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The state of Parkview Medical Center after Pueblo mask mandates issued

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- This week, two mask mandates were issued for Pueblo County. One by the Department of Health and Environment for schools, and one for city buildings issued by Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar.

Randy Evetts, Pueblo County Health Director, said the state of the hospitals played a part in the decision surrounding mask mandates.

KRDO spoke with Parkview Medical Center Wednesday in Pueblo about the state of their hospital.

As of September 1, Parkview has 34 critical care beds filled, eight of those are COVID-19 related. Officials say 90% of their beds are full.

Parkview Public Information Officer Racheal Morris said that's four times as many hospitalizations from last month, but fewer compared to November 2020.

"Last November, when COVID was really going through the Pueblo community, our highest number was 141. So that is significantly lower than the 141."

Evetts said the rise in hospitalizations and listening to the concerns from local hospitals led to the board making the Public Health Order.

"We are seeing hospitals start to say, 'hey you know we are getting concerned'," Evetts said.

Vaccination rates in Pueblo are also behind the state's numbers. Tuesday, the state announced that 75% of people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In Pueblo County, that number is 58%.

For now, the Health Department has stopped short of issuing a county-wide mask mandate.

"There are communities across the state that are considering community-wide mandates," Evetts said. "We are not there yet, but it's not out of the realm of possibility in the future."

Another factor for the Health Department is the state of Pueblo schools and COVID-19 related problems.

"If we are seeing widespread outbreaks in schools, and schools are having to shut down or quarantine a large number of kids so that they can't continue their education mission, then those are big red flags to us to say we have got to do something different," Evetts said.

According to the Health Department, there are 29 COVID cases in 12 Pueblo schools resulting in more than 600 close contacts.

Here are the latest COVID numbers from Pueblo County Health:

  • August 26th: 26 cases
  • August 27th: 63 cases
  • August 28th: 35 cases
  • August 29th: 17 cases
  • August 30th: 34 cases
  • August 31st: 60 cases
  • September 1st: 58 cases
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Sean Rice

Sean is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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