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Colorado public health officials say COVID cases continue to rise in children

CDPHE provided an update Friday and said though state COVID-19 cases among adults decrease, the threat grows for those 6-11 and younger.

DENVER — Last week, COVID-19 cases in the state were declining but have since plateaued, and are comparable to the US rate, said public health officials Friday.

According to officials, this is a change, given Colorado has stayed below the country's average for months. 

"Mostly because the US is seeing rates decline at a faster rate than Colorado," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. 

Herlihy and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) COVID-19 Incident Commander Scott Bookman spoke Friday afternoon.

Children aged 6-11 are among those with the highest rates of COVID-19 cases, followed by a rebound in cases for those aged 12-17 and 0-5, officials said.

The state's goal for case positivity rate is below 5%, but Herlihy said Colorado has stayed above that rate for at least the last few months and is increasing. 

"It is concerning to me that we have seen a rise in this percent positivity value in the last week or so," said Herlihy. "So we are going to be watching this data carefully along with our case data, and of course our hospitalization data to see where trends head in the next couple of weeks."

Herlihy also added that case trends were regional -- for the Front Range cases declined, but for the San Luis Valley, the Eastern Plains and southwest Colorado cases are increasing. 

Doctors said Thursday that Colorado is in the stubborn phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cases are going down, but at a slow pace, while 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," said Dr. Michelle Barron, UCHealth Senior Medical Director of Infection Prevention.

"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," said Barron. "So, we’re not going up super high, but we’re definitely not going down quite yet."

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

RELATED: Colorado clinic terminated from CDC's COVID-19 vaccination program

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

Doctors think if the Pfizer vaccine receives emergency use authorization for use in children aged 5-11, 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," said Dr. Carrie Horn, Chief Medical Officer at National Jewish Health.

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