‘I’m most worried today’: CDPHE official explains what they know about alarming COVID-19 trends

Coronavirus

DENVER (KDVR) — This week marked new records in Colorado’s COVID-19 numbers. New cases continued to soar, and hospitalizations are at an all-time high with more than 900 confirmed patients as of Friday.

Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says after months of managing the virus effectively, things have taken a serious turn.

“As I think about this pandemic and the eight months I’ve been working on it, I’d say I’m most worried today,” said France.

France says they don’t believe there has been a dramatic change in the population’s behavior in the past few months, and the reason behind the exponential growth is likely several different factors working together.

“I think it’s the cold weather that’s bringing people indoors. Maybe we’re just more involved with work again and we’re more likely to be taking kids to school. We’re just living a little bit more like we’re used to in a time before COVID and we’ve become very tired of all the requirements,” said France.

France says there are also more contagious people walking around, increasing our chances of coming into contact with those individuals. An estimated 1 in 100 people in metro Denver are currently carrying the virus.

State data has not shown a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths tied to the latest surge. France says that data is typically lagging, as it comes at the end of the illness. He expects the death rates will rise over the next few weeks.

“It will take all of us to slow it down. It’s not going to happen if we’re getting together with friends, if we’re gathering with folks for dinners and so forth. We all have to do our part right now,” said France.
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights the success Delaware had in curbing COVID-19 cases using a combination of stay-at-home orders, mask mandates and contact tracing. Colorado also had positive results using similar measures at the start of the pandemic. But state and city officials have indicated they do not want to issue another stay-at-home order if they can avoid it. France says he expects to see more county governments taking steps like issuing curfews, stopping spectator events and encouraging people to stay home when possible as opposed to making it an order.

“We have to step up, each one of us. We need to act and behave accordingly so that over the next three to four weeks, we can have a Thanksgiving with people we live with and not feel so stressed about all the people in the hospital,” said France.

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