Colorado COVID-19 hospitalizations, positive tests trend up, concerning medical community


DENVER (KDVR) — In the last two to three weeks, COVID-19 positive test results and hospitalizations have steadily increased in Colorado and are starting to cause concerns for doctors and public health experts.

On June 27, 126 people where hospitalized with the coronavirus, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. By July 10, that number had increased 67 percent to 211.

“It’s something to watch,” said Dr. Connie Price, chief medical officer at Denver Health. “We need to take it seriously. We need to watch those trends closely and make sure we’re paying attention and are prepared for any other increases.”

COVID-19 patients at Denver Health recently increased from a low of 10 a few weeks ago, to between 15 and 20 now. That number is still well below the high of about 70 coronavirus patients the hospital was treating during the spring.

This happened shortly after the number of people testing positive for for the virus began to steadily increase about three weeks ago.

According to CDPHE’s three-day average of COVID-19 cases, the recent low was 128 on June 15. As of July 8, it was 370 — an increase of 189 percent.

Despite the increasing trend in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, most patients do not need an intensive care unit bed or ventilator as they did a few months ago

“That’s good,” Price said. “That means they’re less sick. So maybe we’re doing something right.”

Public health experts say Colorado has done a lot right. The state gradually reopened. And many people wear masks and keep their distance.

“No one’s in a great place right now, but we are in a better place than we were at the beginning of this epidemic and hopefully we can avoid catastrophe,” said Dr. Beth Carlton, an assistant professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, who’s also on the state’s COVID-19 modeling team.

Doctors and public health experts said Colorado’s increase in cases is because more people are interacting with each other more often. It could also be that tourists from nearby hot spots – including Arizona and Texas – have increased the spread of the virus here.

“They’re (the states with high COVID-19 numbers) all a warning for us,” Carlton said. “We don’t want to end up where they are. We don’t want to have to shut down again.”

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