DENVER — Officials on Thursday said Denver nearly dropped to Level Blue on the state's COVID-19 dial — a move that would have further lessened restrictions — before a slight uptick in cases kept the city in Level Yellow.
Denver's one-week incidence rate is 107 cases per 100,000 residents; the city would have needed to maintain a one-week average below 100 to move to Level Blue, and it nearly did, before the small jump in cases.
Still, Denver is well within the threshold for Level Yellow on the state's COVID-19 dial, which allows for up to 50% capacity at restaurants and other indoor businesses.
And when 70% of the state's 70-and-older population receives a vaccine, Denver businesses approved through the state's 5 Star program will be allowed to move to Level Blue.
The update in numbers came Thursday during a news conference with Mayor Michael Hancock and Bob McDonald, director of Denver Department of Public Health and Environment. Hancock and McDonald expressed optimism about the possibility of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine receiving approval soon. The J&J vaccine would be a one-dose shot and is expected to improve vaccine supply across the country.
Hancock said he expects Denver will "get there ultimately, and I think very soon" to the Level Blue threshold.
But Hancock and McDonald also urged Denverites to remain cautious, continue wearing a mask and stay socially distant when possible.
McDonald pointed to the slight rise in day-to-day case numbers and the presence of virus variants in Colorado.
McDonald said the city has received variance plans from certain venues, including Red Rocks Amphitheater, to allow for larger crowds.
"I will always support a thoughtful plan, providing case numbers stay down," McDonald said. "If variances are approved and numbers tick up again, we'll rescind [them]."