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Colorado COVID-19 Variant Cases Near Triple Digits

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A shadow hovers over the current, largely positive COVID-19 data for the State of Colorado: The number of cases involving variants of the coronavirus listed as "of concern" or "under investigation" is rising fast, now closing in on 100.

Here are the most recent statistics, updated by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at 4:30 p.m. on February 14; we've juxtaposed them with numbers from February 7, highlighted in our last roundup about the novel coronavirus.

413,836 cases (up 8,547 from February 7)
67 variants of concern (up 30 from February 7)
23 variants under investigation (up 7 from February 7)
22,797 hospitalized (up 491 from February 7)
64 counties (unchanged since February 7)
5,824 deaths among cases (up 93 from February 7)
5,581 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 127 from February 7)
3,735 outbreaks (up 108 from February 7)

Four major takeaways from the latest stats:

• The pace of newly registered COVID-19 cases continues to slow gradually, if not dramatically, going from 9,110 for the week ending February 7 to 8,547 on February 14.

• The same can't be said for new hospitalizations. The number fell by 123 between January 31, when 526 fresh admissions were registered, and the 473 admissions registered on February 7. A week later, the total actually increased by a modest but still noteworthy 18.

• The death figures contain much better news: just 127 in the February 14 stats. In contrast, February 7 showed a spike for total casualties directly attributable to COVID-19 — a jump of 526 fatalities from January 31. In the past, some swings have been the result of a reporting lag at the county level, and the current results suggest that's what happened this time around, too.

• The 108 new outbreaks is 17 lower than on February 7 — a good sign, but one indicating that site-based viral transmission remains a significant issue.

As for variants, those defined as "of concern" have been ascending steadily, from 12 on January 31 to 37 on February 7 to 67 on the February 14. That's clearly not a good thing, considering this CDPHE footnote about them: "A variant...may spread easier, cause more severe disease, reduce the effectiveness of treatments or vaccine, or is harder to detect using current tests." Meanwhile, the same phenomenon is occurring with variants "under investigation," defined as "variants with different characteristics of the original virus, but not yet considered a variant of concern." There have now been 23 such cases identified.

And the CDPHE further contextualizes the situation with this acknowledgment: "The variant cases...are based on a small sampling of positive COVID-19 tests and do not represent the total number of variant cases that may be circulating in Colorado."

Fortunately, the overall new daily cases of the disease as reported to the state appear to be descending — though the extreme cold temperatures over the weekend may have suppressed some recent figures. Here are aggregates for the past ten-day period:

February 13, 2021 — 713 Cases
February 12, 2021 — 990 Cases
February 11, 2021 — 1,293 Cases
February 10, 2021 — 1,469 Cases
February 9, 2021 — 1,153 Cases
February 8, 2021 — 805 Cases
February 7, 2021 — 822 Cases
February 6, 2021 — 1,077 Cases
February 5, 2021 — 1,314 Cases
February 4, 2021 — 1,867 Cases

More good news: The positivity rate, shorthanded by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins as "the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, or: (positive tests)/(total tests) x 100 percent," sits at 3.57 percent, well below the 5 percent identified as an important threshold by public-health officials, and a smidgen lower than the seven-day average of 3.75 percent. And the previous week outpatient syndromic COVID-19 visits of 4.05 percent is much lower than during peaks late last year.

Despite the small rate hike in people hospitalized for COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, daily data in this area keeps getting better — under 500 for each of the past three days. Likewise, new admissions haven't gone over 100 during any of the past ten days and were just 30 yesterday, February 14. Here are the details:

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

February 14, 2021
485 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
428 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
57 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 13, 2021
481 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
432 (90 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
49 (10 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 12, 2021
470 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
430 (91 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
40 (9 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 11, 2021
507 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
456 (90 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
51 (10 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 10, 2021
534 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
472 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
62 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 9, 2021
538 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
464 (86 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
74 (14 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 8, 2021
535 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
474 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
61 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 7, 2021
527 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
467 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
60 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 6, 2021
538 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
479 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
59 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 5, 2021
564 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
502 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
62 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

February 14, 2021
30 patients admitted to the hospital
66 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 13, 2021
81 patients admitted to the hospital
64 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 12, 2021
25 patients admitted to the hospital
62 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 11, 2021
63 patients admitted to the hospital
67 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 10, 2021
90 patients admitted to the hospital
70 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 9, 2021
84 patients admitted to the hospital
69 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 8, 2021
90 patients admitted to the hospital
67 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 7, 2021
13 patients admitted to the hospital
66 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 6, 2021
67 patients admitted to the hospital
74 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 5, 2021
64 patients admitted to the hospital
71 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

In general, the state seems to be holding its own against COVID-19. But the variants are a factor whose impact is tough to calculate right now.

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