Coronavirus

COVID in Colorado: Available ICU Beds Hit New Low

A pedestrian bridge at Denver's Rose Medical Center.
A pedestrian bridge at Denver's Rose Medical Center. Google Maps
On November 22, as three metro-area counties approved new mask orders related to COVID-19 (the City of Denver is expected to make a similar announcement later this morning), Colorado tied a pandemic record for the fewest available intensive-care-unit beds.

Out of a total of 1,508 ICU beds, 1,427 were filled — leaving just 81 available across the entire state. That's the same number of beds that were available on November 18, when the mark was originally set — and many other statistics related to the disease are just as concerning.

Here are the most recent figures from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in major categories, updated after 4 p.m. on November 22; they're juxtaposed with our previous COVID-19 survey, which tracked information from November 15.

811,813 cases (up 22,383 from November 15)
22,922 variants of concern (up 651 from November 15)
64 counties (unchanged from November 15)
45,915 hospitalized (up 1,052 from November 15)
8,951 deaths among cases (up 250 from November 15)
9,178 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 235 from November 15)
6,812 outbreaks (up 125 from November 15)


Four takeaways:

• New cases of COVID-19 continue to trend higher. The 22,383 total for the week ending November 22 is up from 20,784 on November 15.

• During the same span, hospitalizations fell modestly, from 1,176 on November 15 to 1,052 on November 22. But that still translates to an average of more than 150 per day.

• Fresh COVID outbreaks are still rising: 125 over the seven days leading up to November 22, as compared to 121 on November 15.


• The same is true for deaths among those infected with COVID-19 (202 on November 15, 250 on November 22) and individuals for whom the virus led directly to their passing (224 on November 15, 235 on November 22).

Daily case counts over the past ten days varied widely, with fewer than 1,400 on November 21 but more than 3,000 on four other occasions. Here's the rundown:

November 21 — 1,368 Cases
November 20 — 1,915 Cases
November 19 — 2,617 Cases
November 18 — 3,099 Cases
November 17 — 3,864 Cases
November 16 — 3,963 Cases
November 15 — 2,794 Cases
November 14 — 1,812 Cases
November 13 — 2,804 Cases
November 12 — 3,153 Cases

At least the state's positivity rate is down, dipping from a stunning 13.44 percent on November 15 to 8.92 percent on November 22. But that's still well above the 5 percent level that public-health officials see as an indication of subpar testing and rapid community spread.

As for new hospital admissions, the high point in recent days was 272 on November 17 — down from the 300 on November 8. But the total of those hospitalized with COVID-19 helps explain why the ICU bed situation is nearing crisis stage. The 1,652 patients receiving care for the virus on November 22 was the highest number since 1,675 on December 11, 2020. Here are the details:

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

November 22, 2021
219 patients admitted to the hospital
177 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 21, 2021
45 patients admitted to the hospital
166 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 20, 2021
85 patients admitted to the hospital
170 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 19, 2021
157 patients admitted to the hospital
177 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 18, 2021
192 patients admitted to the hospital
190 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 17, 2021
272 patients admitted to the hospital
199 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 16, 2021
268 patients admitted to the hospital
189 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 15, 2021
145 patients admitted to the hospital
191 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 14, 2021
70 patients admitted to the hospital
214 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

November 13, 2021
135 patients admitted to the hospital
215 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

November 22, 2021
1,652 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,565 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
87 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 21, 2021
1,592 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,519 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
73 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 20, 2021
1,586 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,514 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
72 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 19, 2021
1,574 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,518 (96 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
56 (4 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 18, 2021
1,590 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,535 (97 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
55 (3 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 17, 2021
1,606 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,526 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
80 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 16, 2021
1,556 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,470 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
86 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 15, 2021
1,503 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,431 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
72 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 14, 2021
1,532 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,460 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
72 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 13, 2021
1,534 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,460 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
74 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

The inoculations stats tracked on the CDPHE's vaccine data dashboard are mixed. The increase in fully immunized individuals slid from a 22,583-person bump on November 14 to 17,594 on November 21. But the number of individuals to have received at least one dose rose by 60,134 as of November 21, up from a 56,545 increase for the week ending November 14. More details:

3,623,970 people fully immunized in Colorado (up 17,594 from November 14)
4,030,693 people immunized with at least one dose (up 60,134 from November 14)
2,731 people vaccinated on November 21 with Pfizer vaccine (up 1,098 from November 14); 4,971 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported November 21 but administered on an earlier date (down 17,245 from November 14)
2,051 people immunized on November 21 with Moderna vaccine (up 460 from November 14); 4,881  immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported November 21 but administered on an earlier date (down 13,756 from November 14)
106 people vaccinated on November 21 with Janssen (J&J) vaccine (down 53 from November 14); 131 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported November 21 but administered on an earlier date (down 517 from November 14)

According to Governor Jared Polis, officials are working to add 500 new ICU beds to the state's health-care system. Given the scarcity of beds right now, that can't happen soon enough.
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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