Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall, deaths attributed to virus jump

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Colorado fell to their lowest level since late March and the number of new cases remained relatively low as of Tuesday, but deaths directly linked to the new virus jumped.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 26,788 cases of the new coronavirus as of Tuesday, an increase of 211 compared to the previous day. That’s in line with recent days, when newly reported cases fluctuated between 141 and 499.

Total hospitalizations rose to 4,419, but the number of people currently needing treatment for COVID-19 continued to fall. The Colorado Hospital Association reported 268 people were currently hospitalized — the lowest number since March 27.

Death data looked less encouraging, though it’s possible that delayed reporting accounted for some of the increase.

The total number of deaths among people who had COVID-19 increased by 16, to 1,474. Deaths that a medical examiner determined were caused by the virus increased by 43, to 1,228 — which suggests that some of the increase came from additional information about deaths that were previously reported. Confirmation that a death was due to the new virus sometimes doesn’t come in until after the death was first reported, CDPHE spokesman Ian Dickson said.

There’s also a general lag in reporting, which means that new deaths reported by state health officials on a given day didn’t all necessarily occur the day before.

So far, the state reports 190,700 people were tested for the virus, with about 14% testing positive. Officials with the Colorado health department estimated they’re able to identify about half of people who have symptoms of the virus.

About 16.5% of those known to have the virus in Colorado were hospitalized at some point, and 4.6% to 5.5% have died, depending which death total you use. The total number of people who may have had mild symptoms, or none at all, isn’t known, making it difficult to tell how widely the virus has spread or how deadly it is for the average person.

Four hospitals reported they could have staffing shortages in the next week, according to the Colorado Hospital Association, but none said they were short of intensive-care beds or protective equipment like masks.

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