COVID-related hospitalizations in Colorado rose again on Wednesday, reaching a level last seen in mid-February, while growing outbreaks of coronavirus also point to a wider spread of the virus.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment said 450 people had been hospitalized nationwide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. The last time many people were hospitalized for the virus was on February 19.
While hospitalizations are still stable or declining in most parts of the state, four counties have seen an increase in at least half of the last two weeks: Larimer, Adams, Pueblo and Douglas. In Pueblo, hospitalizations have increased 1
COVID-19 hospitalizations had fallen from early December to February, a plateau for most of March, and began to rise again this week. Although experts do not believe that hospitals are in danger of running out of space, the relatively sharp increase is an undesirable sign that vaccines have not yet driven the virus out of Colorado.
Active coronavirus outbreaks have also increased, rising by about 8% in the last week, according to government data released on Wednesday. This returns them to approximately the same level observed in mid-March, ending a 15-week series of reductions.
The number of outbreaks in schools is declining, but those related to kindergartens, restaurants, bars and production facilities are increasing. An outbreak is two or more cases involving the same place or event, and it must take four weeks without any new cases before it is considered closed.
“As cases increase across the state in recent weeks, we are also seeing an increase in outbreaks,” Jessica Bralis, director of communications at the state health department, said in a news release. “We encourage Coloradans to be tested if they show symptoms or suspect that they have been exposed to COVID-19. Testing allows the state to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and helps us mitigate outbreaks and increased disease transmission. “
The trajectory of the cases was less clear than that of the outbreaks and hospitalizations on Wednesday. During the week ending Sunday, cases reached a level last seen in late January. The combined figures on Monday and Tuesday are slightly lower than a week ago, but the relatively high percentage of positive tests raises questions about whether the country lacks infections.
So far, three counties have had to increase restrictions due to the growing number of cases. Jefferson County announced Wednesday that it will move from Blue Level to the more restrictive Yellow Level in the recruitment framework on Friday. Most businesses will be limited to 50% of capacity and bars that do not serve food will have to close again.
Summit and Pitkin counties have recently moved to the even more restrictive level of Orange, which limits most companies to 25% of capacity as the number of cases has become too large.
Jefferson County Public Health attributes the need to increase the incidence rate in adults under the age of 40, as well as outbreaks in schools, offices and retailers.
“Unfortunately, we are sliding in the wrong direction and have seen an increase in the incidence of COVID-19 cases, the rate of positive testing and hospitalizations at Jeffco,” said Dawn Comstock, executive director of Jefferson County Public Health, in a news release. “None of us wants to go back on the dial after all the hard work we’ve put in and the sacrifices we’ve made. I urge everyone to stay committed to COVID-19 prevention – wear a mask, keep a distance of 6 feet and avoid collecting. “
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