Pandemic in Colorado seeing fifth wave, health experts say


DENVER (KDVR) — Health experts in the metro area keeping an eye on COVID hospitalization numbers as some say we are in the middle of a “fifth wave.”

“The epidemic has been worsening in Colorado since July,” Dr. Jonathan Samet, the dean of Colorado School of Public Health said.

Samet stated that, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 83% of patients in the hospital battling COVID are unvaccinated.

“We track the hospitalizations closely. It went above our April 2020 peak and was in the 900s. Over the last three days, I’ts dropped,” Samet said.

Here are the main reasons why he said the state is seeing an increase in COVID hospitalizations:

  • Kids are back in school
  • People are going about with their regular activities
  • Mask policies are different throughout the state
  • Unvaccinated people

Samet said the Delta variant is essentially causing all the cases in Colorado.

UCHealth also is seeing its fair share of unvaccinated COVID patients. As of Sept. 16, 265 people were hospitalized for COVID. Out of the 265, 227 are not vaccinated. Out of the 98 COVID cases in the ICU, 87 of those patients are unvaccinated. Out of 86 patients on ventilators, 78 are unvaccinated.

“I think this is the sound of health care grinding to a halt yet again,” Dr. Richard Zane, the chief innovation officer and chief of emergency medicine at UCHealth said.

He said with COVID numbers rising again and just regular day-to-day patients, health care workers are exhausted.

“When you look at COVID numbers, you would say December would have been the worst peak, but right now is the worst time we’ve seen it in the pandemic because of everything happening at the same time,” Zane said.

He stated people who are unvaccinated are putting other patients at risk.

“Everything is busier than April. Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer — everything is busy, and COVID patients are preventing us from caring for those patients,” Zane said.

He also stated they will be extending their hours at vaccine clinics in hopes of getting more people vaccinated, the demand for vaccines because of work place mandates and booster or third shots.

Four large community vaccination sites will provide additional capacity from Sept. 20-30 to meet potential increase in demand as deadlines for employer-mandated vaccines approach. Each site will be able to accommodate up to 1,000 doses per day. The state mobile vaccination program will provide buses, staff, and supplies at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Aurora Municipal Center, Southwest Plaza in Littleton, and Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs.

Large community vaccination site information:

  • Aurora – Aurora Municipal Center
    • Location: 15151 E. Alameda Pkwy, Aurora, CO 80012
    • Drive-through clinic
    • Hours of operation: 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.
    • Register online for an appointment
  • Littleton – Southwest Plaza Mall
    • Location: 8501 W. Bowles Ave, Littleton, CO 80123
    • Drive-through clinic
    • Hours of operation: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
    • Register online for an appointment
  • Colorado Springs – Chapel Hills Mall 
    • Location: 1710 Briargate Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
    • Walk-in clinic
    • Hours of operation: 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
    • Register online for an appointment 
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods Park parking lot
    • Location: 6000 Victory Way, Commerce City, CO 80022, Lot F 9/20-22, Lot H 9/23-9/30
    • Walk-up clinic
    • Hours of operation: 11 a.m. -9  p.m.
    • Register online for an appointment

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