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Pueblo COVID-19 curfew gets another extension, but is it effective?

Pueblo Curfew extension

PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- On Monday, Pueblo City Council amended its emergency ordinance allowing for Mayor Nick Gradisar to extend 'Home by 10' curfew through the end of 2020.

Gradisar notes the drastic rise of case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths as reasons to keep the curfew going. He says the curfew, along with other safety protocols, is one of the best tools to flatten the curve of COVID-19 in the community.

"I think it has been effective in limiting mobility," the mayor said. "We've got reports from the Pueblo Police Department where they say things have been quieter [from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.] after the curfew than before the curfew."

Gradisar also alluded to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) comparing the after-hours mobility in Pueblo compared to other front range communities. Gradisar says the data suggests that on Halloween, the first weekend of the curfew, mobility was 40% less than those communities.

Gradisar first introduced the curfew back on October 29. The mayor hoped the curfew would help flatten the curve of cases. At that point, Pueblo County's two-week cumulative incidence rate was at 367 COVID cases per 100,000 residents.

As of Thanksgiving Day, the numbers have only skyrocketed. The current two-week incidence rate is 2,183 cases per 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, deaths have quadrupled in November compared to the month of October.

But Gradisar says the curfew takes time to bare fruit.

"What is happening today in terms of our infections is based on stuff people engaged in a month ago," said Gradisar. "I think the curfew is effective in keeping people who have the highest rates of infection, the age group between 20 and 50, from engaging with others outside their household at least during the hours from 10 p.m. and 5 a.m."

Gradisar says it's hard to think the numbers could be higher, but ultimately, he thinks they would be worse off without the curfew.

"[Pueblo County's] numbers are almost as high as any in the state of Colorado but I think it would be higher [without a curfew]," said Mayor Gradisar. "It has really gotten out of control."

Gradisar says there is a possibility that the curfew could get pushed back even further than January 1. However, if case numbers decrease or slow down there is also a chance that the curfew could end early as well.

Coronavirus / Local News / Pueblo

Dan Beedie

Dan is a bureau reporter based out of Pueblo. Learn more about Dan here.

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