Mayor urges no large public events as Colorado cases rise to 72
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis' office announced on Friday that Pueblo County has its first presumptive positive case of coronavirus: an adult male in his mid-30s.
The revelation was made when the governor's office announced the state's first fatal case: a woman in her 80s in the Colorado Springs area.
The state lab has completed test results on about 600 people in Colorado since testing began on Feb. 28.
In Pueblo, there have been nine tests conducted for COVID-19 at Parkview and only this one has come back presumptive positive.
Pueblo County Department of Public Health and Environment officials had no information Friday about whether the person in Pueblo County who had the presumptive positive test for COVID-19 has traveled anywhere recently, nor information about his medical history. Randy Evetts, the health director for the health department, said that information is being gathered.
Evetts said the patient is currently isolated at home and recovering.
"The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment is working closely with the Colorado Department of Public Health to identify close contacts and continue the investigation," Evetts said. "We wish for him a full and quick recovery."
Leslie Barnes, president and CEO of Parkview Medical Center, said the patient came through Parkview and things were handled well.
"A sample was taken with our nurse in full protective gear and was handled beautifully," she said. "We couldn't have done a better job than we did."
Evetts said he wants to remind citizens not to go to the emergency room unless it is medically necessary.
"If you feel like you have symptoms of COVID-19, or the flu, or the cold, please contact your primary care provider and they will instruct you further on how to proceed," Evetts said.
Mayor Nick Gradisar on Friday said that for the next 30 days, he is encouraging Puebloans to avoid holding and attending large public events in the community, and also announced the cancellation of this weekend's Pueblo Classic Bike Race that was supposed to be held Downtown.
"I urge every organization which has a public event to cancel that event in order to maintain the social distancing that can help us mitigate the spread of this virus," Gradisar said in a statement, noting that the goal of the community is to mitigate the spread of the virus.
Gradisar said the city of Pueblo would continue providing essential services, but services that require personal interaction with the public will be limited.
Offices that ordinarily are open to the public will be restricted, the mayor also announced. Anyone planning on visiting a city office asked is asked to call the specific city department to make arrangements. City department telephone telephone numbers are available at www.pueblo.us or by calling the city 311 information line.
Elsewhere in the community, the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo announced that it has cancelled Masses until March 31. Officials said that could be extended depending on how things go between now and then. Some other congregations will be only live-streaming their services.
One of those is Fellowship of the Rockies. In a prepared statement, Pastor Charlie Jones said: "We have spent a lot of time in prayer and preparation for the upcoming weekend. Governor Polis has ordered all meetings of 250 people or more to be canceled in order to protect the vulnerable and help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The leadership of Fellowship of the Rockies has decided not to hold public services this weekend. Instead, we will hold our weekend service online only. This is a great opportunity to gather in your home with your family and worship together as you watch online. Our weekend service will air Saturday, March 14, at 5 p.m. and can be replayed any time after that.
"You can join us at www.fellowshipoftherockies.org/media or on Facebook at facebook.com/fellowhipoftherockieschurch."
A whole host of other cancellations and closures in the Pueblo area were announced on Friday as well.
Black Hills Energy is temporarily closing its Pueblo Service Center to the public, effective Monday. For the time being, bill payments can be made online, by calling 888-890-5554, or via the drop box located at the service center, 105 S. Victoria Ave. `
The Pueblo Board of Water Works also announced it is closing its offices to the public until further. The offices at the Alan C. Hamel Administration Building, 319 W. Fourth St., and another building at West Third and Elizabeth street, will be restricted to authorized personnel only.
Water bills may be paid via:
Drive-thru at 319 W. Fourth St.
Drop box located in the 3rd lane of the drive-thru.
Drop box located near Pueblo Bank & Trust, off Fifth Street.
Automated telephone system 719-584-0250, option 1
Online bill pay link by visiting www.pueblowater.org. *Note: There is no fee for processing an online payment through the website.
Third-party locations such as Walmart, King Soopers (for a fee)
All Pueblo City-County Library District locations also will be closed to the public in order to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. All library locations will remain closed to the public until March 30, although all library events and classes will continue to be suspended and meeting rooms will be closed until April 15.
The Division of Motor Vehicles has authorized all counties to waive late fees for vehicle registration renewals. Customers are encouraged to utilize online services and self-service kiosks to complete eligible transactions. The fee waiver will remain in place until such time as the governor's emergency order is lifted.
A Bring Power Home 2020 event scheduled for Monday at Walter's Brewery also has been cancelled.