Coronavirus

Colorado COVID-19 Variants Under Investigation Double in Days

A bird's-eye view of Denver Health.
A bird's-eye view of Denver Health. YouTube file photo
Even after Governor Jared Polis's declaration last week that the state of emergency enacted over COVID-19 was officially over, the disease continues to spread and mutate statewide. According to new data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, variants under investigation have more than doubled over the past six days.

While the potential dangers of variants in this category are unknown, the fact that so many of them are popping up more than a year into the pandemic suggests that COVID-19 may have more unpleasant surprises in store for Coloradans.

Here are the most recent COVID-19 numbers from the CDPHE, refreshed after 4 p.m. on July 11 and juxtaposed with information from July 5, highlighted in our last roundup. (Note that because of the Fourth of July weekend, which extended through July 5, the span between reports this round is six days rather than the eight days in that earlier post.)

562,763 cases (up 3,059 from July 5)
15,680 variants of concern (up 591 from July 5)
2,518 variants under investigation (up 1,617 from July 5)
32,093 hospitalizations (up 255 from July 5)
64 counties (unchanged from July 5)
6,853 deaths among cases (up 36 from July 5)
7,070 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 42 from July 5)
5,529 outbreaks (up 25 from July 5)


Four major takeaways:

• New hospitalizations are mostly holding steady. They rose 293 during the eight days prior to July 5 and 255 in the six days leading up to July 11.

• The number of deaths from COVID-19 dipped, but only slightly. The 42 deaths in the six days before July 11 averages to 7 per day; the 57 in the eight days before July 5 averages to 7.125 per day.

• The pace of new COVID-19 cases has quickened, with 3,059 in the six days before July 11, compared with 2,929 in the eight days before July 5.

• Variants of concern — including the more transmissible and dangerous Delta variant, which was tied to 71.43 percent of new cases for the week of June 27, the most recent data available — rose by just 591 in the six days before July 11, as compared to 1,776 in the eight days before July 5. But variants under investigation, defined by the CDPHE as "variants with different characteristics of the original virus, but not yet considered a variant of concern," zoomed from 901 new cases on July 5 (up just 38 over the previous eight days) to 2,518 on July 11, up a jolting 1,617.

Here are the new COVID-19 case totals for the past ten days. Four of those days saw reports of more than 400 new cases, up from three over the previous ten-day span.

July 10 — 281 Cases
July 9 — 419 Cases
July 8 — 444 Cases
July 7 — 434 Cases
July 6 — 358 Cases
July 5 — 208 Cases
July 4 — 176 Cases
July 3 — 296 Cases
July 2 — 391 Cases
July 1 — 462 Cases

Some good news: The state's positivity rate, which climbed to 3.68 percent on July 5, slid back to 2.71 percent on July 11 — an indication that more testing has taken place since the holiday weekend. But an average of over 30 people a day were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 over the ten days leading to July 11, and overall hospitalization numbers stubbornly remained above 300 each day over that same span. Here's the rundown.

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

July 11, 2021
15 patients admitted to the hospital
32 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 10, 2021
8 patients admitted to the hospital
31 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 9, 2021
36 patients admitted to the hospital
32 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 8, 2021
45 patients admitted to the hospital
32 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 7, 2021
40 patients admitted to the hospital
34 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 6, 2021
47 patients admitted to the hospital
36 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 5, 2021
35 patients admitted to the hospital
36 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 4, 2021
4 patients admitted to the hospital
37 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 3, 2021
16 patients admitted to the hospital
39 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

July 2, 2021
39 patients admitted to the hospital
39 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

July 11, 2021
315 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
275 (87 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
40 (13 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 10, 2021
315 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
271 (86 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
44 (14 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 9, 2021
321 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
282 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
39 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 8, 2021
350 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
284 (81 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
66 (19 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 7, 2021
342 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
285 (83 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
57 (17 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 6, 2021
330 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
284 (86 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
46 (14 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 5, 2021
336 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
281 (84 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
55 (16 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 4, 2021
330 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
271 (82 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
59 (18 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 3, 2021
327 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
276 (84 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
51 (16 percent) Persons Under Investigation

July 2, 2021
318 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
269 (85 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
49 (15 percent) Persons Under Investigation

Innoculations continue to move slowly. According to the state's vaccine data dashboard, the number of people in the state who are fully immunized climbed by just 29,817 over the six days between July 4 and July 10; the increase in the eight days between June 26 and July 4 was 46,921. The number of new, first-dose vaccinations is also lower: 23,863 in the six days between July 4 and July 10, compared with 34,360 in the eight days between June 26 and July 4.

Here are the stats related to specific vaccines:

3,004.531 people fully immunized (up 29,817 from July 4)
3,276,560 people immunized with one dose (up 23,863 from July 4)
2,132 people vaccinated on July 10 with Pfizer vaccine (up 1,699 from July 4); 3,028 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported July 10 but administered on an earlier date (up 906 from July 4)
675 people immunized on July 10 with Moderna vaccine (up 445 from July 4); 1,187 immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported July 10 but administered on an earlier date (down 512 from July 4)
82 people vaccinated on July 10 with Janssen vaccine (up 58 from July 4); 179 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported July 10 but administered on an earlier date (down 183 from July 4)

Will inoculations cover variants under investigation? And how fast will those cases increase among people who have not been inoculated? Given the unknowns, public officials aren't yet at the point where they're breathing easy about COVID-19.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts