Coronavirus

Inside Colorado's Current Omicron Sh*t Show

The ambulance entrance at Denver Health.
The ambulance entrance at Denver Health. Google Maps
The latest update about COVID-19 from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provides an early look at the holiday impact of the Omicron variant, confirming Governor Jared Polis's mid-December prediction that it would become the dominant strain in the state. But while cases have ballooned in a stunning manner, new hospitalizations are not yet mirroring the increase.

Here are the COVID statistics in major categories as updated by the CDPHE after 4 p.m. January 3. They're juxtaposed with information from our previous COVID data roundup, which drew from December 13 figures.

954,499 cases (up 96,117 from December 13)
25,407 variants of concern (up 898 from December 13)
50,894 hospitalized (up 1,959 from December 13)
64 counties (unchanged from December 13)
10,293 deaths among cases (up 623 from December 13)
10,552 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 598 from December 13)
7,225 outbreaks (up 192 from December 13)

Four takeaways:

• The explosion of new COVID-19 cases is unprecedented. The 96,117 fresh infections since December 13 averages out to 32,039 per week. By comparison, the increase from December 6 to 13 was 14,531.

• New hospitalizations are up by 1,959 over that same three-week stretch. But the per-week average since December 13 breaks down to 653 — below the 986 over December 6-13.

• A similar pattern can be seen in the number of deaths due to COVID-19. The 598 counted since December 13 averages out to just under 200 per week — a tragic total, but below the 302 from December 6-13.

• COVID outbreaks have fallen, as well; the 192 between December 13 and January 3 represent an average of 64 per week, a bit below the 72 identified in the previous seven days. But most schools closed for winter break on December 17, and early reports suggest that an outbreaks increase will likely follow the resumption of classes.

Daily case counts for the most recent ten days for which figures are available show a staggering spike:
The most newly reported cases on a single day between December 3 and 12? December 6, with 2,818. However, the state health department counted far more than that each day between December 24 and January 2, with the 11,018 on December 31 absolutely shattering the previous record of 6,945 on November 12, 2020. Here's the rundown:

January 2 — 5,051 Cases
January 1 — 4,748 Cases
December 31 — 11,018 Cases
December 30 — 9,423 Cases
December 29 — 9,154 Cases
December 28 — 7,072 Cases
December 27 — 4,508 Cases
December 26 — 2,971 Cases
December 25 — 4,220 Cases
December 24 — 5,901 Cases

The Omicron variant is responsible for the vast majority of these cases, having almost entirely supplanted the Delta variant that took control over the summer. Omicron accounted for 91.18 percent of cases over the week of December 19, with Delta representing just 8.82 percent.

Meanwhile, the state's positivity rate hit 26.19 percent on January 3, more than quintuple the 5 percent that health experts see as the marker for whether enough testing is being done — which is definitely not the case, for a wide variety of reasons. Even so, there were 122 intensive-care unit beds open in Colorado as of January 3 — an improvement from the 99 available on December 13.

As for new hospital admissions, the seven-day average of 220 on January 3 is up from 130 on December 13. But the pace of this rise is significantly below that of new cases, and overall hospitalizations have actually decreased, from 1,334 on December 13 to 1,234 on January 3. This supports the theory that the Omicron variant tends to produce milder symptoms than did Delta.

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

January 3, 2022
257 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
220 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

January 2, 2022
61 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
217 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

January 1, 2022
69 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
214 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 31, 2021
344 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
220 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 30, 2021
306 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
188 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 29, 2021
272 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
171 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 28, 2021
233 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
157 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 27, 2021
237 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
140 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 26, 2021
35 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
118 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

December 25, 2021
110 Patients Admitted to the Hospital
118 Seven-Day Average Patients Admitted to the Hospital

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

January 3, 2022
1,234 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,167 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
67 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

January 2, 2022
1,193 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,116 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
77 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

January 1, 2022
1,211 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,136 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
75 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 31, 2021
1,193 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,125 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
68 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 30, 2021
1,166 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,103 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
63 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 29, 2021
1,162 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,088 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
74 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 28, 2021
1,140 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,057 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
83 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 27, 2021
1,083 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,018 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
65 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 26, 2021
1,063 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
997 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
66 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

December 25, 2021
1,055 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
992 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
63 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

Meanwhile, the CDPHE's vaccine data dashboard shows that the number of people the department considers fully immunized climbed by 75,745 from December 12 to January 2 — when 43,005 had reached that status over the week leading up to December 12. Furthermore, daily inoculations of the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (J&J) vaccines were lower on January 2 than on December 12, often by a lot:

3,815,377 people fully immunized in Colorado (up 75,745 from December 12)
4,232,857 people immunized with at least one dose (up 90,577 from December 12)
1,565 people vaccinated on January 2 with Pfizer vaccine (down 1,039 from December 12); 1,325 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported January 2 but administered on an earlier date (down 2,299 from December 12)
910 people immunized on January 2 with Moderna vaccine (down 401 from December 12); 1,114 immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported January 2 but administered on an earlier date (down 2,068 from December 12)
38 people vaccinated on January 2 with Janssen (J&J) vaccine (down 39 from December 12); 58 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported January 2 but administered on an earlier date (down 156 from December 12)

Of course, these examples of the Omicron effect are subject to change — just like everything else in the COVID-19 pandemic.
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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