COVID Check Colorado operates a testing center at Colorado School of Mines in Golden. (Courtesy of Colorado School of Mines)
Rising cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 could mean Colorado counties will have to take drastic measures to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed in the next few weeks.
The metrics are bad enough in several counties that they could soon move to more restrictive levels of CDPHE’s COVID-19 dial system — and may even be forced to implement stay-at-home orders, Eric France, CDPHE’s chief medical officer, said at a news briefing Nov. 4.
The question for counties to consider, France said, will be, “What can we do, all the way up to but not crossing over into stay-at-home?” That could include curfews, he said, similar to the one Pueblo recently implemented after a sharp rise in new cases and the test positivity rate.
Colorado added an average of 2,141 cases of COVID-19 each day of the week ending Nov. 2, according to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
As of Nov. 3, 814 people in Colorado were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 and 111 people with possible COVID-19 were hospitalized. That’s more people hospitalized with confirmed cases than at any point since April.
Counties that added more than 350 cases per 10,000 residents over two weeks — a metric associated with the Stay at Home level of the dial system — include Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Broomfield, Weld, Morgan, Washington, Summit, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Kit Carson, El Paso, Pueblo, Crowley, Otero, Prowers, Alamosa and Mesa counties.
However, CDPHE has not moved any counties into the Stay at Home level of the dial since implementing the system in September. Denver, Adams and Logan counties were recently moved into Safer at Home: Level 3, the level just short of Stay at Home.
“The expectation is that these leaders in these counties in Level 3 will do as much as they possibly can to avoid staying at home, and may very well go beyond the requirements,” France said. “I think over the next days, we’ll hear about more counties being closer to the Stay at Home, further to the right on the dial, given the high rates of disease that we’re seeing.”
“We need to avoid travel that’s unnecessary,” he advised. “We need to work at home as much as possible. We need to stay inside if we’re vulnerable.”
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