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COVID-19 Update: Inside Colorado's Third Wave

It's no longer a matter of debate: According to new data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, this state has been hit by a third wave of COVID-19.

Key indicators of this status include a positivity rate just a whisper under the red line that government officials have cited as a reason for alarm and skyrocketing outpatient visits for people with symptoms of the novel coronavirus, as well as case and hospitalization counts that have climbed at a disturbing pace over the past month.

Here are the grim statistics in major categories updated by the CDPHE at 4 p.m. Sunday, October 11, juxtaposed with figures from October 4 and September 13:

78,461 cases (up 5,385 from October 4 and 17,137 from September 13)
7,893 hospitalized (up 223 from October 4 and 666 from September 13)
64 counties (unchanged from October 4 and up one from September 13)
2,113 deaths among cases (up 45 from October 4 and 125 from September 13)
1,998 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 30 from October 4 and 109 from September 13)
864 outbreaks (up 66 from October 4 and 204 from September 13)

Putting those increases in context: On September 13, the CDPHE reported 1,837 new cases over the previous week. But the latest stats show 5,385 new cases in a week.

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The increasing positivity number is arguably more concerning. For months, Colorado health officials have identified 5 percent per 100,000 individuals as the point at which they begin to feel anxious about issues such as hospital capacity — and as of October 11, that number hit 4.81. (By way of contrast, the positivity rate on September 13 was 3.04 percent, a sizable leap from the 1.78 percent on September 7.)

Meanwhile, the number of outpatient visits by people exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19 is at 8.74 percent, up a staggering 4.98 percent.

As for daily COVID-19 cases, they're now at a point similar to those of late April and late July, the first two waves, though this climb has built over a longer period, starting roughly a month ago.

Continue to see the past ten daily case totals:

October 10 — 805
October 9 — 812
October 8 — 716
October 7 — 729
October 6 — 759
October 5 — 582
October 4 — 525
October 3 — 544
October 2 — 641
October 1 — 702

Hospitalizations are seeing similar upward surges. In early September, the number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 ranged from 219 to 240, compared to with 296 to 383 a month later. New hospitalizations have increased at the same pace, as seen here:

Patients Currently Hospitalized for COVID-19

October 11, 2020
383 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
284 (74 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
99 (26 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 10, 2020
365 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
265 (73 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
100 (27 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 9, 2020
380 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
268 (71 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
112 (29 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 8, 2020
356 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
256 (72 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
100 (28 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 7, 2020
369 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
244 (66 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
125 (34 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 6, 2020
343 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
246 (72 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
97 (28 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 5, 2020
325 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
233 (72 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
92 (28 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 4, 2020
303 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
213 (70 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
90 (30 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 3, 2020
296 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
205 (69 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
91 (31 percent) Persons Under Investigation

October 2, 2020
304 Total COVID Patients (Confirmed & Suspected/PUI)
219 (72 percent) Confirmed COVID-19
85 (28 percent) Persons Under Investigation

New Hospital Admissions by Admission Date

October 11, 2020
40 patients admitted to the hospital
40 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 10, 2020
19 patients admitted to the hospital
40 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 9, 2020
48 patients admitted to the hospital
40 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 8, 2020
41 patients admitted to the hospital
39 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 7, 2020
32 patients admitted to the hospital
41 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 6, 2020
57 patients admitted to the hospital
42 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 5, 2020
42 patients admitted to the hospital
39 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 4, 2020
38 patients admitted to the hospital
38 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 3, 2020
20 patients admitted to the hospital
34 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

October 2, 2020
46 patients admitted to the hospital
37 seven-day average of patients admitted to the hospital

If there's one light in the darkness, it's that deaths from COVID-19 aren't growing at the same pace. The CDPHE confirms eight deaths on September 30 and seven on October 2 — among the higher recent totals but a far cry from April, when the state logged more than thirty deaths on multiple days.

Clearly, medical professionals are getting better at preventing the disease from killing people. But that hasn't prevented more people from testing positive and becoming ill enough to require hospitalization, just as those experts who've spent months discussing the prospects of a third viral wave have feared.

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