COVID-19 hospitalizations across Colorado are plateauing, but concerns loom as winter approaches

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Posted at 3:29 PM, Sep 21, 2021

DENVER — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Tuesday they are cautiously optimistic that the state is heading in the right direction as data continues to show COVID-19 hospitalization rates plateau. But concerns remain as winter approaches.

There are currently around 900 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado and that number has been trending slightly lower over the last several weeks, according to State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. But, she said, cooler weather marks a transitional period, when the numbers could go either way.

“What make me nervous about this time of year, is that fall is a transition time,” Dr. Herlihy explained. “We move indoors, the weather gets cooler. So, there is that possibility that we could be looking at a potential increase in cases once again.”

Herlihy said mask wearing, social distancing, and most importantly, getting the vaccine, continues to be important as we move indoors, where the virus has more potential to spread.

Of those hospitalized in the state, the vast majority are unvaccinated.

Herlihy said around 80% to 85% of COVID-19 patients in Colorado are unvaccinated, which highlights the effectiveness of the vaccines and the need for more people to get vaccinated.

The CDPHE released on Tuesday weekly breakthrough case data showing vaccinated individuals are 7.9 times less likely to hospitalized for COVID-19.

Dr. Herlihy was joined by Gov. Jared Polis during a press conference Tuesday, where they discussed these trends and other measures to stave off COVID-19 cases in the state, including increased testing.

Polis announced during Tuesday’s press conference that the state has successfully acquired more than 2 million at-home test kits and they are relaunching the Rapid At-Home testing program.

The free COVID-19 test kits will be sent directly to people’s homes. The program uses Abbott BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests that show results within 15 minutes. You can enroll in the program here.