DENVER, Colo. — Colorado is on track to see a higher number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 in the next day or two than in April, according to Colorado Department of Health and Environment State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy.
Colorado is also seeing the highest case count since the beginning of the pandemic. Herlihy said they estimated about 9% of Coloradans have been infected by the virus, leaving most of the population still at risk of contracting COVID-19. As of Wednesday afternoon, there were 925 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations.
"All the data support that the epidemic is worsening in Colorado," said the Dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, Dr. Jon Samet.
Twenty counties currently have a two-week incidence rating at the stay at home level, which is considered to be the most severe. Twenty more are just below at the high risk, safer at home level.
Those counties are currently in conversations with CDPHE to determine steps to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If the state doesn't see improvement, they have the option to move individual counties to the stay at home level, CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France said.
Herlihy said one of the key metrics they're watching is the state's positivity rate, which was around 4% from June to October. It's since more than doubled to about 9% and likely to increase in the weeks ahead.
Colorado's numbers are not only concerning, but the current data is also even higher than what their projections showed, Samet said. Transmission control is dropping and case counts are rising in all age groups.
The rising amount of cases and growing positivity rate and hospitalizations concerned Herlihy, Samet and France, especially with the holidays coming in just a few weeks. Travel, gathering with multiple households and a lack of social distancing could be problematic.
"It's the weeks more around Thanksgiving and beyond where now, we're starting to be potentially concerned," France said.
The health officials said the best way to reduce transmission by wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, gathering in groups of 10 or less from at most two different households.