Aug 18, 2023 - COVID

Colorado health officials watching COVID cases closely as hospitalizations rise in the U.S.

Change in COVID-19 hospitalization rate
Data: CDC; Note: Change in average weekly rate at a sample of 6,000 hospitals from June 4 to July 1 and July 2-29, 2023; Map: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Serious cases of COVID-19 in Colorado have remained low throughout the summer, but it may not stay that way for long.

Driving the news: COVID hospitalization rates across the state fell 11% between June and July, despite signs of a late summer wave sweeping much of the U.S., Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report.

Yes, but: State health officials tell us COVID cases are now rising again and they have seen a "slight uptick" in hospitalizations this month.

  • Colorado's current average admissions per week are hovering around 71, up from 62 hospitalizations per week in July.

What they're saying: Doctors are watching case numbers closely, particularly as back-to-school season gears up, Carrie Horn, chief medical officer at National Jewish Health in Denver, told Fox31 earlier this month.

  • "I think we are going to see things increase a little bit more as school starts back up again. You are putting a lot of people and kids in classrooms together," she said.

The big picture: A new variant, EG.5 or "Eris," is now the dominant strain in the U.S., according to CDC estimates — though it's unclear if it's directly responsible for the rising numbers.

  • The average COVID-19 hospitalization rate nationwide rose about 17% from June to July, per the latest available CDC data.

The bottom line: There's no sign we're headed for anything like the waves of the peak pandemic era. But it's still an alarming trend, and a reminder that COVID will remain a public health concern for the foreseeable future.

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