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COVID-19 Data Still Bad Before Possible Post-Thanksgiving Spike

A screen capture from a Visit Denver video touting the holiday season in the Mile High City.
A screen capture from a Visit Denver video touting the holiday season in the Mile High City.
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The latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment related to COVID-19 isn't quite as alarming as the information released just before Thanksgiving. Some numbers have stabilized or even dipped slightly, while the rise of others isn't quite as precipitous as in recent weeks, probably owing to new restrictions enacted in Level Red counties such as Denver. But the declines aren't nearly large enough to provide a cushion in the event of a post-holiday spike.

Here are the numbers in major categories, as updated by the CDPHE on the evening of November 29; they're juxtaposed with figures from our November 22 roundup.

228,772 cases (up 30,172 from November 22)
13,428 hospitalized (up 944 from November 22)
64 counties (unchanged from November 22)
3,003 deaths among cases (up 197 from November 22)
2,521 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 166 from November 22)
2,136 outbreaks (up 228 from November 22)

Four major takeaways:

• The increase in cases is down from the 35,183 bump during the week of November 22.
• So, too, is the pace in hospitalizations, which rose by 1,360 from November 15 to November 22.
• Deaths among cases also slipped from 260 on November 22 to the current 197. But deaths caused directly by COVID-19 are up, going from 121 on November 22 to 166 on November 29.
• The outbreaks upswing of 228 is lower than the 258 recorded from November 15 to November 22. The reason, however, could turn out to be a reporting lag caused by Thanksgiving.

Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate, defined by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins as "the percentage of all coronavirus tests performed that are actually positive, or: (positive tests)/(total tests) x 100 percent," also slid, from 12.01 percent on November 22 to 11.02 percent on November 29. Too bad there are indications that the figures are heading in the wrong direction: The rate as of November 29 was 12.83 percent, representing a day-over-day surge of 2.38 percent. Moreover, the previous week's outpatient syndromic COVID-19 visits stand at 20.85 percent, a notch higher than the 20.07 percent recorded a week earlier.

Daily case reports over the previous ten days range from the mid-3,000s to the mid-5,000s, just as they did during the ten-day span prior to November 22 (not including the November 12 spike of 6,583):

November 28 — 3,423
November 27 — 4,177
November 26 — 3,940
November 25 — 5,554
November 24 — 3,608
November 23 — 3,614
November 22 — 3,888
November 21 — 3,927
November 20 — 5,615
November 19 — 5,674

Unfortunately, the modest improvements represented by case data aren't matched by total hospitalizations — a lagging statistic, the CDPHE stresses. The peak of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations in numbers released November 22 was just over 1,700; now they top out at around 1,850. Yet new admissions are slightly lower; the seven-day average on November 29 stood at 225, compared to 238 on November 22.

Here are those stats over the past ten days:

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

November 29, 2020
1,847 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,749 (95 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
98 (5 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 28, 2020
1,852 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,725 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
127 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 27, 2020
1,797 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,682 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
115 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 26, 2020
1,777 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,665 (94 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
112 (6 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 25, 2020
1,794 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,652 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
142 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 24, 2020
1,739 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,613 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
126 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 23, 2020
1,711 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,597 (93 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
114 (7 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 22, 2020
1,670 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,539 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
131 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 21, 2020
1,703 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,563 (92 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
140 (8 percent) Persons Under Investigation

November 20, 2020
1,723 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
1,564 (91 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
159 (9 percent) Persons Under Investigation

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

November 29, 2020
216 patients admitted to the hospital
225 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 28, 2020
240 patients admitted to the hospital
220 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 27, 2020
192 patients admitted to the hospital
218 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 26, 2020
167 patients admitted to the hospital
236 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 25, 2020
241 patients admitted to the hospital
254 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 24, 2020
258 patients admitted to the hospital
258 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 23, 2020
259 patients admitted to the hospital
262 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 22, 2020
184 patients admitted to the hospital
256 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 21, 2020
227 patients admitted to the hospital
265 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

November 20, 2020
316 patients admitted to the hospital
266 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

That the numbers have plateaued is certainly better than if they'd gotten worse.  But significant spikes occurred after both the Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays — and Thanksgiving traditionally involves much more travel and inter-generational mingling. We should know more about the potential repercussions of these differences over the next week or two.

By which time we'll be right on the cusp of Christmas.

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