Coronavirus

Colorado COVID Stats Officials Are and Aren't Sharing Anymore

An angle on Denver Health.
An angle on Denver Health. Google Maps
Since early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment  has shared an impressive number of metrics related to the disease. Now the agency has started to slowly ratchet down available data — by, among other things, replacing daily updates on new hospital admissions with a weekly summary — as the perceived risks from the virus lessen. But the latest statistics show unexpected increases in certain categories, including cases and deaths.

The CDPHE is now offering weekly updates on the number of people hospitalized for COVID in Colorado on Wednesdays, following what it termed "systems upgrades" on March 17 and 18. Along the way, though, a number of glitches occurred. The department issued a release regarding 1,200 deaths among cases that were briefly added to the overall count, then subsequently removed. But there was no mention of an anomaly discovered by Westword during that span: A graphic page that usually shows how many unvaccinated people are hospitalized in the state (the current count stands at 67 percent) was replaced by the word "Null" and items saying that "0" unvaccinated or vaccinated residents were being treated for the disease.

Wouldn't that have been nice?

Here are the current COVID numbers in major categories, as updated by the CDPHE after 4 p.m. March 23, along with information from our previous COVID data roundup, which drew from March 14 statistics. The nine-day gap, as opposed to a week-to-week comparison, was necessitated by the switch for updates about current hospitalizations to Wednesdays:

1,337,108 cases (up 10,717 from March 14)
28,093 variants of concern (unchanged from March 14)
64 counties (unchanged from March 14)
61,221 hospitalizations (up 249 from March 14)
11,942 deaths among cases (up 82 from March 14)
12,930 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 223 from March 14)
8,493 outbreaks (up 47 from March 14)

Four takeaways:

• The week-over-week case increase on March 14 stood at 5,747. The 10,717 new case reports for the nine days after that were nearly double the previous amount despite just two extra days.

• New hospitalizations tumbled from 753 for the week ending March 14 to 249 for the next nine days.

• New outbreaks flagged, too, but not by as much; 42 over the seven days leading to March 14, as opposed to 47 for the next nine days.

• Unfortunately, COVID-related fatalities aren't following suit. There were 34 new deaths among cases from March 7 to 14, but 82 from March 14 to 23;  66 deaths were attributed to COVID-19 from March 7 to 14, and 223 from March 14 to 23.

Daily reports of COVID cases are also up, even though they remain far below the ferocious peaks of January, at the height of the Omicron wave. During the ten days between March 4 and March 13, the highest daily case count was 358 on March 4, and the lowest was just 10 on March 12. But the smallest number of cases from March 13 to March 22 was 76 on the first day of that span, and the top mark was 467 on March 18. Here's the rundown:

March 22 — 239 Cases
March 21 — 254 Cases
March 20 — 144 Cases
March 19 — 274 Cases
March 18 — 467 Cases
March 17 — 409 Cases
March 16 — 386 Cases
March 15 — 433 Cases
March 14 — 393 Cases
March 13 — 76 Cases

Omicron remains dominant in the state; 100 percent of the samples sequenced by the CDPHE during the week of March 6, the most recent for which stats are available, were linked to that variant. Meanwhile, the state's positivity rate was just 2.66 percent, well below the 5 percent threshold that public-health officials consider a point of concern.

The weekly estimate for patients currently hospitalized for COVID stands at 135 for the week of March 22. That's about 100 lower than during the ten days between March 5 and March 14, but it also represents an accounting change. The previous totals included confirmed cases plus those "under investigation," but the new sum only counts confirmed cases.

The CDPHE is still releasing the number of new daily hospital admissions, which are roughly in the same range as earlier this month. The details:

New Hospital Admissions by Week of Admission

March 22, 2022
23 patients admitted to the hospital
22 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 21, 2022
18 patients admitted to the hospital
22 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 20, 2022
15 patients admitted to the hospital
22 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 19, 2022
34 patients admitted to the hospital
22 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 18, 2022
19 patients admitted to the hospital
21 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 17, 2022
18 patients admitted to the hospital
23 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 16, 2022
26 patients admitted to the hospital
26 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 15, 2022
22 patients admitted to the hospital
27 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 14, 2022
18 patients admitted to the hospital
29 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

March 13, 2022
15 patients admitted to the hospital
31 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

Inoculations documented on the CDPHE's vaccine data dashboard are basically stuck. The number of people fully immunized in Colorado rose by 7,599 from March 13 to March 22, close to the same rate as the 6,689 person bump from March 6 to March 13. The latest digits:

3,981,834 people fully immunized in Colorado (up 7,599 from March 13)
4,438,536 people immunized with at least one dose (up 6,822 from March 13)
120 people vaccinated on March 22 with Pfizer vaccine (up 82 from March 13); 1,885 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported March 22 but administered on an earlier date (up 1,828 from March 13)
593 people immunized on March 22 with Moderna vaccine (up 488 from March 13); 762 immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported March 22 but administered on an earlier date (up 520 from March 13)
20 people vaccinated on March 22 with Janssen (J&J) vaccine (up 12 from March 13); 68 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported March 22 but administered on an earlier date (up 62 from March 13)

If COVID cases and deaths keep going up, even modestly, the CDPHE will have to keep tracking them, no matter how many "systems upgrades" it would like to make in the future.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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