Colorado health experts provide update on COVID-19

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — The state’s positivity rate is inching up as well as overall hospitalizations.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment provided an update on COVID-19 Tuesday morning. They said 20% of available intensive care unit beds are still more than enough capacity to treat COVID patients But they are most concerned about the rise in covid cases among children.

“The rate that we are seeing in 6 to 11 year-olds is actually the highest that rate has been since the beginning of the pandemic,” state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said.

Scott Bookman, COVID-19 Incident Commander, Sarah Hamma, branch chief COVID Community Testing and Vendor Partnerships, and Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist were part of the news conference. Watch the full press conference in the FOX31 NOW player at the bottom of this story.

credit: CDPHE – COVID-19 hospitalizations 8.31.21

As of yesterday, only 800 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado, which is a long way from last year’s statewide peak capacity of 1,800.

According to the conference, COVID-19 continues to rise in Colorado as ICU beds hover around 79.9% capacity. In addition to this, only 40% of the state’s ventilators are currently in use.

The state’s positivity rate has creeped over the 5% mark reaching 6.22%, which follows the trend that began in the middle of summer.

credit: CDPHE – COVID-19 pediatric cases 8.31.21

Pediatric COVID-19 cases are also on the rise across Colorado with the 6-17 age group being the hardest hit. Still, the overwhelming majority of people hospitalized are adults.

To counter the asymptomatic spread of the virus in schools, the K-12 COVID-19 Screening Testing Program is being offered to all private, charter and school districts.

The program would be offered in two formats, the first of which would be the “Full Service” option, which would be entirely facilitated and run by state contractors. The alternative “Direct Ship” option would involve 10 days of training from a state contractor before the process is handed over to the school staff.

Of the 178 school districts in Colorado, 22 have enrolled in the $173 million federally funded program, and 447 schools have opted into the program — 80 of which are in the third and final stage of the required training.

Upon completing the education course, those schools should start weekly testing for all willing students and staff on or after Sept. 7. Parents of students can opt out of this program at any point.

credit: CDPHE – RSV Cases 8.31.21

Separately, a worrying rise in confirmed RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) cases in children seems to have arrived 20 weeks ahead of schedule, when comparing it to a decade-long trend.

“This is unique,” said Herlihy of the irregularity before explaining that the anomaly may be the result of, “a mild season last year.”

This now has state health officials bracing for the potential of a rough influenza season as well.

Colorado is currently using only 17.21% of its daily testing capacity.

Watch the full press conference in the FOX31 NOW player below.

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