Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Nov. 15-Nov. 21, 2021

Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-20 00:09:36-05

More than 789,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 44,000 have been hospitalized as of Monday afternoon, 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, November 19

9:58 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado.

804,734 cases (+3,720)
45,710 hospitalized (+171)
64 counties (+0)
4,051,634 people tested (+7,579)
12,795,976 test encounters (+38,452)
8,878 deaths among cases (+44)
9,120 deaths due to COVID-19 (+34)
6,792 outbreaks (+22)

The latest hospital data showed 1,574 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 16 fewer than Thursday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.77%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Friday, 4,006,323 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,617,081 people have been fully vaccinated.

9:53 p.m. | Colorado issues amended public health order for monoclonal antibody therapy access

A standing order that would expand access to monoclonal antibody treatment has been released after Gov. Jared Polis announced the upcoming change during a press conference Friday.

Under the order, Coloradans would be allowed to refer themselves for such treatment. Currently, Coloradans must be referred for monoclonal antibody treatment by a doctor or health care provider.

By Friday evening, the amended public health order was released requiring all providers to do all they can to provide therapies like monoclonal antibody treatment.

"When we succeed at implementing increased use of monoclonal antibodies, it will reduce the strain on our hospitals and significantly reduce the likelihood that Colorado will breach hospital capacity," the governor said.

In an effort to preserve hospital beds, the public health order requires all health care providers, like hospitals, urgent care clinics and free standing
emergency departments, to "take all necessary steps" to provide all eligible Coloradans access to monoclonal antibody therapies. They're also encouraged to provide the monoclonal antibody therapies in outpatient settings.

Read the full story here.

9:04 a.m. | Polis on FDA approval of Moderna & Pfizer COVID-19 boosters for adults

Gov. Polis released the following statement upon reports that

The Food and Drug Administration authorized booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for all adults on Friday morning. All adults in Colorado have been eligible to receive a booster COVID-19 shot after Polis issued an Executive Order Nov. 11.

In response to the FDA's decision, Polis said: “The science is clear: everyone who got two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine needs a third dose for continued protection. While it has been frustrating to watch an unelected board delay necessary boosters for Americans, today I’m glad to see the FDA finally take the right step forward in further protecting all Americans from COVID-19. In Colorado, booster doses are already available to every adult who wants one, as the science and data have been clear that an additional dose of this lifesaving, free, and effective vaccine offers additional immunity.  Get your booster before Thanksgiving and before the holiday season. I urge the CDC to act quickly on the FDA’s recommendation and approve COVID-19 boosters for everyone.”

Thursday, November 18

4:51 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado.

801,014 cases (+4,602)
45,539 hospitalized (+164)
64 counties (+0)
4,044,055 people tested (+9,906)
12,757,524 test encounters (+48,112)
8,834 deaths among cases (+51)
9,086 deaths due to COVID-19 (+59)
6,770 outbreaks (+14)

The latest hospital data showed 1,590 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19, 16. fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.75%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 3,997,120 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,614,011 people have been fully vaccinated.

3:45 p.m. | Jefferson County Board of Health to consider countywide mask mandate, asks Polis for statewide order
The Jefferson County Board of Health could implement an indoor mask requirement as soon as Monday, the board president said Thursday, and sent a letter to Colorado Gov. Jared Polis calling on him to issue a statewide indoor mask requirement or to at least give local health departments the ability to put vaccine passports in place.

Jefferson County Board of Health President Greg Deranleau said in an interview Thursday afternoon that the board’s executive director has been working on draft language for a public health order that would include a countywide mask requirement, which the board is likely to consider at a meeting on Monday morning.

“We are considering a local countywide mask mandate. We do believe it’s really important, though, that the governor take statewide action,” Deranleau said. “As we know, this virus doesn’t respect jurisdictional boundaries. So we can have a patchwork of counties and municipalities doing their own thing. But we really believe it’s going to be stronger when it’s at the statewide level.”

The Thursday letter from the board piggybacks off two different letters sent by local public health directors, including Jefferson County’s, last week that call for the Democratic governor to put a mask mandate back in place and allow for vaccine passports. Thursday's is the latest plea to the governor to tighten restrictions amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

As of Wednesday, there were 1,526 confirmed COVID-19 patients hospitalized in Colorado and the state was down to just 69 ICU beds as the state surpassed 9,000 COVID-19 deaths.

Boulder County and Larimer County both already have mask requirements in place among metro-area counties.

The Jefferson County Board of Health’s Thursday letter says it received “extremely disturbing data” Wednesday showing there were 16 Jefferson County residents who died of COVID-19 last week and that the county has averaged more than a death per day since July 9, when the delta variant surge started.

Combined with the spike in hospitalizations, which public health officials have warned could be overrun next month, and there being fewer than 70 intensive care unit beds available statewide, the board called on Polis to act at the state level regarding masks – requests he has repeatedly brushed aside in recent weeks in favor of pushing for more people to get vaccinated.

“Data have consistently been provided by the Colorado State Epidemiologist outlining the growing risk to stymied economic recovery, in-person school attendance, harm to our most vulnerable citizens, continued demand on crippled health care systems and increased deaths,” the board’s letter to Polis says as reasons why they are calling for the statewide mandate.

The board is asking Polis to issue a new executive order requiring masks indoors for everyone age 2 and up regardless of their vaccination status. In lieu of a statewide order, the board is asking for “flexibility for local jurisdictions to implement mitigation procedures in certain settings, such as a vaccination passport program.”

“Governor Polis, we all need to do more to address the trends we are seeing currently and that will most likely surge in the coming weeks with holiday travel and movement indoors. Trends are going in the wrong direction and we implore you to take additional mitigation steps immediately before anyone else loses their life unnecessarily,” the board wrote to the governor. “We continue to take steps within our county to help slow the spread of the virus and we request your assistance to encourage our fellow counties to do the same. We are all in this together.”

The letter also calls on Polis to prioritize what the board calls “a stakeholder process” to come up with better ways to up the statewide vaccination rate.

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, November 17

4 p.m. | Colorado surpasses 9,000 COVID-19 deaths

Hospitalizations for confirmed cases of COVID-19 are now at 1,526, a number not seen since mid-December of last year. As of Wednesday, the state reported having only 69 ICU beds available across the state. More than 9,000 people have now died of the disease, according to state data. Here are the latest figures from the CDPHE.

796,412 cases (+3,914)
45,375 hospitalized (+298)
64 counties (+0)
4,034,149 people tested (+8,344)
12,709,412 test encounters (+38,811)
8,783 deaths among cases (+26)
9,027 deaths due to COVID-19 (+49)
6,756 outbreaks (+49)

The latest hospital data showed 1,606 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.53%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 3,989,402 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,610,902 people have been fully vaccinated.

11:40 a.m. | CDPHE urges Coloradans to get their booster shots, limit the size of their holiday gatherings

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on Wednesday urged all adult Coloradans who haven't gotten their boosters to do so, as cases and hospitalizations of the novel coronavirus continue to increase statewide.

Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist said the state continues to see an upward trajectory of viral spread across the state, despite cases decreasing somewhat over the past week. Hospitalizations decreased as well over the weekend, but as of Wednesday, 1,526 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 across the state. Herlihy said that based on these numbers, we are close to exceeding them most recent projections made by the Colorado School of Public Health.

Kids 5-11 continue to be the biggest driver in new daily cases of COVID-19, followed by those 18+. Those aged 12-17 are third when it comes to the number of cases, with children 0-4 coming in last. The state's current 7-day positivity rate is at 9.53%.

"This is the time to get vaccinated, to get your booster," said Scott Bookman, the state's COVID-19 Incident Commander during Wednesday's virtual news conference. Asked about Polis not wanting to issue a statewide mask mandate, Bookman replied that all Coloradans should be wearing masks in indoor settings, "whether there's a mandate or not."

Bookman said that as of Wednesday morning, there were only 75 ICU beds available across all of Colorado, though he cautioned those numbers change minute-to-minute. Approximately 575 surgical beds were available in the state.

Though 80% of hospitalizations across the state are among the unvaccianted, Bookman said vaccinated people a role to play in limiting the spread as well, saying it doesn't take much to put on a mask when going out to the grocery store.

If you are vaccinated and are exposed to the virus, Herlihy said you should get tested five to seven days after the exposure occurred, keeping in mind that if you do test positive, the viral load in your nose and throat is about the same as an unvaccinated person for several days after infection, which is why the CDC recommends people in high transmission areas of the coronavirus continue to mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

Asked about other measures to take, like social distancing and working remotely, Bookman said those who have an opportunity to work from home should do so to limit their social contacts right now.

"This is not going to last forever. We are going to get through this, we are going to come out of the other side of this pandemic," Bookman said. "Right now, all we can do to work together to protect our health care system should be a top priority for all Coloradans."

You can view the virtual news conference in its entirety in the player below.

CDPHE update on COVID-19 Colorado for Wednesday, Nov. 17

10:22 a.m. | Colorado Rockies holding vaccine clinic Saturday

The Colorado Rockies is holding a free vaccine clinic at Coors Field Saturday, Nov. 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Those attending will get a chance to take a photo with Dinger, and anyone 5 years or older is eligible to receive a vaccine.

Register here.

Tuesday, November 16

4:27 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado.

792,498 cases (+3,068)
45,077 hospitalized (+214)
64 counties (+0)
4,025,805 people tested (+5,887)
12,670,601 test encounters (+34,197)
8,757 deaths among cases (+56)
8,978 deaths due to COVID-19 (+35)
6,707 outbreaks (+20)

The latest hospital data showed 1,556 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.60%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 3,981,138 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,608,573 people have been fully vaccinated.

Monday, November 15

11:17 p.m. | Staff absences lead to remote learning for Salida School District

The Salida School District is moving to remote learning on Tuesday due to staffing issues.

Superintendent David Blackburn sent a letter to families explaining that the district has been holding 25% staff absenteeism at various schools for the last couple of weeks. On Tuesday, the district is anticipating 30% staff absenteeism, which will trigger 25% or greater staff absences across the district.

Remote learning will continue through Thanksgiving break. Tuesday will be what the district called a "transition day" to allow families and teachers to get adjusted. More instructions will be provided to families at 9 a.m.

The district hopes to return to in-person learning after Thanksgiving break.

6:24 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 numbers

Here are the latest COVID-19 numbers for Colorado — a reminder that today's state data is an aggregate from the weekend as well as Monday's.

789,430 cases (+7,470)
44,863 hospitalized (+321)
64 counties (+0)
4,019,918 people tested (+18,339)
12,636,040 test encounters (+93,781)
8,701 deaths among cases (+81)
8,943 deaths due to COVID-19 (+57)
6,687 outbreaks (+20)

The latest hospital data showed 1,503 beds in use by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 9.85%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Monday, 3,970,559 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine in Colorado, 3,606,376 people have been fully vaccinated, and 748,332 eligible people have received an additional dose.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Nov. 8-14 2021.