DENVER (CN) — Colorado is tracking a small increase in Covid-19 cases, adding up to a seven-day average of 294 daily infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Health officials compare this rate to infections tracked during the fall of 2020.
“It’s too early right now to know whether this is a true change in trajectory, but it could potentially signal we are going to see an increase in cases,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy in a Monday press conference.
Herlihy noted other states have reported similar increases along with the spread of the BA.2 subvariant of omicron.
About 21% of the Centennial State’s cases were attributed to the BA.2 subvariant. Nationally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates BA.2 is behind half of current Covid-19 cases. The subvariant appears to be more infectious that its predecessor, though it does not seem particularly adept at infecting people who are vaccinated or were previously infected and does not cause a more severe disease.
Although the CDC is also reporting Colorado as having the nation’s second highest infection rates, Herlihy cautioned the data is not all up to date.
“The way Colorado data is being reported on the CDC website includes backfill data,” Herlihy explained. “There are some challenges with how Colorado data is being shown as we work through a backlog of data from past omicron cases.”
Hospitalization rates also remain low, according to state data.
Toward the end of 2021, hospitals across Colorado enacted emergency protocols as nearly 20% of hospital beds were occupied by Covid patients, along with more than 90% of ventilators. As of Tuesday, Covid patients occupy only 2% of available hospital beds in the state.
More than two-third of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 are unvaccinated.
Fewer than 1 million individuals remain unvaccinated in Colorado and more than 2 million have received recommended booster doses. The state continues to host mobile vaccine clinics and encourages Coloradans who received their second shot of Pfizer or Moderna more than five months ago to receive a booster.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended on Tuesday adults 50 and up obtain a second booster — or fourth dose — if four months have passed since their last shot. Individuals who are immunosuppressed may also receive another shot.
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from Covid-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in a statement. “Additionally, the data show that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of Covid-19.”
Pfizer and Moderns are expected to submit data to the FDA in April supporting vaccines for children between 6 months and 4 years old.
To date, Colorado has reported 1.3 million cases of Covid-19 and 12,972 deaths. Nationwide, the virus has infected nearly 80 million Americans and taken 976,000 lives.
In 2020, Covid-19 became the third leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau found the national death rate increased nearly 19% between 2019 and 2020 as the first infections of Covid-19 spread across the nation. The death rate increased only 0.82% between 2020 and 2021.
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