COVID-19 Update: No Virus Deaths for Days in Colorado

The emergency entrance at Denver Health.
The emergency entrance at Denver Health. Google Maps
The COVID-19 trends in Colorado have been improving this month, and they look even better today than they did a week ago. Even as the total number of infections in the state surpassed 50,000, the daily caseload continues to ease down and hospitalizations remain generally stable.

There hasn't been a death officially attributed to the novel coronavirus since August 6, four days ago; the total for August so far is five, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Public Environment.

Here is the major-category COVID-19 data for Colorado, updated at 3 p.m. on August 9:
50,660 Cases
6,616 Hospitalized
63 Counties
588,547 People tested
513 Outbreaks
1,858 Deaths among cases
1,736 Deaths due to COVID-19
As for new daily cases, the total of 338 on August 8 marks a decline of more than 34 percent since the high point over the most recent ten-day period:
August 8 — 338
August 7 — 376
August 6 — 432
August 5 — 466
August 4 — 423
August 3 — 386
August 2 — 401
August 1 — 514
July 31 — 511
July 30 — 480
Another excellent sign: the positivity rate for cases, which had been hovering around 5 percent per 100,000 cases, a figure considered a cause for concern among health officials two weeks ago, is now at 2.84 percent. That percentage is approaching the lowest positivity number recorded in the state since the beginning of the pandemic more than five months ago: 2.31 percent on June 15.

— a lagging statistic, since it usually follows infection by as much as two weeks — hasn't seen a similar dive, however, and has actually edged up since August 7. But the numbers overall have held fairly steady from July 31 to August 9:
August 9 — 226
August 8 — 231
August 7 — 201
August 6 — 203
August 5 — 203
August 4 — 202
August 3 — 209
August 2 — 221
August 1 — 218
July 31 — 232
The greatest progress can be seen in the reduction of fatalities. According to the CDPHE, the highest daily tally, 37 deaths, was the count on each of three days: April 9, April 13 and April 22. In contrast, the highest number this month was three on August 3. These stats could change, since reporting from some of Colorado's more remote counties can be delayed. But at present, they represent hope.

Here are the last ten days on which a virus death was confirmed, a total of forty since July 25:
August 6 — 1
August 3 — 3
August 1 — 1
July 31 — 3
July 30 — 6
July 29 — 3
July 28 — 9
July 27 — 6
July 26 — 3
July 25 — 5
Celebrating these upswings is not without risks — and officials at the CDPHE have repeatedly warned about the danger of complacency regarding COVID-19, since the virus is still circulating throughout the state and many schools and colleges could open for on-site instruction in the coming weeks. If the infection rate increases as people again gather together, the current situation may come to be viewed as the calm before the storm.

In the meantime, the news has been so good that Governor Jared Polis, who'd reduced his COVID-19 news conferences from two a week to one during a previous downturn, only to return to the previous schedule, quietly skipped his second update last week. And his appearance on CNN with host Chris Cuomo on August 6 focused not on spiking COVID-19 rates, but on mail-in voting, which has been a success in this state.

On a similar subject, Polis's office announced that on August 8, he'd "amended and extended an Executive Order concerning limiting in-person contact for the 2020 elections and the Secretary of State’s operations due to the presence of COVID-19 in the State." The next day, Polis signed one order "extending relief to public utility customers to mitigate, respond to, and recover from the current economic disruption due to the presence of COVID-19 in Colorado" and another extending a previous edict "providing boards of county commissioners with broader discretion and greater flexibility to implement restrictions on open burning," pointing to another problem in Colorado: drought.

And today, August 10, Polis will be on hand at two community testing sites — the first at Aurora Sports Park, the second at the closed-for-the-season Water World in Adams County; Polis will be tested for COVID-19 at the latter. The gatherings, scheduled for 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., can be viewed live on the governor's Facebook page.
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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