DENVER (KDVR) — Denver is in a new phase of a new COVID phasing system, but that does not necessarily warrant immediate panic.
The city was placed into the “yellow” section of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new Community Level indicators.
The new system focuses on hospital space and community transmission, unlike earlier models that focused on metrics like positivity rates and daily cases.
“It’s really looking at the pandemic in a different way,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy. “With omicron and these newer subvariants that have emerged, we’re certainly seeing cases occurring, but we’re also, in general, seeing milder illness. Some of that is we have a highly vaccinated population at this point that’s protected against severe disease, but we also have a large number of individuals who have been infected already.”
A new modeling report shows Colorado will experience some kind of upswing in the number of COVID-related hospitalizations in the coming months. Herlihy said the state’s immunity levels will keep it from reaching the heights of previous surges, although a surge of hospitalizations could strain the healthcare system.
State records show most Coloradans, previously infected or not, have been vaccinated. In most eligible age groups, a majority of Coloradans are not only vaccinated with one or more shots but vaccinated with boosters.
In Colorado, 82% of people over the age of five have gotten at least one vaccine. Nearly all Coloradans age 65 and older (96.6%) have gotten at least one shot, and nearly three-quarters (73.8%) have gotten boosters.
With 1.4 million cases statewide throughout the pandemic, it is impossible to determine how many Coloradans have immunity from previous infections. Statewide counts can’t account for the number of breakthrough cases and reinfections.
Still, Herlihy said previous infections have added to the state’s overall immunity but insists vaccination is still the best tool.