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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Jan. 3-9, 2022

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Posted at 7:17 AM, Jan 03, 2022

More than 929,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 50,700 have been hospitalized as of Sunday, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Click here for the latest update on the number of cases, the age, gender and location of presumptive positive, indeterminate and confirmed cases from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Below, we're updating this blog with the latest information regarding COVID-19 in Colorado.


Latest updates:

Friday, Jan. 7

10:51 p.m. | Bank of the West moves to drive-up only

Bank of the West has changed some of their locations to be drive-up only due to COVID-19.

Shawn Cole, the executive vice president of the Bank of the West Rocky Mountain Division, provided the following statement:

“I can confirm that both Evergreen, Colorado, branches were open today with drive-up only service. For the safety and well-being of our customers and team members, Bank of the West is temporarily adjusting many of our branch operations during the pandemic. The situation is changing day-by-day, so we are asking our customers to please visit our Branch Locator at https://www.bankofthewest.com/HeretoHelp or call their local branch to confirm hours and availability before coming to a branch. We encourage customers to bank remotely, whenever possible, during this time. You can use Online and Mobile Banking for many of your needs.”

9:52 p.m. | CDPHE updates isolation, quarantine guidance for schools

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has updated its recommendations on school guidance for isolation and quarantines in school settings.

Their updated Practical Guide for Operationalizing CDC’s School Guidance recommends isolation for five days for anyone with COVID-19 if they have mild symptoms and are fever-free for 24 hours without using fever-reducing medication. These people should still wear a mask around people at home and in public for an additional five days. If it’s not possible to wear a mask, these people should isolate for a full 10 days even if they’re asymptomatic.

Students, teachers and staff should quarantine for five days if they come into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 if they haven’t been vaccinated, haven’t received a booster dose when eligible and/or can’t wear a mask around others.

Students, teachers and staff do not have to quarantine when in close contact with someone with COVID-19 if they’ve received all of the recommended vaccinations or have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 90 days.

For the full updated recommendations, click here.

The changes come after the CDC just announced its updated guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools.

6:55 p.m. | Two new vaccine clinics open

New vaccine clinics are opening in Frisco and Avon.

One vaccine clinic will open at Avon Town Hall, located at 100 Mikaela Way in Avon, Friday to Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. offering 250 doses per day.

Another clinic will open at Summit County Public Health, located at 360 Peak One Dr. in Frisco, Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. also offering 250 doses per day.

Flu vaccines will be available as well.

These new clinics are in addition to ongoing community vaccination sites across the state.

6:40 p.m. | Colorado reactivates crisis standards of care for emergency services for 1st time in nearly 2 years

Colorado health officials reactivated crisis standards of care for emergency medical services (EMS) Friday in response to the explosion of cases of the novel coronavirus across the state, which is now affecting EMS staff and their ability to respond to everyday emergencies.

The move by Dr. Eric France, the chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) comes in response to many EMS staff falling ill with COVID-19 and high demands for service, according to a statement from the state health department.

It’s the first time in nearly two years since the state activated these standards of care.

Under the guidance, EMS personnel can stop life-saving measures in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and only the most severe cases will be taken to the hospital. The guidance under crisis standards of care for EMS services even lists criteria for people under the age of 60 and has a script for personnel letting people who may need care know that “emergent transport by ambulance to the emergency department likely outweigh the benefits.”

In all, it provides guidance for personnel at call centers, dispatch centers, and emergency medical service agencies on how to interact with potentially infectious patients, maximize care for multiple patients with limited staff and emergency vehicles, and determine what kind of treatment to provide, such as whether and where a patient should be transported for further care, if deemed necessary, according to the news release.

This particular “crisis standards of care” is not for hospitals and acute care facilities, which would provide guidance to the state on rationing care across Colorado hospitals, ultimately deciding who gets to live or die, whether it’s due to COVID-19 or for something else.

The state has also not activated crisis standards of care for out of hospital care providers, crisis standards of care for specialty patient populations, or crisis standards of care for personal protective equipment.

Read the full story here.

6:03 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

989,409 cases (+9,972)
52,048 hospitalized (+816)
64 counties (+0)
4,413,634 people tested (+13,005)
14,567,189 test encounters (+62,827)
10,425 deaths among cases (+23)
10,773 deaths due to COVID-19 (+15)
7,367 outbreaks (+41)

The latest hospital data show 1,447 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, seven more than Thursday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 26.77%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Friday, 4,251,060 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado and 3,829,624 have been fully vaccinated.

3:30 p.m. | Adams 14 moving to remote learning all of next week due to surge in COVID-19 cases across the county

Students in the Adams 14 School District will be switching to remote learning all of next week following a dramatic increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the county.

Adams 14 School District officials said in a letter to teachers, parents and staff that the county – as a whole – has experienced a 357% increase in cases of the novel coronavirus over the past 14 days.

“In recognition of both the need to ensure continuity of student learning and quell current county-wide transmission trends, all Adams 14 schools will operate virtually for the entirety of the week of January 10-14,” Superintendent Dr. Karla Loria wrote in the letter.

Each school’s normal start and end times will remain in effect during the remote learning period, and lunch will be between 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for all students

School sports for middle schoolers will be canceled for the whole week but will remain as scheduled for high school students, unless otherwise mandated by the Colorado High School Activities Association.

In the letter, the superintendent wrote families, teachers and staff will be notified by the district Thursday whether remote learning will continue beyond next week.

Read the full story here.

2:23 p.m. | CDPHE working to resolve case data error on COVID-19 data dashboard that's resulted in undercount of cases

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the state’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) continue to work to resolve an issue involving case data reporting on the COVID-19 data dashboard.

CDPHE’s electronic laboratory reporting system is "not successfully communicating with our disease reporting system, from which the public case data is sourced," officials said in a news release.

"This led to a significant undercount of cases displayed on the public-facing data dashboard from Jan. 5 through present day. This processing issue is only affecting case data, and is not impacting testing, hospitalization, or death data," they wrote.

No time frame was provided as to when the situation will be resolved.

Thursday, Jan. 6

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

The CDPHE said Thursday that due to data processing issues today, most case reporting has not been updated and case counts for Jan. 5 are likely to change. Other data such as hospitalization, testing, and deaths are not affected.

979,437 cases (+7,912)
51,232 hospitalized (+96)
64 counties (+0)
4,400,629 people tested (+16,586)
14,504,362 test encounters (+74,536)
10,402 deaths among cases (+48)
10,758 deaths due to COVID-19 (+176)
7,326 outbreaks (+24)

The latest hospital data show 1,440 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 56 more than Wednesday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 26.36%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

AsAs of Friday4,246,198 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado and 3,825,951 have been fully vaccinated.

1:22 p.m. | Omicron surge now affecting RTD service in Denver as workers become ill, call in sick

the surge in omicron cases of the novel coronavirus is not only negatively impacting hospitals, schools and even and jury trials, it’s also now affecting the Regional Transportation District’s ability to move people across town.

Between Dec. 15 and Jan. 5, the agency reported 77 new employees across all facilities and operating divisions had tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are doing our best to maintain service within our existing resource constraints,” said RTD general manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson in a prepared statement. “While RTD’s Operations team is working as creatively as possible in its approach to covering open shifts, our ‘people power’ is being severely affected by the prevalence of the omicron coronavirus variant.”

Officials said RTD customers can stay updated on any unforeseen service changes by signing up for the agency’s Service Alerts.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, Jan. 5

6:13 p.m. | How to report a positive at-home COVID-19 test in Colorado

As COVID-19 and the omicron variant continue to surge across Colorado and the U.S., more people are seeking testing, with many turning to at-home tests.

Maybe you’re feeling under the weather. Maybe you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Or maybe you just have plans and want to take precautions. You take an at-home test, and it comes back positive. So, now what?

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, you should report positive results to your health care provider or local public health agency.

For people who don’t have a health care provider, they can also report a positive result to the state through its online reporting portal. After creating an account, select the test type “At-home antigen - self reported” to report a positive test result.

Read the full story here.

5:06 p.m. | Routt County testing sites scheduled for Thursdya cancelled due to inclement weather

Routt County public COVID-19 testing scheduled for Thursday January 6 is cancelled due to weather, officials said via Twitter.

4:37 p.m. | Aurora Municipal testing site shuts down, will open until 1 p.m. Thursday due to inclement weather

The COVID-19 testing site at the Aurora Municipal Center will have a delayed opening until 1 p.m. tomorrow, Jan. 6, with plans to close at 5 p.m. The vaccine site will only delay start by 1 hour (open at 10 a.m.), but no other changes will be made to that site's schedule.

This is in response to a cold front that's expected to drop several inches of snow in the Denver metro area by Thursday morning.

4:28 p.m. | All Mako Medical community testing sites in Summit County closing due to inclement weather

All COVID-19 Mako Testing Sites will be closed Jan. 6 due to weather, Summit County officials said Wednesday. You are asked to stay home if you are feeling sick.

Click here for more information on other testing sites in Summit County.

4:23 p.m. | Boulder County Fairgrounds testing site closing due to inclement weather

Due to inclement weather the Boulder County Fairgrounds and Stazio Ball Fields testing sites will close on Jan. 5 at 5 p.m. and will be open from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Jan. 6.

Click here for more testing sites around the county.

4 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 continue to increase across the state, with 1,308 people currently hospitalized for confirmed COVID-19, according to the latest COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

971,525 cases (+8,748)
51,136 hospitalized (+89)
64 counties (+0)
4,384,043 people tested (+13,048)
14,429,826 test encounters (+56,429)
10,354 deaths among cases (+19)
10,582 deaths due to COVID-19 (+0)
7,302 outbreaks (+51)

The latest hospital data show 1,384 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 4 more than Tuesday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 25.19%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 4,241,363 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado and 3,822,434 have been fully vaccinated.

1:10 p.m. | Trajectory of hospitalizations uncertain under omicron variant, CDPHE says

State health officials say there's still a lot of uncertainty in regards to the omicron variant and what it could do to hospitalizations across the state in the coming weeks.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, and CDPHE COVID-19 incident commander Scott Bookman spoke about the latest trends in Colorado during a virtual news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Colorado - like many other areas across the U.S. - is seeing a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and also a rapid increase in the number of hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19, though trends for the latter aren't alarming health officials just yet.

Currently, there are 1,308 hospitalizations for COVID-19 across the state, a small increase compared to Tuesday's jump, health officials said. The state's positivity rate is now at 25.19%, Herlihy said, adding this particular metric was "the best leading indicator" of where the trajectory of the pandemic might be heading.

"I anticipate it will be several more weeks until we see a peak," Herlihy said when asked if Colorado could soon see a reprieve from the explosion of cases due to the omicron variant as other places across the country and around the globe have seen. But she warned there's still a lot of unanswered questions about how the variant interacts in different populations.

"I think it’s important to emphasize that our epidemiology isn’t the same as South Africa’s, isn’t the same as the U.K.'s, it's the same as New Jersey's, and so, all of that means it’s difficult to really predict precisely what could happen in the next couple of weeks."

Officials said the challenge they're having right now is understanding whether hospitalizations are for omicron or for something else.

"This is leading to a lot of uncertainty about what our hospitalizations might look like in the coming weeks," Herlihy said.

Officials continued to stress the importance of vaccination, especially those who have not yet received a third dose, as the omicron variant is also affecting health care workers and impacting the number of staffed beds.

The panelists recommended people get tested if they've been exposed to COVID-19 and report their at-home tests results to the state. To do that, click here.

When getting tested at a community testing site, Bookman asked that Coloradans to exercise patience and grace as testing staff are also being affected by the spread of the highly transmissible variant and there are delays at many of these sites due to demand and low staffing.

Watch the full news conference in the player below.

Trajectory of hospitalizations uncertain under omicron variant, CDPHE says

10:33 a.m. | Regis University to start semester with flexible classroom plan

Regis University in Denver will start the spring semester with what school officials are calling a "flexible clasroom plan" due to the surge in cases of the highly transmissible omicron variant.

Faculty, staff and students will be required to provide proof of a booster vaccination by Feb. 1, 2022, or six months after receiving a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two months after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccination.

The university's mask mandate will remain in place indefinitely. The University is recommending all community members use either N-95 or KN-95 masks to better protect against infection. There will be masks available in classrooms on a limited basis.

Classes will meet but the univeristy will provide flexibility for faculty to decide whether to hold classes in-person or temporarily hold them virtually through Feb. 1. Faculty will inform students of individual class status by Friday, Jan. 7. For classes that meet in-person – such as labs and related courses that cannot function virtually – students are encouraged to wear N-95 or KN95 masks.

Residential students will be required to take a rapid test upon arrival on campus, or bring with them a negative test taken within 48 hours of move-in, or a positive COVID-19 test dated after Dec. 1, 2021. If a student has a positive rapid test result, they will move into temporary, on-campus isolation quarters per CDC guidelines. Residential students will receive an email regarding check-in times and new COVID-19 mitigation procedures.

More information on the university's response to COVID-19 can be found here.

8:46 a.m. | Broomfield implements mask mandate, citing surge in omicron cases and temporary closure of Avista Hospital due to the Marshall Fire

Broomfield will join several metro area counties in implementing a mask mandate due to the surge in cases due to the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus.

Citing not only the rapid surge in cases due to the highly transmissible COVID-19 variant but also the temporary closure of Avista Hospital due to the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, officials said in a news release they must take action to protect the health and safety of the community.

Face masks will be required indoors across the city and county for everyone age 2 and older through February 3, 2022, regardless of vaccination status, per the new public health order.

The mask mandate is in response to Broomfield's seven-day average case rate drastically increasing, officials explained. The city and county's cases have increased from 221 cases per 100,000 people on Dec. 2 to 835.2 cases per 100,000 people on Jan. 4, more than two times the peak case incidence when delta was the dominant variant circulating in the community.

"During this incredibly challenging time for our community, it’s critical that we once again mask up to keep each other safe," said a spokesperson in a prepared statement. "Please wear your mask in indoor public spaces, get the booster, and continue to encourage friends and family to get fully vaccinated."

Douglas County is now the only county in the Denver metro not requiring face masks as cases of the omicron variant continue to surge across the state.

On Tuesday, hospital leaders from across the metro area warned hospital capacity was now "razor thin" and the situation could get worse if health care workers on the frontlines see their numbers dwindle due to the unchecked spread of the virus.

Per Broomfield officials, the metro region’s ICU bed capacity currently is less than 4%, with 62% of facilities reporting staff shortages.

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, Jan. 4

5:15 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latest COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

962,777 cases (+8,278)
51,047 hospitalized (+153)
64 counties (+0)
4,370,995 people tested (+6,051)
14,373,397 test encounters (+29,712)
10,335 deaths among cases (+42)
10,582 deaths due to COVID-19 (+30)
7,251 outbreaks (+26)

The latest hospital data show 1,380 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 146 more than Monday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 24.14%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.
As of Wednesdayay, 4,236,547 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado and 3,818,604 have been fully vaccinated.

11 a.m. | Denver’s hospital capacity ‘razor thin’ as cases explode; hospitals warn of staff shortages due to omicron

Hospital capacity across Denver is now “razor thin” and things could get worse if those working on the frontlines of the pandemic start getting sick as the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus continues to spread unchecked, hospital leaders warned Tuesday.

Hospitalizations, which had been declining steadily over the past couple of weeks following the surge from the state’s fifth wave, are climbing again in Denver, with the city reporting about 150 people hospitalized for the disease as of Tuesday – a 34% increase over last week.

“We’ve seen a sharp uptick in the last couple of days and if we stay at this trajectory, we also will have a record number of inpatients,” said Kathy Howell, the chief nursing officer for University of Colorado Hospital.

About 98% of the hospital system’s ICU beds are full and their acute care beds are well over capacity, Howell said, adding she’s concerned for what the omicron variant will do to an already exhausted workforce who is not only tired, but who is also now getting sick from COVID-19 due to the variant’s effectiveness at bypassing vaccine-induced protection.

“This is probably going to be the scariest point of the pandemic over the next month,” she said during a virtual news conference in which she was joined by other Denver area hospital leaders, along with Mayor Michael Hancock and Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) executive director Bob McDonald.

The dire warning came as Mayor Hancock said the city’s positivity rate is now at 25% – five times of what is recommended to get a handle on the spread of the disease. As of Tuesday, one in four Denverites were coming back positive after getting tested for the virus, he said.

Explaining that he could not emphasize the importance of getting your booster, Hancock urged Denverites to get them so as soon as people are eligible, as staying out of the hospital is the relief hospitals and frontline workers need right now to maintain capacity.

Bob McDonald, the DDPHE executive order, also urged Denverites to get vaccinated if they hadn’t already and warned the variant of the new virus, due to its high transmissibility, will find those who are unvaccinated and potentially send them to the hospital.

Dr. Connie Price, the chief medical officer of Denver Health Medical Center, said Tuesday that omicron now accounts for most infections throughout the City of Denver, and said she was growing concerned due to the number of health care workers who were out sick – more so now than any previous week during the pandemic.

“I think we are in for a tough two-to-three weeks,” Price said, as the omicron surge is just now beginning in Colorado. “We are working together to make sure we can take care of the community. It’s a challenge to do so with depleted staff.”

It’s not just at hospitals where the Denver metro is experiencing a reduction in staff due to the omicron variant, according to Dr. John Douglas, the executive director of the Tri-County Health Department.

Health care workers getting sick with COVID-19 is also having an impact at community testing sites, which are getting inundated with people trying to get tests as they come back from the holidays and get their kids ready to return for the spring semester.

When asked about the surge in omicron cases and the return to school, and whether that would mean a return to remote learning, McDonald dismissed the idea and said health officials at DDPHE were doing everything they could to not disrupt the school learning process.

From her part, Dr. Dawn Comstock, the executive director for Jefferson County Public Health, said she’s already talked with officials at Jeffco. Public Schools to have them prepare for potential school closures and a return to remote learning.

“This is not politics, it’s public health,” Hancock said. “Get vaccinated, get boosted.”

Read the full story.

10:22 a.m. | Denver City Council going virtual again due to surge in omicron cases

Denver City Council is going virtual again due to the rapid increase in omicron cases across the city.

"Due to public health precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, starting Tuesday, Janu. 4, Denver City Council meetings will be virtual until further notice," a spokesperson said in a news release.

City Council virtual meetings will have posted links to join for committees, general public comment, required public hearings, and to observe council business.

“The public and city employees are our greatest concern during this surge of the Omicron variant,” said Council President Stacie Gilmore. “The virtual format will allow full public participation while providing everyone the most safety from exposure during the pandemic.”

Rising cases of COVID-19 and the emergence of the Omicron variant in Colorado and Denver has led City Council to decide to go virtual to mitigate the spread of the virus and protect hospital capacity. It is important that council members continue to conduct city business while providing a safe space for all who want to participate.

“Council has developed a truly adaptable and inclusive meeting model that allows us to meet our obligation to keep moving city business forward, be accessible to community, and ensure language access,” said Council President Pro Tem Jamie Torres. “We look forward to city personnel and community continuing to participate virtually and in doing so, stay safe.”

5:50 a.m. | Update on COVID-19 in Denver

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock, Executive Director of the Department of Public Health and Environment Bob McDonald, and regional public health and hospital officials — including Chief Medical Officer of Denver Health Dr. Connie Price, Chief Medical Officer of Children’s Hospital Colorado Dr. David Brumbaugh, and Chief Nursing Officer of University of Colorado Hospital Kathy Howell — will provide an update on the city’s and region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic today at 11 a.m.

Denver7 will stream the press conference on our streaming apps.

3:40 a.m. | CSU's Pandemic Preparedness Team announces spring semester public health requirements

Vaccines and vaccine boosters are required for all students, faculty and staff working or studying on university grounds at CSU. This was initially announced by the CSU president during winter break.

Do not submit booster information through CSU's student or employee vaccine portal until further guidance is issued.

In addition, mandatory saliva screening — regardless of vaccine status — are required for all students, faculty and staff who will be on university grounds. They must submit a saliva sample as soon as they return to university grounds and before the beginning of classes.

Those who are not vaccinated, including boosters, must participate in the saliva screening twice a week for the rest of the semester or until they are fully vaccinated.

Monday, Jan. 3

6:59 p.m. | Latest coronavirus numbers

Here's the latesta COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. A reminder that today's state data is an aggregate from the weekend as well as Monday's.

954,499 cases (+25,224)
50,894 hospitalized (+105)
64 counties (+0)
4,364,944 people tested (+31,673)
14,343,685 test encounters (+138,226)
10,293 deaths among cases (+22)
10,552 deaths due to COVID-19 (+18)
7,225 outbreaks (+14)

The latest hospital data show 1,234 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 41 more than Sunday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 23.99%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesdayy, 4,232,857 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado and 3,815,377. have been fully vaccinated.

1:47 p.m. | Where to get tested

As the omicron variant continues to spread across Colorado, leading to a large jump in case numbers and with officials keeping a close eye on whether hospitalizations will follow suit, we wanted to again link to the state's list of free testing sites and other testing resources.

Click herefor information on how to find and schedule PCR tests across Colorado and more information on at-home rapid tests.

7 a.m. | Jury trials suspended in January in 18th Judicial District

Due to high COVID-19 case counts, the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District has suspended jury trials in January.

In the order, Chief Judge Michelle A. Amico said she took information from the CDC, CDPHE and local public health officials into account when making this decision. She said she determined that large groups of prospective jurors is not safe, and issued a temporary suspension of jury trials.

This will last through Jan. 28 and covers Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties. Read the full order here.

The 1st Judicial District has also suspended jury trials through Jan. 21.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Dec. 27, 2021 - Jan. 2, 2022.