folding Covid-19 treatment into the existing healthcare system.
He told me he wants to see vaccinations and testing moved out of the parking lot and into pharmacies and homes.
“So unless we have to get everybody vaccinated all over again for some type of new variant... you are probably going to get your tests or your vaccinations either at home or at a health care provider or pharmacy rather than a mass vaccination site or testing site in a parking lot.”
It is worth mentioning that the mass sites are sun by the state health department. I reached out to them to ask if they had any plans to close the Pueblo sites in April, however they have not yet responded.
Mayor Gradisar also added that an emergence of a new variant or a future spike in cases could cause the city and the rest of the state to quickly change their plans.
“I think that we’ve learned over the past 24 months of dealing with Covid-19 that we have to be flexible we have to be able to move quickly, and as we get new information we have to be able to make changes. We’re certainly prepared and able to do that in the City of Pueblo. We don’t have a mask mandate, if there was a new variant or something got worse we might have to bring those back, but that’s a small price to pay to protect our hospital capacity and to protect the lives of the people in this community”
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