Colorado hospitalizations increasing more sharply than predicated


The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and the Colorado School of Public Health released an updated modeling report showing hospitalizations from SARS-CoV-2 are increasing more sharply than last week’s projections. Keeping hospitals at or below demand capacity will require substantial and rapid action to prevent transmission. People should only interact with members of their own household, avoid gatherings, stay home when they are sick, wash their hands, physical distance, and wear a mask.

Colorado has now reached the greatest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations we have had to date, exceeding our peak in April. We reached this even faster than the modeling predicted. If the epidemic curve is not bent, Colorado could surpass intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in late December instead of January as reported in last week’s modeling report. If contacts increase over the holidays (for example, due to gatherings between multiple households), surge capacity could be required in mid-December, unless transmission is reduced.

The latest modeling provides projections based on COVID-19 hospital census data through November 2, 2020. The models are based on Colorado data and assumptions based on the current state of the science.

Key findings from the report: Hospitalizations continue to rapidly increase. On the current trajectory the limits of current ICU capacity may be reached in late December. If spread of infections increase over the holidays due to, for example, social gatherings, ICU capacity could be exceeded in mid-December.

Avoiding peaks in infections and hospital demand over the next two months will require a substantial and rapid increase in transmission control. The magnitude and timing of reductions in transmission will determine the severity of COVID-19 in Colorado in the months ahead.

The probability of encountering an infected person in the population is higher than it was at any point since SARS-CoV-2 arrived in Colorado. In some counties, like Denver, the virus is spreading even faster at a rate of approximately 1 in 100 Coloradans.

The state will continue to review data and model findings as the pandemic continues to inform policy decisions.

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