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Colorado sees 'clear increase' of COVID cases, health officials say

The 7-day average of positive cases in Colorado rose from 7% to 8.5% in the last week.

DENVER — Officials with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) gave an update on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination efforts on Wednesday. 

Speakers included State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy, and COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman.

During the news conference, Herlihy provided the latest data on COVID-19 cases in the state. 

"We have a clear increase in cases statewide," Herlihy said.

The seven-day average of positive cases rose from just under 7% last week, to nearly 8.5%, according to Herlihy.

The age group with the highest increase in cases is between 5 and 11 years old, Herlihy said.

Statewide, there are currently 1,187 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, according to Bookman. 

"We are continuing to move very much in the wrong direction," Bookman said. "While we are still below the high we saw on Dec. 1, 2020 of 1,847, you can see how steep the curve is at this point in time. With the increase in percent of positivity and the concern of increase in cases in the the coming weeks, we are all very concerned at this point about what we are seeing in our hospitals."

The average number of available beds in the state is down to 959 while our COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase, Bookman said.

With Halloween coming up, both Bookman and Herlihy gave some suggestions on celebrating safely:

  • Stay home if you are not feeling well.
  • Medical-grade face masks help with limiting transmission. Costume masks do not work.
  • Smaller gatherings are safer than larger gatherings.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities.

RELATED: What's the timeline for young kids getting COVID shots after FDA panel vote?

It is also important for those celebrating this Halloween to drive safely, Bookman said. Hospitals have seen an increase in trauma cases impacting hospitals, according to Bookman.

The U.S. moved a step closer to expanding COVID-19 vaccinations for millions more children as government advisers on Tuesday endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer's shots for kids ages 5 to 11.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted unanimously, with one abstention, that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 in that age group outweigh any potential risks. That includes questions about a heart-related side effect that's been very rare in teens and young adults despite their use of a much higher vaccine dose.

While children are far less likely than older people to get severe COVID-19, ultimately many panelists decided it's important to give parents the choice to protect their youngsters — especially those at high risk of illness or who live in places where other precautions, like masks in schools, aren't being used.

As booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine get approved for more groups of people, demand for the shot is climbing back up at pharmacies.

The expansion to groups eligible for booster shots and additional efforts to get people their first doses of the vaccine has increased demand from both locally-owned and retail chain pharmacies. 

RELATED: Demand at pharmacies ramps up as COVID-19 vaccine booster shots approved

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