Colorado’s COVID-19 hospital admissions continue to increase as outbreaks soar

COVID-related hospital admissions in Colorado rose again on Wednesday, reaching levels last seen in mid-February, while increasing coronavirus outbreaks also pointed to greater spread of the virus.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that 450 people were hospitalized statewide with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 as of Wednesday afternoon. The last time many people were hospitalized because of the virus was February 19.

While hospitalizations are still stable or going down in most parts of the state, four counties saw them increase in at least half the days in the past two weeks: Larimer, Adams, Pueblo and Douglas. In Pueblo, the number of hospital admissions has increased by 11 in the past 14 days.

The number of hospital admissions to COVID-19 had declined from early December to February, was at a low ebb for most of March, and started to rise again this week. While experts don’t think hospitals are in danger of running out of space, a relatively large increase is an undesirable sign that vaccines have not yet expelled the virus from Colorado.

Active coronavirus outbreaks also increased, up about 8% in the past week, according to state data released Wednesday. That brings them back to roughly the same level as in mid-March, ending a string of 15-week declines.

The number of outbreaks in schools decreased, but the number of outbreaks related to childcare, restaurants, bars and manufacturing facilities increased. An outbreak is two or more cases related to the same location or event, and four weeks must pass with no new cases before it is considered over.

“As the number of cases has increased in the state in recent weeks, we have also seen an increase in the number of reported outbreaks,” Jessica Bralish, communications director for the state health service, said in a press release. “We encourage Coloradans to get tested if they show symptoms or suspect they have been exposed to COVID-19. Through testing, the state can monitor the spread of COVID-19 and we can reduce outbreaks and increase disease transmission. “

The trajectory of the cases was less clear as of Wednesday than that of outbreaks and hospitalizations. In the week ending Sunday, cases reached a level last seen in late January. Monday and Tuesday’s combined numbers are slightly lower than a week ago, but the relatively high percentage of tests that return positive raises questions about whether the state is missing infections.

So far, three provinces have had to increase restrictions due to the increasing number of cases. Jefferson County announced on Wednesday that it will move from Level Blue to the more restrictive Level Yellow on the state’s dial frame on Friday. Most businesses will be limited to 50% capacity and bars that don’t serve food will have to close again.