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Latest COVID-19 numbers: Case growth shows signs of slowing as hospitalizations continue climbing

Here are the numbers for how many vaccines have been distributed in Colorado, how many new cases of COVID have been reported, and current hospitalizations.

DENVER — A total of 68.6% of Colorado's population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 61.7% is fully vaccinated, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). 

Statewide, there are 1,565 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Nov. 22, and there have been an average of 2,803 new cases of the virus per day over the last seven days.

Hospitalizations are a key metric for health officials since they indicate whether the healthcare system is being overwhelmed by the virus. Since vaccines have become widely available, doctors have said the vast majority of new COVID-19 hospitalizations are people who have not received a shot. 

> See the raw data from CDPHE here.

> Find the latest information about COVID-19 vaccines here. 

Variants

Over the last week that data was collected, 100% of tested COVID-19 samples were the delta variant. 

See more data from CDPHE about variants here.

The delta variant, first detected in India, is more contagious and may cause more severe illness then the original strain of COVID-19.

Public health officials said while there is a slight decrease in vaccine efficacy with the delta variant, there is still a lot of protection since the level of protection was so high to start with.

Infectious disease specialists also said for the smaller number of breakthrough cases, that most of them are asymptomatic or mild symptoms.

Vaccines

Everyone in Colorado who is 5 years old or older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Of those who are currently eligible, 81.32% have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 73.12% are fully vaccinated, according to CDPHE data. 

(Editor's note: It does not appear this percentage includes the newly-eligible 5 to 12 year olds)

An estimated 429,801 Coloradans are younger than 5 and are currently not eligible to receive a vaccine.

Health officials have previously said that around 70% of the total population would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.  

The pie chart below shows Colorado's vaccination progress: 

Colorado received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 14. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in December authorized emergency use for both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Both were shown to be around 95% effective in clinical trials and require two doses. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine was granted emergency use authorization on Feb. 27. It was shown to be 86% effective at preventing severe disease and requires one dose.

The Pfizer vaccine is the one shot that has been approved for children between 5 and 17. 

Hospitalizations 

The graph below, which is updated weekly, shows the number of people currently hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis. 

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.

On Nov. 17, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Incident Commander Scott Bookman said there are fewer available hospital beds than at any other point during the pandemic. The state is working to add a capacity of about 500 hospital beds by mid-December. Those beds will be in existing facilities and will not be in so-called field hospitals.

They're also working with federal officials to bring in two more FEMA teams in addition to the one team that's already on the ground in Pueblo. Some health-care systems are also bringing in staff from other states to help with increased demand here due to the surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations, Bookman said.

On Oct. 31, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order allowing the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to order hospitals and freestanding emergency departments to stop admitting or transfer patients as capacities are threatened amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The order applies to hospitals that have reached capacity or are anticipated to reach capacity and is intended to "ensure that Coloradans have adequate health care while protecting hospitals' ability to serve people with COVID-19 and other conditions."  

In the week of Oct. 31, the hospitalization rate among people who are fully vaccinated was 4.8 COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 people, according to CDPHE. The case hospitalization rate among people who are not vaccinated was 47.4 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during the same week.

Cases

See a graph of new cases by day below. 

This chart is updated weekly.  

In the week of Nov. 7, the the case incidence rate among people who are fully vaccinated was 183.2 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according to CDPHE. The case incidence rate among people who are not vaccinated was 663.3 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people during the same week.

The number of new cases reported in a single day peaked on Nov. 12, with 6,801 Coloradans testing positive for COVID-19.

Positivity  

See Colorado's latest positivity rate in the graphic below.

This chart is updated weekly.

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.

Fatalities 

CDPHE reports there have been: 

  • 8,951 deaths among people with COVID-19
  • 8,951 deaths due to COVID-19

It's worth mentioning that deaths are a lagging metric, meaning that there are often multiple days between when someone dies and when that information is distributed to health officials.

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