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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Sept. 6-12, 2021

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Posted at 10:39 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 19:46:31-04

More than 622,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 36,000 have been hospitalized as of Sunday, 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.


Latest updates:

Friday, Sept. 10

4:50 p.m. | CDPHE recommends indoor masks in K-12 schools regardless of vaccination status in updated school guidance

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Friday updated and clarified its Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance to reflect best practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In the updated guidance, CDPHE recommends local public health agencies and school districts implement mask requirements for all individuals entering K-12 schools in Colorado including students, staff, teachers, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status or level of community transmission.

"This is especially important in settings where vaccination rates are low and where many students are not yet eligible for vaccination," state health officials said in a news release.

The state is also recommending schools improve ventilation in school buildings by ensuring existing HVAC systems are maintained in good working order and run for at least 30 minutes before and after the building is occupied, adding HEPA filters to existing systems, or using portable HEPA filters.

The guidance continues to recommend that vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure.

In response to stakeholder feedback, the state said, the new guidance removes one of the community level metrics that previously recommended that quarantine for exposed students could be avoided if county vaccination rates were higher than 70%. Another metric, relating to school level vaccination rates remains but was increased from 70% to 80%. If at least 80% of individuals age 12 and older within a school community have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, no one, including unvaccinated individuals, needs to quarantine following a typical classroom exposure to a case.

The state continues to offer free COVID-19 testing to K-12 schools through a new testing program. More information on that here.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data from Colorado

Here is Friday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

634,888 cases (+2,189)
36,795 hospitalized (+74)
64 counties (+0)
3,554,814 people tested (+9,528)
10,489,995 test encounters (+38,903)
7,274 deaths among cases (+20)
7,585 deaths due to COVID-19 (+25)
5,913 outbreaks (+14)

The latest hospital data showed 980 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 3 fewer than Thursday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 6.06%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Friday, 3,693,986 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,372,511 people have been fully vaccinated.

3:08 p.m. | 77% of Denver employees vaccinated, over 700 exemption requests submitted

The latest data from the City of Denver's employee vaccination mandate report shows 77% of city employees have been vaccinated against COVID-19 for the week starting Sept. 6.

Additionally, it also shows a total of 747 employees have submitted exemption requests. Out of those, 465 have been approved, 57 have been denied and 225 are pending.

All city employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Sept. 30. Denver7's Tony Kovaleski reported on the city's efforts to vaccinate its employees here.

1:14 p.m. | Steady increase in COVID-19 cases is starting to strain Colorado hospitals

While Colorado's COVID-19 case numbers and hospitalization rates are lower than most other states, officials said they continue to see a high level of the virus, particularly among unvaccinated individuals.

"We would not be anything close to hospital capacity or crisis or ICU limits if everybody was vaccinated," he said. "We'd have 200 people in the hospital instead of 900 in the hospital — well within the norms."

Some hospitals are getting close to their capacity limits, he said, which wouldn't be happening if more people were vaccinated.

He said the state has the lowest ICU availability rate since the start of the pandemic, in part due to unvaccinated people becoming infected and partially due to trauma cases, which increase this time of year.

"We can do this. We can end the pandemic, but we’re not going to end it by pretending that it’s already over when about 900 of our fellow Coloradans are still currently in the hospital and unvaccinated Coloradans are dying every day from the virus," Polis said.

CDPHE COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman said as of Friday morning, 902 people are hospitalized with COVID-19, which is the second-highest amount of COVID hospitalizations of any point in the pandemic.

"It has now eclipsed the first wave that we saw in the spring of 2020," he said.

The difference between the current wave and all previous ones is that Coloradans have returned to their normal lives, he explained. That means hospitals are seeing increases in patients experiencing an emergency unrelated to COVID-19, such as trauma, heart attacks and strokes.

"This is all coming together with the increase in COVID hospitalizations at this point to really stress our healthcare system," he said. "As of yesterday, we dipped below 200 ICU beds available in our state."

In response, hospitals across the state are beginning to put their surge plans into place and are opening up additional ICU beds and canceling scheduled surgeries.

"The burden of the unvaccinated on our hospitals is profound and it impacts all Coloradans because those who are vaccinated will struggle to get the same level of care in the hospital that they would get if there were fewer COVID hospitalizations," Bookman said.

Read the full story here.

12:37 p.m. | Colorado ending $100 Walmart gift card incentive on Sept. 14

The state of Colorado is ending is $100 Walmart gift card incentive program on Sept. 14, health officials said in a news release Friday.

The state is still offering $100 Walmart gift cards for anyone who receives a first or second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a participating state-operated vaccine site while supplies last.

"We strongly encourage all Coloradans who have been considering a vaccine to take advantage of the Walmart gift card incentive program by Sept. 14," state health officials said. "Coloradans can register for a vaccine at one of these clinics in advance and should check back regularly for any potential changes to an existing clinic at cocomebackcash.com."

The clinics can accommodate walk-ups.

Thursday, Sept. 9

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 in Colorado

Here is Thursday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

632,699 cases (+1,900)
36,721 hospitalized (+103)
64 counties (+0)
3,545,286 people tested (+12,548)
10,451,092 test encounters (+34,726)
7,254 deaths among cases (+12)
7,560 deaths due to COVID-19 (+23)
5,899 outbreaks (+24)

The latest hospital data showed 983 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 14 more than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 5.97%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 3,688,957 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,367,288 people have been fully vaccinated.

3 p.m. | Biden lays out 6-pronged plan to combat COVID this fall

President Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled his six-pronged plan to combat COVID-19 in the U.S. this fall, zeroing in on the unvaccinated and announcing a new federal rule that will require all businesses with 100 or more employees to ensure that every worker is either fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing.

Biden claims his plan will ensure the U.S. is using every tool to combat the coronavirus and save lives in the months ahead, while also keeping schools open and safe, and protecting the economy from lockdowns and further damage.

The plan will both increase incentives and requirements to get people vaccinated, as well as deploy more testing, masking, and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 while vaccination rates increase.

You can read the full plan here and view the ABC News Special Report of his announcement in the video below.

ABC News Special Report: President Biden calls on large corporations to issue vaccine mandates

Wednesday, Sept. 8

11:15 p.m. | Jeffco schools rolls out student testing

Jeffco Public Schools started their weekly COVID-19 testing this week as part of a public health order issued by Jefferson County Public Health.

The order requires Jeffco schools to implement weekly testing for unvaccinated students who participate in extracurricular athletics or activities and unvaccinated staff.

The testing, provided by Mobile Health and funded by CDPHE, began with staff on Sept. 7 and students on Sept. 9.

Testing will be provided at high schools and some district facilities.

Any student or staff member can sign up for testing, but parents must fill out a site-specific consent form for students under 18.

CDPHE also announced a student incentive program for participating in the testing. A participating student will receive $25 for the first COVID-19 test that is administered to them through this program and $10 for every subsequent test that is administered each week. There’s a maximum of one incentive allowed per week, and students will receive their incentive monthly and retroactively via a gift card.

The testing is meant for surveillance, and Jeffco schools said students and staff should visit community testing sites if they are symptomatic.

4:31 p.m. | CDPHE asking Coloradans to participate in contact tracing efforts as more transmissible delta variant continues to spread

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is asking Coloradans to participate in contact tracing with local public health agencies as the highly transmissible delta variant continues to spread across the state.

Officials with local public health agencies may call or email you after you test positive for the virus or are exposed to someone while they're infectious.

The CDPHE says contact tracing is a vital step in stopping the spread of COVID-19.

In May, local public health agencies received funding through the federal Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity cooperative agreement to sustain and increase their case investigation and contact tracing resources. The money is intended to be used for case investigation, contact tracing, outbreak investigation, and testing efforts.

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here is Wednesday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

630,799 cases (+1,540)
36,618 hospitalized (+276)
64 counties (+0)
3,532,738 people tested (+5,079)
10,416,366 test encounters (+16,480)
7,242 deaths among cases (+16)
7,537 deaths due to COVID-19 (+13)
5,875 outbreaks (+33)

The latest hospital data showed 969 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 12 more than Tuesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 6.13%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 3,683,848 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,361,325 people have been fully vaccinated.

2:18 p.m. | Boulder County mask order will apply to all of Erie

The town of Erie said Wednesday that Boulder County’s indoor mask requirement will apply to the full town, which sits in both Boulder and Weld counties, starting Saturday, Sept. 11.

Boulder County issued the mask requirement on Sept. 2. It requires people ages 2 and up to wear a mask indoors in all public settings, with a few exceptions.

The town said the Board of Trustees would vote on the move in a meeting next Tuesday.

“This Order is necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of the community by preventing the further spread of COVID-19,” the town said in a statement. “It is a necessary step to attempt to avoid re-enacting capacity limits, distancing regulations, and potential shutdowns.”

Tuesday, Sept. 7

4:24 p.m | Latest coronavirus data

Here is Tuesday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

629,259 cases (+1,844)
36,342 hospitalized (+27)
64 counties (+0)
3,527,659 people tested (+7,444)
10,399,886 test encounters (+27,324)
7,226 deaths among cases (+1)
7,524 deaths due to COVID-19 (+35)
5,842 outbreaks (+9)

The latest hospital data showed 957 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 52 more than Monday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 5.98%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 3,679,525 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,357,014 people have been fully vaccinated.

12:25 p.m. | Get vaccinated against COVID-19 at the Silverthorne Rec. Center

If you're in the mountains and haven't had your COVID-19 shot, you can get one between 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. at the Silverthorne Recreation Center. A community vaccination clinic will be providing free Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines.

11:16 a.m. | FEMA provides Colorado with $17.6 million for COVID-19 response

FEMA has approved more than $17.6 million in additional Public Assistance funding for the COVID-19 response in Colorado. The assistance was made available under a major disaster declaration issued April 4, 2020. FEMA has provided more than $963 million for the Colorado COVID-19 response to date.

The latest round of FEMA funding includes:

  • $14.3 million to the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Finance for vaccines.
  • $3.3 million to Denver County for labor, contracts, and materials to set up tents and owned mobile units to conduct COVID-19 testing at the Pepsi Center and various locations throughout the Denver Metro Area.

This funding is authorized under the January 21, 2021, Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense & the Secretary of Homeland Security and Section 403 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.

Monday, Sept. 6

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here is Monday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. A reminder that today's state data is an aggregate from the weekend as well as Monday's.

627,415 cases (+5,071)
36,315 hospitalized (+112)
64 counties (+0)
3,520,215 people tested (+25,271)
10,372,562 test encounters (+91,853)
7,225 deaths among cases (+31)
7,489 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
5,833 outbreaks (+4)

The latest hospital data showed 905 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 2 more than Sunday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 5.72%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 3,677,633 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,354,985 people have been fully vaccinated.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2021.