DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment gave an update on Colorado’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday and how the state is distributing its effort to get everyone vaccinated.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist confirmed this afternoon that the state has identified the first India variant. The B.1.617 variant was discovered on Wednesday in Mesa County, however it’s unclear how the virus arrived there since none of the people with the case have traveled.
Dr. Herlihy said that the 7-day average of cases reported in Colorado is decreasing, however, it is too soon to know if it’s a lasting trend and will need several more data to see if numbers are decreasing.
Positive cases among young people are on the rise, especially among the middle school and high school age group. Herlihy said the state is seeing a steady decline among adults.
Currently, Colorado has reached over two million fully vaccinated people in our state, but there has been a steady downward trend of daily doses administered. Kate McIntire, deputy director of the State Vaccine Task Force said the state continues to order all available doses and continue to make the vaccine available to everyone.
Dr. Laura Klein, medical director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at UCHealth Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs joined the press conference to encourage pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Klein said that although the vaccine is new with limited study data, they do have positive data from over 30,000 women, reassuring no signs of pregnancy complications with the vaccine. Klein is encouraging her patients to get vaccinated since she has seen women who get COVID during pregnancy are at higher risk.
Dr. Robert Werthwein joined the press conference to discuss mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the state has seen a 30% increase on the pandemic hotline. Many are calling in with anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide. Werthwein says that one out of four young people are reporting significant stress during the pandemic.
Colorado will soon launch a 3-digit phone number for the National Suicide Prevention lifeline and recently, Governor Polis signed HB 21-1097 to establish a new state behavioral health administration.