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Coronavirus in Colorado: COVID-19 updates for Sept. 13-19, 2021

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Posted at 10:08 AM, Sep 13, 2021

More than 634,000 people in Colorado have tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 36,700 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, Sept. 17

6:02 p.m. | Gov. Polis issues statement on FDA vote on booster shots

Governor Jared Polis said Friday the FDA vote on booster shots for people age 65 and up as well as for high-risk individuals will help "remove a deadly impediment that stood in the way of Colorado getting highly effective boosters out to nursing homes residents," and said he plans to start distributing the booster shots as soon as the FDA decision is finalized.

"Nearly everyone living in nursing homes got the Pfizer vaccine, because it was available first and we prioritized the elderly and most vulnerable, and now we will rapidly roll out the booster to save lives and help end the pandemic. This recommendation for a booster should cover everyone in Colorado who received a Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago,” said Governor Polis.

“This recommendation to approve boosters six months after the second dose for people 65 and older, those considered high-risk, and those who work in frontline essential professions like teaching and healthcare that put them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19 is overdue but welcome news. Depending on the exact wording of the finalization of the decision, we expect that the recommendation for the booster will cover essentially everyone who received the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, as the vaccine was only available to those 65 and up, our frontline essential workers including healthcare workers, and teachers including childcare workers for their first dose during February, and in early March opened up to include first doses for those age 60 and up along with frontline workers. The recommended timing of the booster is about six months after the second dose,” Polis added.

4:58 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here is Friday’s COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), with the change from yesterday in parenthesis.

648,642 cases (+2,037)
37,473 hospitalized (+196)
64 counties (+0)
3,616,319 people tested (+9,575)
10,729,535 test encounters (+37,641)
7,374 deaths among cases (+25)
7,696 deaths due to COVID-19 (+25)
5,999 outbreaks (+15)

The latest hospital data showed 952 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 23 fewer than Thursday. Colorado’s seven-day average positivity rate was 6.12%. The state’s goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Thursday, 3,727,789 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,408,631 have been fully vaccinated.

4:01 p.m. | CDPHE adds vaccination status of currently hospitalized patients to data dashboard

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) updated its data dashboard on Friday to include a daily snapshot of vaccination status of patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19.

Per the CDPHE, 83% of those currently hospitalized are unvaccinated.

The data can be found here, under the Hospital Data tab.

10 a.m. | Larimer County hospitals at 100% ICU capacity for third week

Larimer County health officials said for the third week in a row, traditional critical care capacity in its hospitals is being exceeded. ICU capacity has been at or above 100% since Aug. 30, 2021, with the current capacity at 107%, according to the county.

As of Friday, 76 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19 and nearly 40% of those in the ICU have COVID-19.

In August and so far in September, 22 people in Larimer County died with COVID-19. The majority of those hospitalized or who have passed away have been unvaccinated.

“We have been running at or over capacity in our NOCO hospitals for three weeks with very sick COVID and non-COVID patients,” said Margo Karsten, Banner Health Western Region president. “This puts enormous strain on health care operations and our team members. We want to provide the best care possible for Northern Colorado residents, and for us to be able to do that we need your help to end the pandemic. Please get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible. It is safe and effective, and Pfizer is now FDA-approved. Also, we recommend wearing a mask indoors and continuing to social distance when possible.”

8 a.m. | Colorado's employment situation in August

Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 2/10 of a percentage point in August to 5.9%, which marks the first time since March 2020 that the state’s unemployment rate has been below 6%. The national unemployment rate also declined by 2/10 of a percentage point to 5.2%, the CDLE reported Friday.

Colorado’s labor force decreased by 2,300 in August to 3,193,200. The share of Coloradans participating in the labor force was 68.3 percent last month, a rate that is faster than the of the U.S. as whole, according to CDLE.

The number of individuals employed in Colorado grew by 4,700 in August to 3,004,200, which represents 64.2% of the state’s population of people 16 and older.

The counties with the highest unemployment rates in August were:

  • Pueblo (7.9%)
  • Huerfano (7.8%)
  • Las Animas (6.8%)
  • Fremont (6.5%)
  • Adams (6.2%)

The CDLE also reported that employers in Colorado added 5,600 nonfarm payroll jobs from July to August for a total of 2,736,600 jobs, according to the survey of business establishments. Private sector payroll jobs increased 5,000 and government added 600 jobs. Over the past 16 months, Colorado has gained back 293,400 of the 375,800 nonfarm payroll jobs lost between February and April 2020. That translates to a job recovery rate of 78.1 percent, which exceeds the U.S. rate of 76.2 percent, the CDLE said.

Thursday, Sept. 16

4 p.m. | Latest COVID-19 data

Here is Thursday's COVID-19 data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

646,605 cases (+2,186)
37,277 hospitalized (+34)
64 counties (+0)
3,606,744 people tested (+11,139)
10,691,894 test encounters (+43,585)
7,349 deaths among cases (+3)
7,671 deaths due to COVID-19 (+25)
5,984 outbreaks (+11)

The latest hospital data showed 975 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 9 fewer than Wednesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 6.04%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 3,722,521 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,402,257 people have been fully vaccinated.

6 a.m. | Masks in Pitkin County

Pitkin County Public Health, at the direction of the Board of Health, has issued 11th Amended Public Health Order requiring masks in all indoor public settings during periods of substantial or high transmission as defined by the CDC’s Data Tracker.

This goes into effect Thursday at 12:01 a.m. and requires masks in all indoor public spaces for all individuals 2 years and older regardless of vaccination status. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, Sept. 15

6:48 p.m. | Harvest Farm Festival canceled due to COVID-19

The 19th Annual Harvest Farm Festival in Wellington has been canceled due to COVID-19.

The festival was scheduled to take place Oct. 2 through Oct. 31. Organizers made the decision to cancel due to the current condition of COVID-19 and local health mandates.

"This was a tough call to make because the Fall Festival serves as a staple event for Northern Colorado. However, safety has and always will be our top priority. The Fall Festival is one of our favorite and most impactful ways to connect our community with our New Life Program participants, but it was highly important to prioritize the health and safety of the community, our employees and everyone who helps put the Fall Festival on," a statement from event organizers says.

Harvest Farm is the Denver Rescue Mission's long-term rehabilitation and transitional living facility for people experiencing homelessness that supports farming and ranching operations and food and clothing distribution. Learn more about the New Life Program here.

6:30 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

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

644,419 cases (+2,059)
37,243 hospitalized (+192)
64 counties (+0)
3,595,605 people tested (+7,113)
10,648,309 test encounters (+26,524)
7,346 deaths among cases (+26)
7,646 deaths due to COVID-19 (+25)
5,973 outbreaks (+35)

The latest hospital data showed 984 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, 37 fewer than Tuesday. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 5.92%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Wednesday, 3,717,567 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,396,839 people have been fully vaccinated.

12:44 p.m. | CDPHE cautiously optimistic on hospitalization numbers

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Wednesday that they are cautiously optimistic the state is beginning to see a plateau in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations.

There are currently 898 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado. Of those hospitalized, 745 are not vaccinated, highlighting the effectiveness of the vaccines and the need for more people to get vaccinated, State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said.

Dr. Herlihy said they are seeing a stabilization in hospital numbers, but they are watching closely to see where the trends are heading.

Latest on COVID-19 in Colorado

Tuesday, Sept. 14

4:45 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

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

642,360 cases (+1,980)
37,051 hospitalized (+120)
64 counties (+0)
3,588,492 people tested (+6,727)
10,621,785 test encounters (+24,374)
7,320 deaths among cases (+18)
7,621 deaths due to COVID-19 (+22)
5,938 outbreaks (+14)

The latest hospital data showed 1,021 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 6.01%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%.

As of Tuesday, 3,713,230 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,391,741 people have been fully vaccinated.

Monday, Sept. 13

4:30 p.m. | Latest coronavirus data

Here is Monday's 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.

640,380 cases (+5,492)
36,931 hospitalized (+136)
64 counties (+0)
3,581,765 people tested (+26,951)
10,597,411 test encounters (+107,416)
7,302 deaths among cases (+28)
7,599 deaths due to COVID-19 (+14)
5,924 outbreaks (+11)

The latest hospital data showed 980 beds in use by confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. Colorado's seven-day average positivity rate was 6.06%. The state's goal is to remain below 5%. *Note: the most recent data on the state's website for hospitalizations and positivity rate have not been updated since Friday.

As of Monday, 3,707,637 people had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 3,386,456 people have been fully vaccinated.

4:22 p.m. | Colorado officials say state poised to administer COVID-19 booster shots once approval given

Colorado officials said Monday the state is prepared to start administering COVID-19 booster vaccines to people beyond the immunocompromised once the federal government gives full approval, which is expected in the next week or two for the Pfizer vaccine.

The state told vaccine providers mid-August to move ahead with providing booster shots to immunocompromised Coloradans following a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Gov. Jared Polis said Monday around 73,000 people in Colorado have gotten a third dose – about 2.4% of the vaccinated population. He urged people with compromised immune systems to continue to get their booster shots ahead of the CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration giving approval to move ahead with their third Pfizer doses – which could happen as soon as next Monday, according to the governor.

Polis said the state has been developing a plan to roll out once that approval is given that will focus on a large-scale booster-shot plan for long-term care facilities and for the general public.

As of last week, 75% of Coloradans age 12 and up had received at least their first dose of the vaccine. The most vulnerable in Colorado started getting vaccinated in December and January, and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman said Monday the state has been looking at booster shots for all groups between six and eight months after they received their second dose if they got the mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

“We want to make sure all Coloradans have the ability to get the booster when it’s their time,” Bookman said Monday.

He said the state has analyzed their peak administration of the vaccines and found that between pharmacies and other providers, the state can administer up to about 645,000 doses per week, and about 2.58 million per month, if needed.

At the roughly 1,100 long-term care, senior living, assisted living and independent living facilities that got vaccinated primarily through the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens last year, those facilities will work with the state’s enrolled providers of their choice, said Colorado National Guard Lt. Col. Jamie Pieper, the senior advisor for COVID-19 vaccination for the state. She said the long-term care facilities would be able to get the provider of their choice and that the state would step in as needed.

The state hopes to offer booster clinics at those long-term care facilities between Sept. 20 and Oct. 9, Pieper said, depending on when the FDA and ACIP give approval.

She and the other officials said data in Colorado has shown the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine – which is likely to be the first approved for the boosters – is waning more quickly than the Moderna vaccine, which could also see booster approval in coming weeks.

The CDC is estimating about 75% of people across the country who got their second dose would get a third booster dose. But Colorado has been modeling their numbers based off 100% of that population coming back for a third shot, even though Polis and the others Monday said they knew that would not be the case.

Click here to read the full story.

10 a.m. | Polis update on COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis will provide an update on Colorado's recovery efforts from the pandemic, along with Incident Commander COVID-19 Scott Bookman. Jamie Pieper, Lt. Colonel, Colorado National Guard and Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination, will also be present.

The press conference starts at 1:15 p.m.

Click here for the COVID-19 live blog for Sept. 6-12, 2021