PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- According to Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar, the COVID-19 7-day positivity rate per 100,000 people in the city is about 25%.
Mayor Gradisar told the Pueblo City Council that hospitalizations have remained steady due to the omicron variant being more transmissible but less severe.
"We are in the middle of this pandemic still. We are not through. It's not through with us yet," Gradisar said.
Currently, Parkview Medical Center is operating under "contingency standards" at their hospital. The above graph lists the CDC's recommendations for hospitals on staffing based on Health Care Professionals contracting COVID-19.
For health care professionals with a COVID-19 infection, they must go five days with/without a negative COVID test, if they are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic (with improving symptoms).
For the professionals who are asymptomatic with exposures to the virus, there are no work restrictions for hospital employees at Parkview, if fully vaccinated and boosted. Those who are vaccinated (with no booster shot) or unvaccinated will have no work restrictions with a series of negative tests.
"But if you are vaccinated with no booster its considered the same as unvaccinated and so we still don't have work restrictions but you must have a covid test on day 1, day 2, day 3 and one of the days 5 through 7 and of course they all must be negative for you to stay at work," Vice President of Quality at Parkview, Teresa Braden, said.
Despite the rise in positivity rate, hospitalizations have decreased every day for the last nine days.
"With the other variants, we saw a more consistent sort of slope with that increase, so thats a good sign for us," Pueblo Health Director, Randy Evetts, said. "Theres just so many more numbers of people infected, just by pure numbers we are going to see people hospitalized. It's not going to affect everyone the same way but it will be severe for some and those folks might end up hospitalized."
Evetts said the 25% number may actually be lower than the actual number of positive individuals, largely because not everyone who gets infected is getting tested.
"It's widespread across our community. We are underestimating the number of people who are sick because we know that for every person who gets tested there are probably several who don't, who just live with the symptoms and get better," Evetts said.
Parkview Medical Center told KRDO they currently have enough health care workers to fulfill the need for COVID-19 care in the community, despite firing 56 workers because of the vaccine mandate for health care workers in November.
For the largest hospital system in Pueblo County to reach a crisis standard, they say a combination of a sharp increase in hospitalizations and the number of staff out due to infection would be the cause.
Pueblo Health told KRDO it is important for people to know after 5 days if you still have symptoms or a temperature after 24 hours with or without fever-reducing medication, please stay home.
Over the past two weeks PDPHE updated Isolation and Quarantine guidance for 1) the general public 2) schools and childcare.
Additional information is available at this webpage https://county.pueblo.org/public-health/isolation-and-quarantine