Colorado’s COVID positivity, hospitalization rates drop, state officials say
A box of home COVID-19 tests are available for residents at Colorado College’s South Hall dorm, seen on Dec. 6, 2021. It’s one of the steps the Colorado Springs school has taken to help mitigate the spread of COVID on campus. (Mike Sweeney for Colorado Newsline)
Colorado has the eighth lowest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country based on a seven-day average, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and shared in a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 update on Thursday.
The state’s goal is a positivity rate of 5%, Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, said in the update. Colorado’s positivity rate is almost 11%, which is a drop from the peak of 29% a few weeks ago.
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“We continue to also see improvements in our hospitalization trends,” Herlihy said. There are 861 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state as of Wednesday, which is a decrease from the over 1,800 hospitalizations several weeks ago.
“When you put the delta wave and the omicron wave together, our hospitals have been under stress for a significant period of time,” Scott Bookman, COVID-19 incident commander, said in the update. “Our first responders, our health care workers on the front lines, have been taking care of an enormous amount of COVID patients for the last several months, and I do want to take a moment to acknowledge their exhaustion on the front lines.”
“What we’ve heard from many health care workers is an increasing level of verbal, and sometimes even physical, assaults against health care providers,” Bookman said. “I really do want to take this moment to ask all Coloradans to remember that we are in this together, our health care workers are heroes on the front line and we really do want to treat them with the civility and respect they deserve.”
Bookman encouraged Coloradans to continue wearing masks indoors.
“Regardless of what mandates may or may not exist, I wear my mask when I’m indoors,” Bookman said. “It protects me and it protects others.”
Coloradans who received a third, or booster, dose are 12 times less likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and 56 times less likely to die from COVID-19 than unvaccinated Coloradans, said Bookman, who encouraged all Coloradans to make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations.
“This virus is very unpredictable,” Bookman said. “Every time we think we know what is going to happen with it, it has changed on us, over the course of the last two years, but the modeling is pretty clear that we are likely to have a high level of immunity in our state over the next several months, barring any variant that comes up that has the ability to break through that.”
Coloradans can order COVID-19 tests through the state’s free, rapid at-home testing program, which mails two tests directly to residents.
“Colorado was the first in the nation to put together a program like this, and as of today, more than 2 million tests have been distributed through this program to Coloradans,” Bookman said.
Coloradans can sign up to have tests sent to them from Colorado’s COVID-19 website.
Colorado has distributed over 3.7 million masks through its free mask distribution program, according to a CDPHE statement Tuesday. The mask distribution program, which was announced by Gov. Jared Polis last month, has over 400 local distribution sites across the state. Coloradans can find distribution sites on Colorado’s COVID-19 website.
COVID-19 has killed more than 900,000 people in the United States, including almost 12,000 in Colorado.
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