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Denver Health as seen from the air.
Denver Health as seen from the air.
YouTube file photo

COVID-19 Death Numbers in Colorado Shift for the Worse

A week ago, Westword reported that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had reported no COVID-19 deaths during seven of the first nine days in August. But we also pointed out that "these stats could change, since reporting from some of Colorado's more remote counties can be delayed."

Unfortunately, this note proved all too true. Updated statistics from the CDPHE record no novel coronavirus fatalities since August 12. But those first nine days of the month were much more deadly than initially thought.

Here's the latest historical data from the CDPHE in major categories related to COVID-19, refreshed at 3:58 p.m. on August 16:

53,176 Cases
6,735 Hospitalized
63 Counties
631,008 People tested
542 Outbreaks
1,896 Deaths among cases
1,768 Deaths due to COVID-19

Case counts fell by nearly 42 percent from August 1 to August 15, though the 302 registered on August 15 was higher than the low point for the first half of the month, 264 on August 11. The August case countdown:

August 15 — 302
August 14 — 343
August 13 — 343
August 12 — 324
August 11 — 264
August 10 — 282
August 9 — 329
August 8 — 384
August 7 — 424
August 6 — 464
August 5 — 494
August 4 — 440
August 3 — 398
August 2 — 405
August 1 — 517

The developments regarding hospitalization data are upbeat: The 167 patients hospitalized on August 15, the most recent date for which figures are available, is the lowest total since 165 on July 6, and the overall trend is definitely descending:

August 15 — 167
August 14 — 170
August 13 — 172
August 12 — 184
August 11 — 184
August 10 — 185
August 9 — 207
August 8 — 212
August 7 — 201
August 6 — 203
August 5 — 203
August 4 — 202
August 3 — 209
August 2 — 221
August 1 — 218

Also encouraging is the positivity rate of 2.43 per 100,000 cases. Public-health officials consider anything under 5 to be manageable — and this is Colorado's best figure since the 2.40 on June 14.

Of course, the start of school in much of Colorado and incidents such as a Chaparral High School photo showing more than 100 seniors crowded together raise concerns that these gains could soon be lost.

Moreover, Coloradans are still dying from COVID-19, and in considerable numbers. Below, we've juxtaposed the CDPHE daily death tallies from August 16 with the original numbers from August 9 (in parentheses), to emphasize how many have changed for the worse:

August 12 — 1
August 11 — 2
August 10 — 2
August 9 — 4 (0 as of August 9)
August 8 — 2 (0 as of August 9)
August 7 — 4 (0 as of August 9)
August 6 — 5 (1 as of August 9)
August 5 — 4 (0 as of August 9)
August 4 — 7 (0 as of August 9)
August 3 — 6 (3 as of August 9)
August 2 — 2 (0 as of August 9)
August 1 — 2 (1 as of August 9)

No wonder Governor Jared Polis took action on Friday, August 15, when his office announced that he has "extended and amended an executive order requiring Coloradans to wear face coverings."

The order expires thirty days from August 14, and clarifies that "individuals performing life rites are exempt from the face covering mandate while a life rite is being performed." Such rites include wedding ceremonies, graduations, funeral services, baptisms, bris ceremonies and other religious rituals.

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