Colorado not seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases
With dramatic spikes in COVID cases across the country, Colorado remains a few short steps ahead of the virus -- but those gains could easily be reversed, health officials warn.
Colorado remains among the states not seeing a significant rise in cases, even as more businesses reopen, with
the latest to do so in June. The state's three-day moving average, even with an uptick last week, remains well below numbers from late March through May, and dropped again below 200 Sunday after climbing above it the previous four days.
Deaths among COVID cases continue to fall, with no deaths reported June 18, 19 and 21. Hospitalizations and ventilator use remain well under the state's mid-April peak.
"We've come a long way since the pandemic first started," said Kimberly Pattison, the communicable disease program manager for the El Paso County Health Department.
However, there are some cautionary signs that Colorado could lose ground with a few missteps. The Denver Post reports that last week is the first week since late April to see cases rise. Boulder County reported its largest spike in cases since March, with the student parties taking a large share of the blame, and El Paso County
among staff at a summer camp that had been planning to open next month.
Over the weekend, Gov. Jared Polis extended the state's emergency declaration in response to the uptick in cases.
"Coloradans have done a great job wearing masks when leaving the house, staying physically distant from others, and washing our hands, but we are only a few short steps ahead of the virus and we need to do better. The data is now starting to show a reversal of some of our gains; the three-day moving average for cases is now going up in our state,” Polis said Saturday. "This emergency extension helps Colorado further support our response efforts and remain prepared in the face of this global pandemic. I encourage all Coloradans to stay vigilant and we will get through this together.”
He also signed a spate of coronavirus relief bills Monday designed to allocate funds for those who need help, including food pantry assistance and support for small businesses.
For now, Pattison says the situation remains manageable in El Paso County, which averaged 22 new cases a day last week.
"We definitely still have COVID-19 with us, and it’s still very important for us to be taking those prevention measures. ... With Safer at Home, we have seen an increase in cases, and we've seen an increase in the number of contacts per case, but we've also been able to match that with the capacity of our health department to respond quickly to those cases, and the capacity of our hospitals to be taking good care of those patients."
She and other county and state health officials urge the public to continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing and practicing good hygiene.
"We haven’t gotten to the finish line yet," Pattison warned. "There’s still a long way to go before we can say that there’s not as high of a risk for COVID-19 in the community.”