DENVER – Colorado is seeing an increase in the number of hospital admissions due to coronavirus despite a plateau in the number of new cases, Gov. Jared Polis and State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said Tuesday.
If the upward trend in admissions continues, Dr. Herlihy predicts continued growth in cases and increased demand on hospitals ahead of a predicted spike during the winter holidays.
That winter projection could put the state at risk for exceeding its ICU capacity. But Dr. Herlihy said state health officials are working closely with hospitals to mitigate any such scenario.
“Having a network of hospitals across the state that can ensure Coloradans no matter where they live in the state have access to the best care is obviously a critical goal for the state,” said Dr. Herlihy.
Despite the upward trend in hospitalizations, the state has seen a leveling off of new cases among most age groups in the past two weeks. A similar trend was seen last summer weeks before heading into both Independence Day and Labor Day holidays, which was followed by a rise in cases immediately after the two summer holidays.
If people have more social contact than usual beginning the Friday before Thanksgiving and lasting through the new year, an increase in cases during and after the holidays as projected could be substantial, according to Dr. Herlihy.
Colorado’s current trajectory indicates continued growth in cases and hospital demand, but epidemiologists do not expect to come close to exceeding hospital or ICU capacity in the next month.
Other key findings from Tuesday’s report:
- Focal points of increasing COVID-19 hospitalizations include the East Central and Metro local public health agency regions. Other regions continue to see declining or stable hospitalizations.
- The estimated effective reproductive number has risen over the last month. The current number is estimated to be between 1.21 and 1.27. This estimate reflects transmission through approximately Sept. 15.
- From Sept. 1-15, the estimated level of social distancing was 59%.
- An estimated 1 in 850 Coloradans are currently infectious. This is an increase compared to the prior week.
- An estimated 5% of Coloradans have been infected with COVID-19 to date.