More than 760,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 43,000 have been hospitalized as of Monday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
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.
Friday, Nov. 12
4:53 p.m. | Denver Public Schools may have to move to remote learning
Denver Public Schools may need to shift to temporary remote learning due to staffing shortages, according to the district’s weekly update.
DPS had already previously announced school was canceled Nov. 19 because of staffing shortages.
Alex Marrero, the superintendent, said Friday that it “may become necessary” to move to temporary remote learning over the next few weeks when the shortages make it impossible to operate schools for in-person learning safely.
Marrero said each school’s circumstances are different, so decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis.
No official plans to transition to remote learning in the future are in place at this time.
4:45 p.m. | Poudre School District extending fall break
Poudre School District is extending its fall break due to staffing shortages.
In a letter, Brian Kingsley, the superintendent, said school will now be closed Nov. 22-23, extending fall break from Nov. 23-26.
Kingsley said the district anticipates “significant staffing shortages” and that there wouldn’t be enough staff to “provide the coverage needed to care for students across the district.”
Kingsley said he also hopes the time off will provide staff, students and families some time to relax.
All activities, extracurriculars, events and athletics will be canceled during the extra time off.
4:23 p.m. | Agate School District #300 temporarily going remote
Agate School District #300 will be transitioning to remote learning next week due to COVID-19, according to the Elbert County Public Health Department.
ECPH said it was notified by district leadership of the change to remote learning because of several active COVID-19 cases that were identified in the last week.
The district was already scheduled to be on fall break during Thanksgiving week.
In-person learning will resume on Nov. 29.
4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to rise across the state. On Friday, the state reported 1,476 hospitalizations for COVID-19, numbers not seen since mid-December of last year. The state's positivity is also nearly double of what is recommended to curb the spread of the disease.
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado.
781,960 cases (+3,051)
44,542 hospitalized (+181)
64 counties (+0)
4,001,579 people tested (+7,372)
12,542,259 test encounters (+35,697)
8,620 deaths among cases (+36)
8,886 deaths due to COVID-19 (+72)
6,667 outbreaks (+14)
The latest hospital data showed 1,545 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 15 more than Thursday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.97%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Friday, 3,935,935 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, and 3,593,193 people have been fully vaccinated.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said Friday that unvaccinated Coloradans should “suck it up” and get vaccinated against COVID-19 and continued to urge those who do contract COVID to seek out monoclonal antibody treatments as the state tries to avoid topping its hospital capacity in coming weeks.
“I just want to convey in so many ways, if you are unvaccinated, if you’ve been hesitant for whatever reason, just take a fresh look at that risk assessment. If there’s some reason you haven’t been vaccinated yet, if it’s a fear of needles, just get over it and do it,” Polis said in a news conference. “It you get COVID, they’re sticking a lot of needles in the hospital. IV, it will be in you for days. So, whatever that reason is, just suck it up and get protected because this thing isn’t going to go away.”
He and Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, held a news conference to shine more visibility on the use of the monoclonal antibody treatments to treat COVID-19 patients early on before they are hospitalized – one of the strategies the state aims to use to try to stem quickly rising tide of COVID hospitalizations in Colorado in recent weeks.
Polis said the treatments, which are being utilized under emergency use authorization from the FDA, can help reduce the chance of a person with COVID-19 getting hospitalized by up to 70% if taken early on.
But he also noted that getting vaccinated reduces a person’s chance of not only contracting COVID but their chance of getting hospitalized generally by around 90% across all ages.
“Get vaccinated. This is not a backup plan,” Polis said of the antibody treatments. “But if you get COVID and you’re at risk, you should get monoclonal antibody treatment.”
Most of the treatments that currently have emergency use authorizations are authorized for people at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 that could lead to hospitalization or death who are either not vaccinated or who are not expected to have an adequate immune response to the vaccines, including immunocompromised people.
Polis said it was especially important for people who are immunocompromised or age 50 and up to get the treatment early on if they contract COVID-19, as those people are more likely to have less-robust immune responses to the virus and likely got vaccinated earlier in the process.
Since the state is trying to get people to use the treatments before they are hospitalized, Polis said that means people who think they might have COVID-19 should get tested so they know for sure and can try to get the treatments before their conditions get worse.
Polis again brushed aside questions about whether it was time to reimpose mask requirements or business restrictions as officials sound warnings about the quick-rising hospitalizations, which they have pointed to throughout the pandemic as being the North Star in determining government responses.
3:32 p.m. | Larimer County Dept. of Health no longer pursuing implementation of Vaccine Verified & Event Program
Larimer County Public Health officials say they're no longer pursuing the implementation of a program that would have allowed businesses to operate without requiring masks if at least 95% of individuals inside the facility were vaccinated.
"Due to community concerns, the program was paused on October 21st and the PHO was amended to remove it from the order on October 25th," said Kori Wilford, a spokeswoman for Larimer County Public Health. "After engaging with a variety of stakeholders, including members of the business community, LCDHE has concluded not to move forward with the Vaccine Verified Facility & Event Program."
Larimer County's mask mandate, which requires everyone aged 3 and up to wear a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, remains in effect.
Wilford said the department's priorities now are focused on "new opportunities to fight the virus" by providing boosters, pediatric vaccines, and exploring ways to increase access to monoclonal antibody treatments.
3:02 p.m. | COVID-19 vaccines available statewide for Coloradans 5 and up
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is continuing its vaccination efforts this week for families who wish to vaccinate their children aged 5 and up.
The state announced Friday all their mobile clinics and many stand alone clinics are offering the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for kids 5-11 years old. Please note that many of the sites require an appointment beforehand.
View the list of available vaccine clinics here.
11:25 a.m | Check your phone for a message from the CDPHE
Parents and guardians of children between 5-11 years old will receive a text and email (from ColoradoDPHE@teletask.com) today to notify them about Pfizer’s COVID-19 pediatric vaccine. The texts will come from 45778 and will include a link to information on where to schedule an appointment.
The texts will read (English and Spanish):
- English: The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for children 5-11! Please contact your child’s primary care provider, local health department or local pharmacy to make an appointment today. For more info, visit: http://covid19.colorado.gov/kids-vaccines
- Spanish: !La vacuna Pfizer COVID-19 está autorizada para niños de 5 a 11 años! Comuníquese con el proveedor de atención primaria de su hijo, el Depto. De salud local o una farmacia local para hacer una cita hoy. Mas informacion visite: https://covid19.colorado.gov/espanol/vacunas-para-ninos
Thursday, Nov. 11
4:55 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado.
778,909 cases (+3,912)
44,361 hospitalized (+58)
64 counties (+0)
3,994,207 people tested (+9,558)
12,506,562 test encounters (+44,055)
8,584 deaths among cases (+33)
8,814 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
6,653 outbreaks (+19)
The latest hospital data showed 1,530 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 38 more than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.90%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Thursday, 3,930,167 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, and 3,590,712 people have been fully vaccinated.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Thursday formalizing the state’s guidance that everyone age 18+ who meets the eligible timeframe to get a COVID-19 booster shot be allowed to get one — one day after saying the state would try to add 500 more hospital beds within the next month or two to prepare for a continuing surge of the virus.
The order declares the entire state of Colorado as being at high risk of exposure or transmission of COVID-19 and thus eligible for the booster shot.
“There are 1,492 individuals currently hospitalized due to COVID-19, and only 623 hospital beds remain unoccupied across the State,” the order says. “[Ninety-five percent] of Colorado’s intensive care beds are occupied and 94% of medical/surgical beds are occupied.”
The order essentially formalizes guidance under which the state has been operating since booster availability was expanded and which the Colorado Department of Public Health discussed earlier this week.
The state is urging everyone age 18 and up who is six months past their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two months past their lone Johnson & Johnson shot, to get the booster shot to increase their body’s protection against COVID-19.
The CDPHE said it had conferred with the Centers for Disease Control about the recommendation and that Colorado was “aligned with CDC guidelines” on the matter.
Polis said during Wednesday’s meeting of the Governor’s Expert Emergency Epidemic Response Committee (GEEERC) that increasing the percentage of people getting booster shots would be one way to help stem the increase in transmission of the virus and hospitalizations, along with adding 300 to 500 hospital beds within the next 30-45 days and expanding the use of monoclonal antibody treatments for people who do get COVID-19.
He said he was frustrated by the FDA and CDC’s rollout and messaging on the boosters, which he said was “bungled,” and added that the executive order was “the way to make it official” that Colorado is a high-risk institution.
California public health officials are also hoping to follow Colorado’s path on boosters for any eligible adults, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy presented data showing the effectiveness of the vaccines since July among various age groups in Colorado, which showed waning effectiveness among older population above age 60, particularly among people ages 80+. Among that group, the vaccines were 65.9% effective in preventing hospitalizations and 77.6% in preventing death since the delta variant took over as the main strain of COVID-19 in July.
Polis said that data meant that booster shots were even more necessary for those older Coloradans, who were generally the first to get vaccinated and might be seeing waning efficacy, but who also generally have a weaker immune response.
Herlihy’s presentation showed projections estimating there could be up to 2,258 people hospitalized in Colorado by Jan. 1 if booster shot administration stays on its current trajectory. If uptake increases, the projections show hospitalizations could peak at 2,156 on Dec. 24 instead. And if 75% of people eligible to get a booster get one by Dec. 31, hospitalizations could peak at 2,082, the data showed.
Herlihy said that data showed the state could near or exceed its hospital capacity in December and that other factors, including the flu, could also affect where Colorado peaks. Officials did not discuss how getting more unvaccinated Coloradans vaccinated could affect the projections.
7:10 a.m. | Polis signs executive order ensuring all Coloradans can get COVID-19 booster
Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order Thursday declaring Colorado as high risk for exposure or transmission of COVID-19. This makes every Coloradan who is 18 years of age and older, and six months past their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months past their Johnson & Johnson vaccine, eligible for the COVID-19 booster.
“The health and safety of Coloradans has been my top priority throughout this global pandemic. We want to ensure that Coloradans have every tool they need to protect themselves from this deadly virus and to help reduce the stress on our hospitals and health care workers. Every Coloradans is now eligible to get the booster so they can protect themselves and their families,” Polis said. “I was relieved to get the booster two weeks ago, and strongly encourage you to get it too.”
Wednesday, Nov. 10
9:35 p.m. | Westminster reporting high daily average of COVID-19 cases
The City of Westminster is seeing the highest daily average of COVID-19 cases its seen in almost a year.
Westminster is currently averaging 61 confirmed cases of COVID-19 per day for the past week, a number not seen since December 2020, according to the City of Westminster Emergency Management. The upward trend began back in early July when the city was averaging 2.7 cases per day.
City officials are encouraging Westminster residents to get vaccinated. Approximately 31,000 people living in Westminster are not vaccinated and are most at risk of contracting COVID-19, officials say.
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are now required to enter Ball Arena for all sporting events and concerts. The regulations, announced in October took effect on Wednesday, debuting for the Nuggets game against the Indiana Pacers.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, which operates Ball Arena, said verification of either proof of vaccination or a negative test will take place outside of the entrances at each facility.
"We encourage our fans to arrive early, come prepared with the required documentation for entry and to wear a face mask at all times while inside the venue except when eating and drinking,” Kroenke Sports said in a statement.
Officials with Kroenke are encouraging fans to arrive to sporting events and concerts at least 30 minutes early because there might be longer lines.
There are only about 100 intensive care unit beds available in hospitals across the state, and more than 90% of them are filled — many by coronavirus patients.
"It is the busiest and the most stressful I've ever seen it in 15 years of medicine," said Dr. Eric Hill, a physician at the Medical Center of Aurora.
By the looks of it, the pandemic may be robbing frontline medical workers of a peaceful holiday once again.
"It's a little disheartening at times, because we listen to the national news and hear about everyone is doing better, and that is not our experience in Colorado. The numbers are on the rise and the challenges are real," said Dr. Matt Mendenhall, an emergency room doctor.
Those challenges are very apparent now, along with the burnout seen among health care workers, according to Hill.
"The morale of the staff? It is incredibly challenging to work in the healthcare system right now," said Dr. Hill.
Many health care workers across the state will have similar accounts.
"I think the workforce is tired," said JP Valin, SCL Health chief clinical officer.
Colorado’s COVID-19 situation is worsening by the day, according to the state’s department of public health.
A report released on Nov. 3 from the Colorado COVID-19 Modeling Team estimated hospitalizations for COVID-19 could reach 1,393 by Nov. 26 and increase to 1,400 by early December.
Less than a week later, their experts are predicting the situation could be even more serious than that, with the state already surpassing those estimates just days after the report was released.
“Since we released the report, COVID hospital numbers have continued to rise such that we think the demand could rise even higher than what we said last week,” said Elizabeth Carlton, an associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health and a member of that model team. “We’re now worried in some scenarios we could exceed the peak we saw in December 2020.”
Colorado currently has roughly 1,500 patients in the hospital due to the coronavirus. At its peak in December 2020, the state was treating roughly 1,800 patients at one time. Some experts worry that number could be closer to 2,000 by January. The state is also losing roughly 25 people a day to the virus.
Carlton says this is still largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Around 80% of the people who are in the hospital right now for COVID-19 have not been vaccinated and they are dying at higher rates.
4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across the state, with the CDPHE reporting 1,431 people currently hospitalized for the disease. Eighty-percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.
774,997 cases (+3,837)
44,303 hospitalized (+245)
64 counties (+0)
3,984,649 people tested (+7,977)
12,462,507 test encounters (+35,840)
8,551 deaths among cases (+31)
8,814 deaths due to COVID-19 (+60)
6,634 outbreaks (+33)
The latest hospital data showed 1,492 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.93%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Tuesday, 3,925,350 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, and 3,588,492 people have been fully vaccinated.
3:51 p.m. | Colorado adds age-adjusted vaccine breakthrough tracking tool
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is introducing an age adjustment to the state's vaccine breakthrough dashboard starting today.
"This update will allow the state to more accurately compare rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated Coloradans, and to bring Colorado’s methods more in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the CDPHE said in a news release. "Age adjustment allows for a more accurate comparison of disease risk between groups with different age distributions. This is important when evaluating vaccine breakthrough data because the age distribution of the vaccinated population is different from the age distribution of the unvaccinated population."
The CDPHE said the new data is based on 10-year age breakouts sourced from the 2020 population estimates from the State Demography Office in the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
"The age distribution among vaccinated and unvaccinated Coloradans varies, in part due to differences in age group eligibility throughout the phased COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Data shows age is an important factor in determining who becomes ill, who is hospitalized, and who dies from COVID-19. Age adjustment allows CDPHE to see what the rates of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths among vaccinated and unvaccinated Coloradans would be if each group had exactly the same age structure. For example, since a vaccinated population likely has a higher percentage of elderly people, that population may have a higher rate of death or hospitalization than an unvaccinated population merely because the elderly are more likely to die or be hospitalized from COVID-19," the CDPHE said in their release.
The CDPHE said this methodology events out the differences in age distribution to make two populations more comparable, but "the rates generated for these comparisons cannot be used to calculate counts of cases, hospitalizations, or deaths."
12:15 p.m. | COVID-19 vaccines for children through UCHealth
UCHealth is offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children 5-11 on Sunday, Nov. 14 with a second dose on Dec. 5. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit UCHealth's website here.
Tuesday, Nov. 9
Colorado is reactivating crisis standards of care for staffing of health care systems to help manage the influx of patients who need care for COVID-19 or any other illness.
Crisis standards of care are guidelines for how the medical community should allocate scarce resources.
The public health objectives of the crisis standards of care for health care staffing are to:
- Expand the availability of health care workers and health care resources to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to serve patients seeking non-COVID-19 related care;
- Assure that guardrails and supports are in place to optimize workplace safety, health care worker resilience in the face of moral and physical stress, patient safety and health outcomes of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
Staff shortages have been reported due to COVID-19 illness, increased workloads from hospitals working at capacity and staff burnout, CDPHE said.
Gov. Jared Polis just last week warned Colorado could be heading to crisis standards of care. He also said the state was preparing to ask the federal government to supply medical surge teams and is considering stopping elective surgeries, though that has not happened yet.
On Sunday, Polis then signed two executive orders to give the state control of hospital admissions and transfers — which authorized the CDPHE to direct facilities to transfer patients to prevent overwhelming the capacity of a facility and its staff — and to lay the groundwork to authorize crisis standards of care. Hospitals are required by federal law to accept a transfer if they are able to provide the level of care needed and if they have capacity.
Colorado should immediately increase its COVID-19 mitigation strategies, such as mask wearing, testing and the observance of physical distancing, to reduce the magnitude of the coming peak in the state’s fifth wave of the pandemic, according to the Colorado COVID-19 Modeling Team.
In their report from Nov. 3 released last Friday, the team estimated hospitalizations for COVID-19 could reach 1,393 by Nov. 26 and increase to 1,400 in early December if Colorado continued its current trajectory of transmission control, which is defined as the measures taken by the public to slow the spread of the disease, such as mask wearing, avoiding large gatherings, maintaining proper physical distancing, and testing and isolating if someone is experiencing symptoms associated with the disease.
The estimate for late November, however, was surpassed this Monday when Colorado reported 1,394 hospitalizations for the disease. On Tuesday, just four days after releasing their projections, the state surpassed the team's estimate for early December by reporting 1,426 confirmed hospitalizations for COVID-19 across the state.
As of Nov. 1, the COVID-19 modeling team estimated about one out of every 48 Coloradans was infectious with SARS-CoV-2, rates equivalent to last fall’s surge which are now approaching the highest levels of the pandemic, the team wrote in their report.
Across the state, only 101 ICU beds were available as of Tuesday afternoon, an increase of 21 beds compared to Monday, with a little more than a third of Colorado hospitals expecting ICU bed shortages by next week, according to the latest statewide data.
“Things are tight in Colorado, in many areas of the state,” Gov. Jared Polis said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “We’re experiencing a peak right now that many other areas of the country experienced a month or two ago. We’re down to less than 100 emergency beds across our state.”
6:14 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado.
771,160 caes (+2,514)
44,058 hospitalized (+371)
64 counties (+0)
3,976,672 people tested (+4,840)
12,426,667 test encounters (+24,809)
8,520 deaths among cases (+21)
8,754 deaths due to COVID-19 (+35)
6,601 outbreaks (+35)
The latest hospital data showed 1,523 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.50%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Tuesday, 3,918,934 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, and 3,586,024 people have been fully vaccinated.
6 p.m. | Boosters for Coloradans 18+
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is now recommending every Coloradan age 18 and older get a booster shot if they are six months past their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, or two months past their Johnson & Johnson shot, citing the “significant” spread of COVID-19 across the state.
A department spokesperson said the state conferred with the Centers for Disease Control about the recommendation and that Colorado is “aligned with CDC guidelines.”
The CDPHE said that since the CDC recommends boosters for people 65+ and for people ages 18-64 who live or work in high-risk settings, Colorado is covered because of the high rate of current infections. About 1 in 48 Coloradans are estimated to have COVID-19 as of Tuesday.
The state modeling team released new models last week that Colorado has already grown close to surpassing in terms of hospitalizations, and the state activated hospital crisis standards of care on Tuesday.
Monday, Nov. 8
8:31 p.m. | Denver Recreation Centers back to pre-COVID-19 hours
All Denver Recreation Centers have returned to pre-COVID-19 operating hours, and individual annual memberships will be discounted by an average of 45% to celebrate.
Individual annual memberships can be purchased in person and online. There are also several discounts available, including for Denver students, residents over the age of 60 and all residents within the 80216 zip code.
Registration for winter recreation activities also opens Tuesday beginning at noon.
More than 11,000 Colorado kids have received their first dose of the Pfizer shot after the CDC approved the vaccine for kids ages 5-11 last week.
In a press conference Monday, Gov. Jared Polis thanked the Colorado children who participated in the largest trial site in the country at Children’s Hospital Colorado, with 252 kids participating over the summer. Dr. Eric Simoes, the primary investigator of the Pfizer trial at Children’s Hospital Colorado, said about one-third of the kids received a placebo, and those children are now on their way to being fully vaccinated as well. In total, 5,000 children had applied to participate, Simoes said.
“As principal investigator of this site, and one of the largest sites in the world, I believe in the science and integrity of the trial and this vaccine,” Simoes said.
The vaccine is almost 91% effective in preventing infections in children, and 99% of the kids who participated in the trial had antibody responses that were protective, Simoes said.
One of the fourth-grade trial participants said she feels lucky to have been part of the trial to help keep kids safe, especially her baby brother who can’t get vaccinated.
“I’m glad I was in the trial because now other kids can also get the vaccine. I think kids should do it to protect the ones they love and keep themselves healthy, as well as keep our schools open,” she said
5 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers for Colorado — a reminder that today's state data is an aggregate from the weekend as well as Monday's.
768,646 caes (+8,193)
43,687 hospitalized (+178)
64 counties (+0)
3,971,832 people tested (+23,034)
12,401,858 test encounters (+109,764)
8,499 deaths among cases (+92)
8,719 deaths due to COVID-19 (+66)
6,566 outbreaks (+7)
The latest hospital data showed 1,484 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.49%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Monday, 3,914,014 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, and 3,583,793 people have been fully vaccinated.
Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Nov. 1-7 2021.