Douglas County’s COVID numbers aren’t unusual along the Front Range


DENVER (KDVR) — Front Range counties might vary in their political will to make the kind of decision Douglas County did, but statistically they are fairly similar.

Douglas County jumped off the COVID bus yesterday when its commissioners decided to part with the tri-county health commission – effectively declaring a county-wide end to the global pandemic restrictions.

The residents of Colorado’s 64 other counties may be wondering if or when their own counties might make a similar decision, since Gov. Jared Polis announced counties will be able to make their own restrictions decisions.

In short, the answer is a toss-up according to the three measurements the state COVID dial uses to set restriction levels – one-week incidence rate, one-week positivity rate and consecutive days of stable hospitalizations.

As far as the overall dial restrictions go, Douglas County is in the same Level Yellow category as every other Denver metro county except Arapahoe County.

Douglas County does not stand out as the worst or best Front Range county when Data Desk digs deeper, either.

In some areas, Douglas County’s numbers are worse than most. More Douglas County residents appear to be getting COVID per capita than other Denver metro counties.

One-week incidence measures the number of cases per 100,000 in a given area. Douglas County’s incidence rate is 234.1 cases per 100,000. This is the sixth highest in the state and highest in the ten Denver metro counties.

The same theme shows up in other metrics.

Across the state, over two-thirds of counties have Level Blue or Level Green positivity rates. Only Front Range counties and a handful of other scattered around the state have levels Yellow, Orange or Red.

Positivity rate, the second COVID Dial metric, measures the percentage of tests that come back positive. Douglas County has the third-highest positivity rate in the Denver metro counties at 7.8%.

In other ways, though, Douglas County’s numbers are better than the majority of the Denver metro.

The third COVID dial metrics rates counties on the number of days they have gone with stable or decreasing hospitalizations. The higher the number of days, the better.

However many people are getting COVID, fewer are ending up hospitalized in Douglas County than other counties. In this metric, Douglas County is the fourth-best in the Denver metro, with nine consecutive days of decreasing or stable hospitalizations.

Douglas County’s numbers are near enough to the other Front Range counties’, in any case, to make these ratings general.

Whether better or worse, Douglas County’s relative ranking in the Denver metro dial levels will shift. Each of the three metrics used in restrictions determinations is subject to change up or down with only a few days’ worth of new information.

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