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Colorado coronavirus latest numbers, Dec. 20

The number of people currently hospitalized is 1,293, and the state's seven-day, moving average positivity rate is 7.76%.

COLORADO, USA — There are 1,293 patients currently hospitalized in Colorado as of Dec. 20, and the seven-day, moving average positivity rate fell to 7.76%, according to the latest data from the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

Positivity is an important indicator of the status of COVID-19 in the state. The World Health Organization (WHO) in May 2020 recommended that the positivity rate be at or below 5% to contain the virus.

> Video above: 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli discusses the latest on COVID-19.

Current hospitalization data are also a key metric because they can be an indicator of whether Colorado’s hospital system is being overwhelmed by the virus. In April, hospitalizations peaked at 888 in one day. That number was surpassed Nov. 5, when the number increased to 894, and it climbed through Dec. 2 when hospitalizations peaked just below 2,000. Since then, the number has trended downward.

Data are released each day at 4 p.m. Numbers will be updated each day at that time.

A breakdown of the data and links to related stories can be found below.

What to know right now:

  • 308,890 cumulative cases, up from 306,598 the day prior.       
  • 17,171 cumulative hospitalizations, up from 17,130 the day prior.     
  •  4,368 deaths among those who tested positive for COVID-19, up from 4,339 the day prior. 
  • 3,427 deaths due to COVID-19, the same as the day prior. 
  • Get the latest from CDPHE here.
  • Find vaccination information from CDPHE here
  • Gov. Jared Polis issued an executive order mandating face masks or coverings for anyone in indoor places in public.

> Updates from Dec. 19 can be found here.

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Coronavirus data breakdown

CDPHE reports people 308,890 have tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. That's up from 306,598 the day prior. 

The graphic below shows case growth, which comes from subtracting the total number of cases from the previous day. A moving average helps capture a trend over a period of time. This removes some noise from the day-to-day numbers. The line on the graph is the seven-day moving average of case growth.


Positivity is the number of tests that come back with a COVID-19 result. Above 10% could be an indicator that not enough testing is being done and that only people likely to have COVID are getting tested. The World Health Organization recommended in May 2020 that the positivity rate should be even lower, 5%, to contain the virus.


CDPHE reports:

  • 4,368 deaths among people with COVID-19
  • 3,427 deaths due to COVID-19

The majority of deaths — 54% — are among people over age 80; 24% of deaths occurred in people between ages 70-79, and 12% were in people ages 60-69.

The graph below shows the number of people who have died from COVID-19 based on the date of their death.

On May 15, CDPHE shifted to a death documentation difference that divided into "deaths among cases" and "deaths due to COVID-19." Dr. Rachel Herlihy, a state epidemiologist at CDPHE, said on May 18 that deaths in the "among" category are from those that tested positive for COVID-19 either before or after death. This is done by medical workers on the front line. Deaths in the "due to" category lag and stem from death certificates that the Centers for Disease Control codes and then sends to CDPHE. On the CDPHE website, it explains the two categories should not be on the same timeline because of reporting differences.


Of those who tested positive for the disease, a total of 17,171 cumulative hospitalizations have been reported.

As of Dec. 20, 1,293 patients were hospitalized with the disease, according to the most recent data from the Colorado Hospital Association. Within the last 24 hours, 132 patients had been transferred or discharged.

(Note: 88% of facilities reported data as of Dec. 20.)

The graph below shows the number of people currently hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis and the number of people who have been discharged or transferred within 24 hours. This is a key metric because it can be an indicator of whether or not Colorado’s hospital system is being overwhelmed by the virus.


According to CDPHE, 2,034,633 tests have been administered and all 64 counties have reported cases.     

This graph shows the total number of tests processed each day.