Public Health Director: What Pueblo can expect as COVID-19 peaks

On March 13, Pueblo announced it had its first case of the virus. As of April 4, there are 43 confirmed cases of the virus in the county and the number is expected to rise.

Compared to Colorado’s mountain communities and larger counties with higher out-of-state traffic, Pueblo County has not so much been spared as  the wave is coming.

But when and where is still a mystery.

Excerpts from the interview:

PULP: Let’s just take the large picture of the county. And what is it that you as the health director is looking at over these next coming weeks. What are you anticipating? And what can the public expect to see from you?

Evetts: I think that like the rest of the nation and the state. We are expecting to see a surge. We don’t know what that surge will look like and we’re hoping that the social distancing measures will. Spread that out and minimize that surge but we are expecting to see a surge certainly in the last few days. We’ve seen an increased number of positives coming back and for every positive that we receive we expect that there are many that aren’t testing but who are symptomatic and maybe even have COVID?

That we don’t know about. So we’re expecting it to be more widely present in our community. We don’t know exactly what that number looks like or how that will play out.

What is it that’s going to happen if these rural counties see a surge or there’s an outbreak?

Pueblo and Colorado Springs and Denver are already regional hubs for those hospitals and those communities and in Southern Colorado. Certainly Pueblo is a first site that a lot of patients come to Pueblo. So it’s not an unusual. Our hospitals have been built around that for capacity in the past

What is your plan and Pueblo County Health’s plan from now until say April 30th or beyond into May? What is it that the public needs to know that you were setting in motion to address this?

Certainly we’re continuing to look and watch the social distancing and the state orders those currently only go through April 11th. But we are planning and expecting that those could be extended either at a local level or the state level though. There’s no indication from the state at this point that that could happen. But given that that we might be a few days our curve in Pueblo maybe a few days to a week behind what’s going on in Denver. We would expect that that we might hit our Peak specifically in Pueblo a little later than those in those communities and therefore. I may have to extend out some of those those things.

I think we will continue to see hospitalizations. We will continue to see unfortunately some deaths which is very tragic for our community one death is too many but I think that those are things that we are expecting and we’re talking to our partners about.

What would you tell the people of Pueblo County? To do to lessen this impact.

I think it’s important that we’re all patient with it. I am just like everybody else. I want to be out. I want to be doing those things those social activities and those things but if we can maintain the social distancing and we can reduce the amount of folks who are going to the grocery store and going to Wal-Mart and going to the different kind of locations.

It’s not that they shouldn’t go there but they should go there is minimal as possible. We can make a difference in this and we can save lives in our community. So I hope that everyone will take it serious and continue to take it seriously people need to take care o.f themselves at home. Take care of their own mental health.

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