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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Nov. 22-28, 2021

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Posted at 4:08 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-26 19:22:13-05

More than 811,800 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 45,900 have been hospitalized as of Monday afternoon, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

READ MORE: List of Colorado businesses that are open

Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.


Latest updates:

Friday, Nov. 26

5:20 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado.

821,859 cases (+1,428)
46,609 hospitalized (+11)
64 counties (+0)4,095,819 people tested (+3,581)
13,021,596 test encounters (+15,092)
9,100 deaths among cases (+19)
9,391 deaths due to COVID-19 (+77)
6,879 outbreaks (+1)

The latest hospital data showed 1,557 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 30 fewer than Thursday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 8.84%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Friday, 4,056,968 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,633,385 people have been fully vaccinated.

Thursday, Nov. 25

8:37 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado.

820,431 cases (+3,055)
46,598 hospitalized (+71)
64 counties (+0)
4,092,238 people tested (+7,733)
13,006,504 test encounters (+40,658)
9,081 deaths among cases (+17)
9,314 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
6,878 outbreaks (+9)

The latest hospital data showed 1,587 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 31 fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 8.77%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 4,055,022 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,632,575 people have been fully vaccinated.

8:21 p.m. | Hospital thanks Department of Defense for sending medical team to help with COVID-19 patients

A group of health care professionals is thanking the Department of Defense team that came to Colorado this month to help the state with its hospital capacity challenges as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.

The team is one of a few in Colorado after Gov. Jared Polis and the state requested federal help and was made possible through the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

“COVID has been going on now for about 20 months and there’s been... it’s been hard. It’s been hard on our staff, challenging for our communities,” said Ryan Rohman, Poudre Valley Hospital's chief operating officer. “I want to say thank you to the state of Colorado in helping us access FEMA.”

Another team is working at a hospital in Pueblo at Parkview Medical Center and a third is at the UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland helping with monoclonal antibody treatments.

Roughly 20 personnel are working in the intensive care unit of the Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins. The team includes nurses, providers, respiratory therapists and administrators.

The team is working side by side with health care workers and helping to free up hospital staff so that they can continue to provide other types of medical care for patients.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, Nov. 24

5:50 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado.

817,376 case (+2,908)
46,527 hospitalized (+208)
64 counties (+0)
4,084,505 people tested (+6,171)
12,965,846 test encounters (+31,145)
9,064 deaths among cases (+52)
9,314 deaths due to COVID-19 (+95)
6,869 outbreaks (+28)

The latest hospital data showed 1,618 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 12 fewer than Tuesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.05%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 4,047,891 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,629,574 people have been fully vaccinated.

4:35 p.m. | State expanding vaccine capacity at three large community sites

Three large community sites will begin providing additional vaccines and boosters beginning this weekend.

Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs, the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock and the Pueblo Mall in Pueblo will begin offering an increased capacity of up to 1,000 doses per day Friday through Sunday beginning this weekend. Appointments for vaccinations are encouraged.

Several vaccine clinics are also being offered from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3 on top of the 1,700 vaccine providers across the state. To find a vaccine clinic near you, click here.

For an updated list of providers administering pediatric Pfizer doses for kids ages 5-11, click here.

12:03 p.m. | Mask requirements take effect in Denver metro counties

Indoor mask requirements took effect Wednesday in four metro Denver counties just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

The new mandates are in place in Denver, Arapahoe, Adams and Jefferson counties after their health departments approved new public health orders earlier this week aimed at helping reduce the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19.

Mandates are also in effect in Boulder and Larimer counties along the Front Range. Public health and health care officials said Tuesday, as Denver announced its new requirements, that they decided regional actions were necessary as the state and governor have declined to put a mask requirement back in place across Colorado.

The requirements for Denver, Arapahoe and Adams counties apply to people ages 2 and up, while Jefferson County’s order applies to people ages 3 and up. Boulder’s mask requirement applies to people ages 2 and up and Larimer’s does for ages 3 and up.

Broncos fans will also have to wear masks in the indoor parts of Empower Field at Mile High, including at the team store, inside bathrooms, elevators and club and suite corridors.

Denver’s public health order allows businesses to not require masks if they require proof that at least 95% of guests and workers inside are fully vaccinated. All of the mandates have exemptions for certain groups.

The other counties with new mask requirements are also working on implementing vaccine passport programs for local businesses.

The requirements will be in effect at least until early January.

Local public health officials pointed this week to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations that is threatening hospital capacity across the state as reason to put the requirements in place for at least the next month.

As of Tuesday, 84% of the 1,576 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Colorado hospitalized were not vaccinated despite unvaccinated people being the minority in the state.

Click here to read the full story.

11:10 a.m. | CDPHE Chief Medical Officer: "This isn’t the time to assume things are getting better"

Despite hints of a plateau in cases of the novel coronavirus across Colorado, the chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said Wednesday, "this isn't the time to assume things are getting better."

During a virtual news conference, state health officials provided an update on COVID-19, a day after four Denver metro counties reinstated mask mandates to alleviate the strained hospital capacity several areas of the state are experiencing during the fifth wave of the pandemic ahead of the holiday season.

"We’re still seeing an incredibly high rate of hospitalizations," said the CDPHE's COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman. On Wednesday morning, the state reported 1,576 hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers not seen since Dec. 9, 2020.

Dr. Eric France, the CDPHE's chief medical officer, said that while it's "exciting" to see hints of a plateau in cases, Coloradans cannot let their guards down as cases can jump back up again due to travel for the holiday season.

"Given that we have Thanksgiving this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rates start to rise again in another ten days," said France. "This isn’t the time to assume things are getting better. We have to do everything we can to protect hospitals."

Boosters are one of the ways people can do their part to protect hospital capacity, France said, as he showed data from Israel which found a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine greatly increases immunity after a drastic reduction in vaccine antibodies following a two-dose regiment of the vaccine.

"This is compelling evidence that by vaccinating with a booster, you actually protect hospitalization but also prevent transmission," France said, as he explained what the Israeli data showed after a booster shot was administered the population.

Asked what message he has for people who might get excited about news of a plateau in cases which could lead to the easing of precautions, France responded by saying people should be looking at hospitalizations to help them make decisions around easing restrictions as "beds might tight due to cases of COVID" in hospitals across the state.

The officials also provided some safety guidelines around how to safely handle Thanksgiving meals to prevent foodborne illness as well as other safety guidance to celebrate the holidays during this latest surge of the pandemic.

You can view the news conference in full below:

CDPHE update on COVID-19 in Colorado for Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

Tuesday, Nov. 23

6:11 p.m. | Mask requirement for Broomfield city and county buildings

Broomfield County issued a public health order that requires people ages 2 and up to wear masks in all City and County of Broomfield facilities. People who are fully vaccinated can opt out if they show proof of being fully vaccinated.

The order will be in effect from Dec. 1 through Dec. 31.

"Thank you to Broomfield's local businesses and nonprofits who have voluntarily stepped up to strongly encourage or require masks indoors, and allow fully vaccinated individuals to opt out with proof of vaccination," the city and county said in a news release. "If at any time the data indicates a need for more or less mitigation measures, Broomfield is prepared to act swiftly in response."

Click here to read more on the metro-area mask mandates.

5:30 p.m. | Gov. Polis says he won't order statewide mask mandate for Colorado

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he would not be ordering another statewide mask mandate as several Denver metro area counties announced new requirements that take effect Wednesday.

“I’ve made it clear that it’s not something that we’re considering as a state. So, if communities want to wear masks, they can implement that,” Polis said in a news conference Tuesday in response to questions about why there would be no statewide requirements.

“I think that what’s being lost here is the most important message that you should wear a mask when you’re indoors around others to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and reduce your risk of spreading COVID-19 to somebody else,” the governor added.

A consortium of public health and medical officials from Denver, the Tri-County Health Department, Boulder County, Jefferson County and Denver Health said in a news conference about an hour before Polis’s that the mask requirements being implemented this week in the Denver metro area are being done to avoid overwhelming the state’s hospital systems and because of a lack of action at the state level.

“When there are no state orders to protect the people of Colorado, it becomes crucial for us to work together in the metro area to put into place public health orders and guidances that are consistent and uniform whenever possible to create a safer community for all in the metro area,” said Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Dawn Comstock – sentiments echoed by several of the other speakers.

Tri-County Health Department Executive Director Dr. John M. Douglas said the Metro Denver Partnership for Health (MDPH), which is made up of most of the county’s that are putting new restrictions in place, had been watching hospitalization numbers increase across the state and in the metro region in recent weeks and decided it was time to act now.

“We’ve acted many times to work together. Over the past week it became apparent we needed to do so again,” Douglas said.

The MDPH sent a letter two weeks ago to Polis calling for a statewide mask mandate, as did another collection of local public health officials. The Jefferson County Board of Health also wrote to Polis last week calling for a statewide mask requirement.

Dr. Robin Wittenstein, the CEO of Denver Health Medical Center, said the hospital system “is on the brink of collapse” and that health care workers are at a breaking point as capacity stands around 5% across the state.

“The best solution would be for the entire state, and in fact, the entire country, to have a vaccine mandate,” she said. “…Absent the ability to do that, what this [local set of orders] will do is it will reduce transmission rates and will help, we believe, take some of the increases we are seeing and help reduce those.”

Click here to read the full story.

4:28 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data for Colorado.

814,468 case (+2,655)
46,319 hospitalized (+404)
64 counties (+0)
4,078,334 people tested (+7,814)
12,934,701 test encounters (+31,223)
9,012 deaths among cases (+61)
9,219 deaths due to COVID-19 (+41)
6,841 outbreaks (+29)

The latest hospital data showed 1,630 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 22 fewer than Monday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.48%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 4,038,745 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,626,584 people have been fully vaccinated.

4:20 p.m. | Hancock announces new 'vax or mask mandate' for Denver

Masks are now required at all indoor Denver businesses and venues unless they choose to require proof of vaccination, Mayor Michael B. Hancock announced Tuesday morning.

The order goes into effect Wednesday and will continue through Jan. 3, 2022.

Hancock made the announcement alongside Bob McDonald, executive director of the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), and regional public health directors.

Hancock said regional protective actions have become necessary to reduce the pressure on hospitals. Therefore, in partnership with other metro counties, Denver will issue a public health order requiring masks in indoor settings for most businesses and venues for everybody 2 years old and up. If those locations do not want to require masks, they may implement a vaccine check before entry. In the latter case, masks are not required as long as they can verify at least 95% of the people in the facility are fully vaccinated.

This new order — which Hancock called the "vax or mask mandate" — will keep Denverites safe, especially as the holidays approach and more people travel to the city, he said.

"Let me be clear — we're not here because what we've done in Denver and the region hasn't worked. Quite the opposite," he said. "If other communities in Colorado and around the country took the affirmative steps we have taken around vaccines, the pandemic would be under control. But we will do what needs to be done to assure that we get through the next 45 days without having a break in our hospital capacity — a break the state and the governor have made clear could risk lives."

Denver's vaccination rate is "stellar," Hancock said, noting that just under 70% of all Denverites are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 76% have had at least one dose. Communities across the metro area are showing similar numbers, he said.

Other parts of the state don't have as high a rate, and hospitalized unvaccinated people are putting stress on hospital systems statewide, Hancock said, as those individuals are transferred to metro area hospitals to alleviate pressure in their local systems.

Read the full story here.

7 a.m. | Update on COVID-19 in Denver

Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Executive Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment Bob McDonald, and regional public health directors will provide an update on the city’s and region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic today at 11:30 a.m.

We will stream this announcement on our Denver7+ apps.

Monday, Nov. 22

6:50 p.m. | Denver metro counties considering implementing indoor mask mandates this week

The Jefferson County Board of Health adopted a new public health order Monday that requires people ages 3 and up to wear a mask while indoors, and the Tri-County Health Department voted to approve a similar mandate that applies to people ages 2 and up.

Additionally, Denver and Broomfield counties are considering implementing mask mandates of their own this week so the metro-area counties have close-to-uniform policies, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director Dr. Dawn Comstock said. Boulder and Larimer counties already require masks be worn indoors.

The Jefferson County board voted 4-1 after hearing from other local public health directors, 45 minutes of consulting with its attorneys and two hours of public testimony in which most of the speakers said they were opposed to the mask requirements. Hundreds of emails were also sent to the board regarding the order, and dozens of people protested the proposal on Monday morning at the public health building. Cheri Jahn was the lone vote against the measure.

The new mask requirement for Jefferson County will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and will stay in effect until the county sees 21 straight days of what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate or low transmission rates. Moderate transmission is anything less than 50 new cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days. Jefferson County is currently seeing high transmission, according to the CDC, and has a case rate of 418 per 100,000.

The board of health agreed to revisit the measure at a meeting in December. It also changed the originally drafted order to apply to people ages 3 and up instead of people ages 2 and up.

During Monday’s meeting in Jefferson County, Comstock and Bob McDonald, the executive director of the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, said there would be news on mask requirements for metro-area counties coming this week and that officials were working together to try to make their own regional approach absent action at the state level.

"Along with our regional partners, Denver is evaluating the best way to move forward to protect our hospital capacity and save lives," said Michael Strott, a spokesperson for the city of Denver, when asked about whether Denver would be ordering a mask mandate. "We will have more details on this tomorrow."

“While statewide action to increase masking would likely be most effective, based on many discussions over past several weeks, very unlikely that CDPHE will take this step,” read one of the slides Comstock presented. “If the State is unwilling to act, Metro wide action to implement mask mandates can provide benefit given size of our population and number of hospitalizations.”

“Currently Jefferson, Denver, Tri-County (Adams and Arapahoe), and Broomfield Counties are all considering implementing mask mandates over the next few days, which—combined with Boulder County—would create the sort of uniform approach across most of the Metro area that our municipal elected officials and businesses have indicated that they prefer,” the slide goes on to say.

The slide also said that mandates should be implemented as soon as possible and continue until Colorado’s hospital capacity has improved. If Colorado remains on its current trajectory of COVID-19 spread, there is a 48% chance hospital capacity is overwhelmed in the next several weeks, according to modeling data that was also presented at Monday's meeting.

On Monday, there were 1,565 hospital beds in use involving people with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Ninety-three percent of acute care beds across the state were in use, as were 95% of intensive care unit beds.

The TCHD board of health issued a rationale and summary for its proposed mask mandate, which the board approved Monday evening in a 5-1 vote.

The order, as drafted, would also go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and would stay in effect until at least Jan. 3 and until ICU bed capacity in the region hits the 10% threshold and stays there for 14 days.

It would apply to people ages 2 and up and would have similar exemptions as Jefferson County’s mandate, and the board will also consider a voluntary vaccine verification program for businesses and events.

Click here to read the full story.

4:06 p.m. | Boulder County Public Health urges safety during the fall and winter holiday season

Boulder County public health officials are providing some guidance for people who'll be gathering this holiday season as the county experiences a surge in cases of COVID-19 and the flu:

  • Get vaccinated against COVID-19, the flu and get your booster.
  • Move gatherings outdoors whenever possible and continue to mask when you are in a crowd, even outdoors.
  • Ensure everyone, including children, is wearing a mask while indoors (masks are required for 2+ in all indoor public spaces, including schools).
  • Improve ventilation in your home and increase air filtration.
  • Reduce gathering size and, if possible, split a large gathering into smaller gatherings.
  • Keep track of the individuals with whom you gather, which can assist in quicker contact tracing in the event of an exposure and can drastically help reduce spread of COVID-19.
  • If you are traveling, wear a mask and follow CDC guidance for safe travel .
  • Get tested both before and after any indoor gatherings and after travel—you can order free BINAX tests from the state or use a local free testing site

There are many convenient testing providers throughout Boulder County, officials said, including a number of locations that offer free tests. A complete list of testing locations in BoulderCounty is available at boco.org/covid19testing.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Cases and hospitalizations of COVID-19 continue to increase across Colorado ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. A reminder that today's state data is an aggregate from the weekend as well as Monday's.

811,813 cases (+7,079)
45,915 hospitalized (+205)
64 counties (+0)
4,070,520 people tested (+18,886)
12,903,478 test encounters (+107,502)
8,951 deaths among cases (+73)
9,178 deaths due to COVID-19 (+58)
6,812 outbreaks (+20)

The latest hospital data showed 1,652 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 60 more than Sunday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.26%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 4,030,693 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,623,970 people have been fully vaccinated.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Nov. 15-21, 2021