Governor Jared Polis has repeatedly dodged questions about whether he'll issue a new, statewide stay-at-home order in response to cratering data related to COVID-19. But such inquiries will keep cropping up in light of the latest statistics from the county dial dashboard maintained by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Of the 64 Colorado counties, 39 now have case counts for the novel coronavirus that put them at Level Red, the new name for Stay at Home status. That includes three that hit this mark within the past 24 hours: Ouray, Custer and Huerfano.
Two weeks ago, on October 28, just eleven counties were in the Level Red range, defined by the CDPHE as new daily cases of 350 or more per 100,000 people. Over the intervening fourteen days, however, that number has more than tripled — and every major Colorado population center, including all of metro Denver and counties such as Weld, Larimer, El Paso and Mesa, are in the red.
And the numbers are increasing fast. We checked the county figures for November 10 and compared them to those from today, November 11 — and their movement over just that short span was overwhelmingly in the wrong direction. In addition to the three counties that slid into Level Red, others saw their already bad stats worsen. Denver went from 803.2 daily case counts to 823.9, Adams from 916.4 to 973.6, Arapahoe from 630.9 to 672.5, and Crowley climbed from a state high of 1856.8 to an astronomical 2039.1. And while a few counties (Washington and Kit Carson among them) saw their case counts decrease, the dips were extremely modest.
The CDPHE doesn't use the percentage of COVID-19 cases alone to determine if a county's residents should hunker down. The department employs two more metrics: the two-week average positivity by county (a positivity rate of more than 15 percent pushes a county to Level Red), and the number of days with decreasing or stable hospitalizations (any county with seven or fewer days during which hospitalizations are stable or falling falls under the "severe" heading).
Right now, there are seven counties at Level Red for the positivity rate, as well as seven for hospitalization stability — but no county meets this standard under all three COVID qualifications. Still, the way these numbers are moving, that could happen soon — putting Polis in the position of seeing localized lockdowns by the rules that his own public health department has established.
Here are the current county stats that fall in Level Red:
Two-Week Cumulative Incidence Rate by County
Level Red (Severe: About 350)
Clear Creek: 390.1
El Paso: 705.1
Kit Carson: 729.5
Two-Week Average Positivity by County
Level Red (Severe: More than 15 percent)
Morgan: 15.6 percent
Otero: 16.2 percent
Summit: 17.2 percent
Alamosa: 17.6 percent
Custer: 17.8 percent
Prowers: 18.8 percent
Saguache: 25.5 percent
Number of Days With Decreasing or Stable Hospitalizations
Level Red (Severe: 0.7 Days)
Jefferson: 7 Days
Denver: 7 Days
Arapahoe: 7 Days
Pueblo: 6 Days
Larimer: 6 Days
Douglas: 6 Days
El Paso: 6 Days
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