Colorado COVID-19 cases remain low but could increase with new omicron subvariant

By: - April 22, 2022 4:26 pm

A computer-generated image of the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

COVID-19 transmission levels will likely increase over the next few weeks, but aren’t expected to reach levels anywhere near the omicron wave earlier this year, Colorado health officials said Friday.

The current seven-day moving average of cases is 605, up from approximately 305 a few weeks ago, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. Although increasing, those are still relatively low case counts.

“We have seen a doubling there in a couple of weeks, but we are still well below anything that we saw during the omicron wave or previous waves,” she told reporters during a Friday afternoon briefing.


The percent of positive PRC tests is also increasing, as are hospitalizations, at a slower rate. There are currently 88 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state.

The uptick in transmission is being driven by two omicron subvariants known as BA.2 and a newer BA.2.12.1.

Herlihy said that there is still little data available on that newer variant’s severity and transmissability. It has increased particularly on the East Coast.

“What this means for our hospitalizations is quite variable depending on the severity of a new variant,” she said.

The state only has one modeling scenario that would see hospitalizations exceed the omicron wave. That would be if a new variant has a strong ability to evade immunity and high level of “severity.” Severity is the characteristic, Herlihy said, that will determine a subvariant’s potential stress on the state’s health care system.

“It’s uncertain how likely a scenario this would be, where we would see this virus continue to cause more severe disease. That’s not typically the way viruses evolve. But it’s a scenario we want to be prepared for and considering,” she said.

Health officials say Colorado has an “ample” supply of COVID-19 treatment, including at federal sites that have both testing and treatment.


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Sara Wilson
Sara Wilson

Sara Wilson covers state government, Colorado's congressional delegation, energy and other stories for Newsline. She formerly was a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain, where she covered politics and government in southern Colorado. Wilson earned a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and as a student she reported on Congress and other federal beats in Washington, D.C.