DENVER — Colorado reported a slight decrease in COVID-19 cases over the last week among all age groups while the state continues to see a gradual increase in hospitalizations, particularly among the unvaccinated, state health officials said on Wednesday.
“It’s an unclear trend to me at this point,” Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said. “We don’t really know where this trend is heading. It’s certainly an early decline in cases and so I want to urge some caution in interpreting this decline that we’re seeing.”
Herlihy said the next several weeks are key in determining where the state's COVID trends are headed.
“I’m feeling pretty uncertain right now if we’re going to see a plateau, see a decline or potentially see an increase once again in cases," Herlihy said.
That vast majority of COVID-related hospitalizations are happening among the adult population, with a small amount of cases being reported in pediatric populations, Herlihy said. As of Sept. 15, 886 adults are hospitalized with the virus, compared to six cases in the 0-11 age group and another six cases in the 12-17 population.
Of the 898 people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 in the state, CDPHE COVID Incident Commander Scott Bookman said 745 patients are not fully vaccinated.
“I want to empathize again the stress that our healthcare system is currently facing because of those who are not vaccinated and who are winding up getting COVID and winding up hospitalized,” Bookman said.
About 85% of ICU bed are currently occupied and almost 80% of the state’s medical and surgical beds are occupied, Bookman said. The number of pediatric ICU beds available remains stable.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) said Monday that 2.4% of Coloradans have received a COVID-19 booster shot.
Polis said the state is prepared to roll out a booster shot campaign next week if it gets approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before then. Pfizer is reportedly expected to get approval by the initial Sept. 20 deadline announced by President Joe Biden, but Moderna will likely be delayed due to lack of data.
On Monday, Polis shared his frustrations with the lack of guidance the agency has given to J&J vaccine recipients. Bookman said Colorado has spent months preparing for the booster campaign to begin.
Lt. Col. Jamie Pieper, Colorado National Guard and senior advisor for COVID-19 vaccination said the CDC estimated 75% of people who got their second shot will get their booster. Colorado leaders are planning for more than that to get their third shot.
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