COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado reach highest level since late January

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FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the virus that causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. Some political leaders are hailing a potential breakthrough in the fight against COVID-19: simple pin-prick blood tests or nasal swabs that can determine within minutes if someone has, or previously had, the virus. But some scientists have challenged their accuracy. (NIAID-RML via AP)

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado passed a COVID-19 milestone on Aug. 25, regressing to the same number of hospitalizations the state saw in late January.

The highly transmissible virus strain known as the delta variant and generally looser public health restrictions have led to some of the highest case rates the state has seen since the pandemic’s height.

As of Aug. 25, there were 680 confirmed COVID patients in Colorado hospitals. The last time there were this many COVID patients in hospitals was Jan. 18, as the Centennial State was coming out of the 2020 third wave.

This marks the first time the state’s COVID hospitalizations have surpassed the patient number from a spring wave that peaked in May. At its highest point, the spring COVID wave produced 679 hospitalizations.

Even though hospitalizations are at a new high, death rates have thankfully kept well below the rates they maintained during the early 2021 caseload. On Jan. 18, there were an average 18 daily deaths. Now there are only four.

Despite relatively low death rates, though, cases appear to be breaking through COVID vaccines at a higher rate due to the more transmissible delta variant.

According to state data, the breakthrough rate for both cases and hospitalizations has gone up over the summer.

According to CDPHE, 21.9% of the cases in July were fully vaccinated people. From Aug. 8-14, the rate went up to 26.8%.

Among those cases in fully vaccinated people, the rate of breakthrough hospitalizations grew from 12% to 16.7% over the same period of time.

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