Colorado Mayor Dealing With Rise In COVID-19: ‘This Is Going To Be A Lost Year’

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar says that the current increase in cases might likely be because of a mix of people relaxing throughout the summertime, schools and the local university going back in session, and more extended family gatherings.

In the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic, the hardest struck areas were big cities, from Seattle to New York. Now, 8 months after the crisis struck the U.S, new cases are rising in some small towns and rural areas around the country.

” As we find out more and more about the infection, its apparent that weve got to take protective procedures, even if were amongst buddies or extended relative if were going to avoid the spread,” Gradisar states.

Nick Gradisar is the mayor of Pueblo, Colo., a former steel town with a population of about 100,000. Colorado as a whole is among more than a dozen states that recently set a seven-day record for positive COVID-19 cases.

Gustavo Contreras

Gustavo Contreras

In excepts from his interview on NPRs All Things Considered, Gradisar goes over handling the coronavirus in his town, contact tracing and adapting brand-new customs.

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Nick Gradisar is the mayor of Pueblo, Colo., a previous steel town with a population of about 100,000. Colorado as a whole is among more than a lots states that recently set a seven-day record for positive COVID-19 cases.

Interview Highlights

Colorado is among more than a lots states that set a seven-day record for positive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday.

But eventually, he states, “we havent had the ability to put our fingers on exactly what it is.”

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One place seeing a considerable spike is Pueblo, a previous steel town with a population of simply over 100,000 that is nearly 50% Hispanic.

Gustavo Contreras

On whether people who test positive are disclosing close contacts

Theres been some unwillingness, I think. The reports I get from the health department is that some individuals dont address the phone when the health department calls and theres been some unwillingness for individuals to share their details. Were hoping that well get some new people trained up and can change that a little bit so that were able to rapidly recognize whos been exposed and infected by the infection and get them to quarantine and remain out of circulation.

On whether contact tracers have necessary language abilities and cultural competence

They do. And we will be making an effort in this next round of hiring these contact tracers to make certain that they have those multilingual skills so that they can reach as lots of Puebloans as possible.

On how Pueblos difficulties vary from those of a city like Denver

Pueblo is not really a tourist town. So to that extent, at least we havent been as significantly affected as other parts of Colorado have. Ive been rather surprised at our sales tax numbers and the reality that theyve stayed pretty continuous. We had some months where they went down, but not almost as much as we predicted. So in regards to sales taxation, which is a reflection of financial activity, Pueblo has actually done quite well so far.

On the upcoming holidays and family events

Generally on Christmas Eve, Ive got 40 or 50 people at my house.

This year needs to be various. Do not do it. Its too dangerous. And the reality that its essential that we not get extended households together for Thanksgiving this year. If we do, opportunities are that a few of individuals will be investing Christmas on a ventilator in the ICU unit since we dont have this infection under control at this point. Theres not an effective vaccine. So beware.

Pueblo is not truly a tourist town. In terms of sales tax collections, which is a reflection of economic activity, Pueblo has actually done quite well so far.

The reports I get from the health department is that some people do not respond to the phone when the health department calls and theres been some hesitation for individuals to share their details. Were hoping that well get some new people trained up and can alter that a little bit so that were able to quickly determine whos been exposed and contaminated by the virus and get them to quarantine and stay out of blood circulation.

Gustavo Contreras, Adriana Tapia and Jolie Myers produced and modified the audio version of this story. Christianna Silva adjusted for the Web.

Usually on Christmas Eve, Ive got 40 or 50 people at my home. We have Santa Claus come for the grandkids and the great-grandkids, but this years going to be different. Its not completion of the world. This is sort of going to be a lost year, however were going to get through it. And hopefully by this time, next year, things will be much, far better in regards to our reaction to the pandemic.