UCHealth doc ‘cautiously optimistic’ about COVID-19 trends at the end of holiday season

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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s COVID-19 numbers continue to trend in the right direction at the tail-end of the holiday season, despite preparations for a potential surge.

“It is very much on our minds about the potential post-holiday surge. I would say that we’re not going to breath easy and really feel that we’ve turned a corner until probably three weeks into January,” said Dr. Jean Kutner, Chief Medical Officer at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital.

Gov. Jared Polis ordered hospitals to prepare a surge plan that would increase capacity in the event of a post-Thanksgiving spike in COVID-19 cases. Most numbers have trended downward since the Thanksgiving holiday, including hospitalizations, new cases and positivity rates for testing. Dr. Kutner says that’s likely the result of the public health measures that were put in place ahead of the holiday season.

“I would say people are cautiously optimistic. We are so relieved and thank everybody, because this is really the hard work of everybody out there doing what they can, keeping socially distanced, wearing masks and hand washing,” said Kutner.

According to data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the three-day average positivity rate dropped to 5.89% this week, marking the lowest point since mid-October. 

Kutner says they still have a surge plan in place in the event that case numbers start to tick up but the holiday impact won’t be known for several weeks. 

“We can do this. We can stick with it for another few months until enough people get vaccinated that it really makes a difference on transmission,” said Kutner.

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