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COVID-19 Colorado Case Spikes Have Never Been Higher

COVID-19 Colorado Case Spikes Have Never Been Higher
9News via YouTube

For months, Coloradans were able to boast of having some of the best COVID-19 statistics in the United States — relatively low case and hospitalization counts, as well as positivity numbers at the bottom of the scale. But that's no longer true. According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado's cases have never been higher, the positivity rate is skyrocketing, and hospitalization totals more than doubled in recent weeks.

Symbolic of the spread was the announcement yesterday, October 25, that Governor Jared Polis would self-quarantine after the revelation that Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, with whom he'd shared the podium at a pro-voting pep rally on October 15, had come down with the novel coronavirus. But that decision was reportedly reversed last night, after the Tri-County Health Department gave Polis and others at the event the all-clear.

A great many Coloradans haven't been as fortunate. Over the past seven days, nearly 10,000 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed — and those aren't the only figures on the rise. Here are the CDPHE numbers from 4 p.m. October 25, compared with the stats from a week earlier.

95,089 cases (up 9,787 from October 18)
8,622 hospitalized (up 395 from October 18)
64 counties (unchanged)
2,223 deaths among cases (up 47 from October 18)
2,076 deaths from COVID-19 (up 34 from October 18)
1,057 outbreaks (up 111 from October 18)

Some additional context for these findings:

• Cases have climbed by more than 33,000 since September 13, accounting for more than one-third of the overall total since the pandemic began.
• Nearly 1,400 new hospital admissions have been recorded since September 13.
• Between September 13 and this weekend, almost 200 Coloradans have died as a direct result of COVID-19.
• The 111 fresh outbreaks suggest that their pace hasn't appreciably slowed since the CDPHE reported another 114 on October 20, shattering the previous record.

Just as alarming is the positivity rate. The World Health Organization uses 5 percent per 100,000 people as a red line for localities, and Colorado had been in the 2-to-3 percent range since the pandemic's first wave. But on October 18, the state surpassed that level with a 5.27 percent rate, and it's continuing to go in the wrong direction. The positivity rate now stands at 7.54 percent, an increase of 1.15 percent from the previous reading. Even worse is the metric related to the previous week's outpatient syndromic COVID-19 visits: 14.50 percent per 100,000, a 2.88 percent jump.

The case count has seen the most serious spike. The daily case-count peak during the virus's first wave was 967 on April 23, while the second wave crested at 869 on July 27. On October 24, there were 1,580 new cases — which was ten fewer than the 1,590 recorded on October 23.

Here are the counts from the past ten days.

October 24 — 1,580
October 23 — 1,590
October 22 — 1,227
October 21 — 1,175
October 20 — 971
October 19 — 933
October 18 — 1,108
October 17 — 998
October 16 — 1,047
October 15 — 1,262

These results don't bode well for hospitalizations, a lagging statistic given the typical incubation time for the disease, which can vary from a few days to a week-plus depending upon the individual. From October 10 through October 18, the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 vacillated between 365 and 445 daily; now it's ranging from 428 to 599. And new hospital admissions have doubled, to 83 on October 25.

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Here are the details:

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

October 25, 2020
586 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
515 (88 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
71 (12 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 24, 2020
599 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
507 (85 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
92 (15 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 23, 2020
550 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
458 (83 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
92 (17 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 22, 2020
547 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
446 (82 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
101 (18 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 21, 2020
532 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
435 (82 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
97 (18 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 20, 2020
516 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
417 (81 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
99 (19 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 19, 2020
465 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
381 (82 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
84 (18 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 18, 2020
445 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
348 (78 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
97 (22 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 17, 2020
428 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
337 (79 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
91 (21 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 16, 2020
434 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
352 (81 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
82 (19 percent) Persons Under Investigation

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

October 25, 2020
73 patients admitted to the hospital
83 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 24, 2020
99 patients admitted to the hospital
82 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 23, 2020
81 patients admitted to the hospital
72 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 22, 2020
55 patients admitted to the hospital
72 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 21, 2020
86 patients admitted to the hospital
76 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 20, 2020
106 patients admitted to the hospital
75 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 19, 2020
84 patients admitted to the hospital
69 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 18, 2020
63 patients admitted to the hospital
63 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 17, 2020
27 patients admitted to the hospital
60 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 16, 2020
83 patients admitted to the hospital
59 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

During an October 20 chat with journalists, Polis noted that 417 people were then hospitalized for COVID-19, occupying a little under one in four of the 1,800 or so medical-center beds statewide. That amount seemed to suggest that there was considerable wiggle room for more cases, but Polis argued otherwise. After all, those 1,800 beds need to be used for people with every type of condition: cancer, heart attack, stroke, brain trauma, injury from car accidents and more. For that reason, the number of virus patients was already putting strains on capacity.

A week later, this problem has been exacerbated — and given the explosion in cases, the situation will almost certainly worsen before it improves.

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