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COVID-19 Variants in Colorado Up Nearly 50 Percent in a Week

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Dr. Rachel Herlihy.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Dr. Rachel Herlihy.
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A year after the first case of the novel coronavirus was identified in Colorado, there are signs that the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to wane in the state — but the latest statistics demonstrate that it's far too early to declare victory.

Most of the major metrics measured by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment were up over the past week, including cases, hospitalizations and outbreaks. Also on the rise are disease variants that are believed to spread faster than the original strain and can cause more severe effects: They're up by approximately 45 percent over a seven-day period.

Here are the fresh figures, updated after 4 p.m. on March 7. We've juxtaposed them with numbers from February 28, highlighted in our last COVID-19 roundup:

436,602 COVID-19 cases (up 8,299 from February 28)
190 variants of concern (up 90 from February 28)
88 variants under investigation (up 34 from February 28)
23,904  hospitalizations (up 428 from February 28)
64 counties (unchanged from February 28)
5,989 deaths among cases (up 38 from February 28)
5,995 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 121 from February 28)
3,977 outbreaks (up 90 from February 28)

Four major takeaways:

• The pace of newly registered COVID-19 cases had been steadily declining before February 28, when they leapt from 6,778 a week before to 7,689. This unfortunate trend is continuing, with the latest total landing at 8,299.
• Unlike case counts, hospitalization numbers went down on February 28, when they dropped to 307 from the previous week's 372. But the March 7 total of 428 tops both.
• Outbreaks, too, continue to ratchet upward — from 71 new entries on February 21 to 81 on February 28 to 90 on March 7.
• The most important figures — deaths attributed to COVID-19 — moved in the opposite direction, dipping from 155 for the week ending February 28 to 121 on March 7. But for what could be the first time since authorities started splitting casualties into two categories, total deaths due to COVID-19 (5,995) now exceed deaths among cases (5,989), suggesting that the virus has been the dominant cause of more passings than was previously believed.

Variants, which are included in the overall case count, are also grouped under two headings: variants of concern, which officials know can be fatal, and variants under investigation, whose lethality isn't as well understood right now. The former nearly doubled in a week, going from 100 to 190, and the latter climbed from 54 to 88.

Five of the ten days leading to the most recent stats saw daily counts for all new COVID-19 cases in excess of 1,000:

March 6, 2021 — 759 Cases
March 5, 2021 — 868 Cases
March 4, 2021 — 1,114 Cases
March 3, 2021 — 1,246 Cases
March 2, 2021 — 1,095 Cases
March 1, 2021 — 768 Cases
February 28, 2021 — 644 Cases
February 27, 2021 — 833 Cases
February 26, 2021 — 1,029 Cases
February 25, 2021 — 1,261 Cases

At least 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," continues to drop; the 3.13 percent on March 7 is slightly lower than the 3.27 percent registered a week before. And while the previous week's outpatient syndromic COVID-19 visits rose from 3.89 on February 28 to 3.92 on March 7, the gain was extremely slight.

Despite overall hospitalizations going up, the number of people currently at a medical facility for COVID-19 treatment is actually down over the past ten days, compared to the week ending on February 28. But daily admissions remain in the same range as before. Here are those stats:

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

March 7, 2021

353 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
306 (87 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
47 (13 percent) Persons Under Investigation

March 6, 2021

326 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
288 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
38 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

March 5, 2021

356 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
311 (87 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
45 (13 percent) Persons Under Investigation

March 4, 2021

355 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
314 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
41 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

March 3, 2021

389 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
341 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
48 (12%) Persons Under Investigation

March 2, 2021

395 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
355 (90 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
40 (10 percent) Persons Under Investigation

March 1, 2021

427 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
369 (86 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
58 (14 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 28, 2021

404 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
358 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
46 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 27, 2021

393 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
349 (89 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
44 (11 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 26, 2021

409 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
358 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
51 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

March 7, 2021
55 patients admitted to the hospital
48 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 6, 2021
47 patients admitted to the hospital
46 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 5, 2021
55 patients admitted to the hospital
45 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 4, 2021
49 patients admitted to the hospital
43 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 3, 2021
35 patients admitted to the hospital
45 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 2, 2021
37 patients admitted to the hospital
48 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

March 1, 2021
60 patients admitted to the hospital
49 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 28, 2021
42 patients admitted to the hospital
48 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 27, 2021
34 patients admitted to the hospital
51 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

February 26, 2021
45 patients admitted to the hospital
54 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

Another sign that the pandemic isn't over yet: Governor Jared Polis has extended the mask mandate for another thirty days.

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