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Few masks were seen among those attracted to Carlos Barkley's Mexican rodeo and concert on July 26 in Weld County.
Few masks were seen among those attracted to Carlos Barkley's Mexican rodeo and concert on July 26 in Weld County.

COVID-19: Cases Quadruple in Six Weeks Amid New Event Concerns

According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, COVID-19 cases in the state have more than quadrupled in less than six weeks. Meanwhile, a rodeo and concert in Weld County on Sunday, July 26, at which mask use and social distancing were rare commodities, highlighted continuing concerns about large events and the conflicts between Governor Jared Polis and local officials with differing views about balancing safety and personal freedom.

Here's the latest big-picture data about the novel coronavirus in Colorado, updated at 3:58 p.m. on July 26:

44,336 Cases
6,268 Hospitalized
63 Counties
494,626 People tested
457 Outbreaks
1,794 Deaths among cases
1,661 Deaths due to COVID-19

Last month, the number of new COVID-19 cases was falling steadily. The June 15 total of 128 positives reported that day was the lowest since 120 on March 20, during the early days of the pandemic. But since then, the figures have been trending higher, as seen in stats from the most recent ten-day period available.

July 25 — 618
July 24 — 628
July 23 — 601
July 22 — 573
July 21 — 526
July 20 — 446
July 19 — 436
July 18 — 486
July 17 — 560
July 16 — 524

The peak date for new COVID-19 cases in Colorado was April 25, with 725 reported in a single day. But if case numbers continue to rise, that record could be in jeopardy soon.

In better news, daily deaths are decreasing. The high for passings attributed to coronavirus was 37 deaths on April 9, April 13 and April 22, but over the most recent ten days for which the CDPHE has shared information, single digits have predominated:

July 23 — 1
July 22 — 1
July 21 — 1
July 20 — 5
July 19 — 2
July 18 — 4
July 17 — 3
July 16 — 2
July 15 — 6
July 14 — 5

The news regarding hospital data isn't as good. On June 26, only 127 people testing positive were being treated at medical facilities in the state — the lowest number since 116 on March 24. Each of the past ten days have seen more than twice that many COVID-19 patients hospitalized, though there are some signs of plateauing.

July 26 — 241
July 25 — 246
July 24 — 247
July 23 — 237
July 22 — 247
July 21 — 248
July 20 — 275
July 19 — 273
July 18 — 268
July 17 — 273

The single day with the most hospitalizations in Colorado was April 14, when 888 people were under care for the virus. As for the 241 counted on the July 26, they may not be the only COVID-19 patients hospitalized, since only 59 percent of Colorado's medical centers reported data on that date — way down from the previous six days, during which between 83 percent and 90 percent of such facilities took part.

Meanwhile, the CDPHE was forced into action over the weekend as a result of Carlos Barkley's Mexican rodeo and concert, planned for a property in the Weld County community of Hudson. By around 4 p.m. on July 26, thousands of people were reportedly heading to the site, which was not permitted for an event of that size. But while Weld County Sheriff's Office deputies were monitoring the scene, they took no action to shut down the proceedings, in part because of a recent declaration by county commissioners that they wouldn't enforce Governor Polis's statewide mask requirement. The reason: The mandate was an executive order, not a law passed by the state legislature, which won't be back in session for months.

As a result, the ball wound up in the court of the CDPHE, which issued this statement: "We rely on event organizers to follow state law, and we rely on local officials to help with enforcement. If local authorities aren’t enforcing local or state orders, the state can issue a cease and desist order. ... Mass gatherings, especially without physical distancing or mask wearing, are particularly irresponsible."

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