Colorado COVID Omicron Deaths Rise February Update | Westword
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If Omicron Is So Weak, Why Are So Many Coloradans Still Dying From It?

Deaths from the disease rose week over week.
Outside Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital.
Outside Boulder Community Health Foothills Hospital. Google Maps
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The latest COVID-19 numbers from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show improving statistics in major metrics as the enormous surge of cases and hospitalizations related to the Omicron variant continues to decline across the state. But there's one notable, and tragic, exception: new deaths because of the disease, a figure that actually rose over the past week.

Since the CDPHE considers deaths to be a lagging statistic, this increase may be something of an anomaly. But it's also a reminder that Omicron, although considered weak compared to the Delta variant that preceded it, remains deadly. And there are other warning signs, including a plateauing of vaccinations and a growing number of hospitalizations among people who've been immunized.

Here are the COVID statistics in major categories, as updated by the CDPHE after 4 p.m. February 14. They're juxtaposed with information from our previous COVID data roundup, which drew from February 7 figures:

1,293,094 cases (up 16,116 from February 7)
27,269 variants of concern (up 497 from February 7)
64 counties (unchanged from February 7)
58,835 hospitalizations (up 858 from February 7)
11,634 deaths among cases (up 230 from February 7)
12,112 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 304 from February 7)
8,228 outbreaks (up 85 from February 7)

Four takeaways:

• The number of new COVID cases in Colorado slid from 23,936 for the week ending February 7 to 16,116 the week ending February 14. The official count excludes a huge percentage of overall infections that go unreported, as the CDPHE admits, but that's still a substantial improvement.

• New hospitalizations went down, too, but not by as much — 1,094 on February 7, 858 on February 14.

• Outbreaks are also slowing. The 85 new citations on February 14 are an improvement over the 132 the previous week.

• The number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 went from 254 on February 7 to 304 on February 14. The latter sum breaks down to an average of more than 43 deaths per day.

New daily COVID case counts over the prior ten days are a very different story. On February 13, just 495 were officially reported — a major change from the pandemic peak of 19,467 on January 6, a mere five weeks earlier. The progress is documented below:

February 13 — 495 Cases
February 12 — 746 Cases
February 11 — 1,595 Cases
February 10 — 2,007 Cases
February 9 — 2,481 Cases
February 8 — 2,974 Cases
February 7 — 2,088 Cases
February 6 — 1,755 Cases
February 5 — 2,707 Cases
February 4 — 3,315 Cases

The Omicron strain remains dominant in Colorado, accounting for 98.43 percent of all samples sequenced by the state health department during the week of January 23, the most recent for which information is available. However, cases of the Delta variant have been inching up; they represented just .92 percent of cases on January 16, but 1.57 percent on January 23.

Better news: The state's positivity rate keeps dropping, going from 10.91 percent on February 7 to 9.12 percent on February 14. And while there are fewer ICU beds available statewide (189 on February 14, compared to 198 on February 7), the situation is far better than when the state experienced shortages in late 2021.

Meanwhile, new hospital admissions for COVID-19 have receded, from a seven-day average of 114 on February 7 to just 66 a week later, and the overall number of patients hospitalized for the disease has sunk into the triple digits again. Here's the rundown:

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

February 14, 2022
17 patients admitted to the hospital
66 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 13, 2022
43 patients admitted to the hospital
77 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 12, 2022
69 patients admitted to the hospital
84 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 11, 2022
58 patients admitted to the hospital
86 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 10, 2022
97 patients admitted to the hospital
94 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 9, 2022
111 patients admitted to the hospital
104 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 8, 2022
66 patients admitted to the hospital
114 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 7, 2022
92 patients admitted to the hospital
127 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 6, 2022
94 patients admitted to the hospital
130 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

February 5, 2022
87 patients admitted to the hospital
130 seven-day average patients admitted to the hospital

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

February 14, 2022
766 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
705 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
61 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 13, 2022
792 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
743 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
49 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 12, 2022
785 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
736 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
49 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 11, 2022
812 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
773 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
39 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 10, 2022
862 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
805 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
57 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 9, 2022
920 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
861 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
59 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 8, 2022
1,012 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
945 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
67 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 7, 2022
1,030 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
979 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
51 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 6, 2022
1,084 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,037 (96 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
47 (4 percent) Persons Under Investigation

February 5, 2022
1,098 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,044 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
54 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

The stats on the CDPHE's vaccine data dashboard are less impressive. The number of people fully immunized against COVID-19 in the state rose by less than a quarter of the 60,473 bump scored on January 31. The latest stats:

3,940,409 people fully immunized in Colorado (up 12,698 from February 6)
4,400,248 people immunized with at least one dose (up 14,451 from February 6)
124 people vaccinated on February 13 with Pfizer vaccine (down 163 from February 6); 251 immunizations with Pfizer vaccine reported February 13 but administered on an earlier date (down 610 from February 6)
221 people immunized on February 13 with Moderna vaccine (down 217 from February 6); 645 immunizations with Moderna vaccine reported February 13 but administered on an earlier date (down 426 from February 6)
22 people vaccinated on February 13 with Janssen (J&J) vaccine (down 6 from February 6); 28 immunizations with Janssen vaccine reported February 13 but administered on an earlier date (up 1 from February 6)

Right now, 65 percent of those currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado are unvaccinated; compare that to the 94.5 percent figure during the three-month period between April 1 and June 30, 2021, and the 79 percent from October. The CDPHE predicted that as more people were vaccinated, the percentage of those hospitalized despite getting their shots would climb. But questions about breakthrough cases and just how super so-called super-immunity is remain relevant even as the overall situation improves.
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