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Colorado sees highest COVID hospitalizations since January, while cases slowly decrease

Doctors say Colorado is in the stubborn phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are going down, but slowly. Hospitalizations are at a plateau.

DENVER — Doctors say Colorado is in the stubborn phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are going down, but at a slow pace. Hospitalizations are at a plateau.

“We certainly had been seeing some of our numbers go up and down, but never significant enough to say that we’re in decline. I would say if you look at both UCHealth numbers as well as those across the state, I’d say we’re more of at a plateau. So, we’re not going up super high, but we’re definitely not going down quite yet,” Dr. Michelle Barron, UC Health Senior Medical Director of Infection Prevention, said.

There are more than 900 patients hospitalized statewide as of Wednesday. That's the highest number of patients hospitalized since January.

Doctors at local hospitals say they don’t expect to see a sharp decline in both cases and hospitalizations like before.

"Early in the pandemic, we all talked about flattening the curve. And flattening the curve. And we did that this time. There's actually a smoother slope up and smoother slope down. So, it's coming down. It's just taking its time,” said Dr. Carrie Horn, Chief Medical Officer at National Jewish Health.

> Video: Pfizer requests emergency use authorization for vaccine for kids 

Doctors think if the Pfizer vaccine receives emergency use authorization for use in kids ages 5 to 11, it could control transmission, especially with the delta variant. But it could also potentially prevent the next surge.

“Getting the younger kids vaccinated is going to have more of an effect on future surges and bumps as opposed to really changing the dynamics of the current one that we’re on,” Horn said.

RELATED: Pfizer asks US to allow COVID shots for kids ages 5 to 11

Roughly a third of our hospitals are worried about potential staffing shortages soon, and a quarter are worried about ICU bed space. Doctors continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, including parents who may be on the fence about their kids if Pfizer gets approval.

"We strongly encourage individual parents to get their children vaccinated," Barron said. "It will limit the spread. It limits days out of school. Limits schools from having to close because of all of this. And the good news is that when this becomes available, if you want to get the flu shot at the same time or any other vaccine that they need to get up to date on."

The FDA has scheduled a meeting on Oct. 26, to discuss the vaccine for kids. If the FDA gives the okay, it will be up to the CDC to make a recommendation. They're expected to make that decision around the end of the month.

RELATED: Colorado schools change approach to combating COVID

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