Colorado recorded 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and again Monday, raising concerns about hospital capacity over the coming weeks, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday.
Increased testing doesn’t explain the rise, because the percentage of tests coming back positive also has grown. Colorado’s three-day average positivity rate on Tuesday was 5.4%, Polis said. The World Health Organization recommends keeping the positivity rate below 5%, because the higher the rate, the more likely a state or country is missing significant numbers of infections.
“We need to get this under control now,” Polis said. “If this continues, our hospital capacity will be in jeopardy.”
As of Tuesday, 290 people were hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19, which was the highest total since May 31. An average of 79% of regular acute-care beds in Colorado hospitals were in use over the last week, as were 78% of intensive-care beds. The state’s data doesn’t break down how many of the regular and intensive-care beds were used by people with the new coronavirus.
Most people with COVID-19 don’t get sick enough to need hospital-level care until seven to 10 days into their illness, so the full impact of the high number of new cases may not show up for a week.
The Saturday and Monday caseloads are the highest since Colorado has collected reasonably reliable data. In March and April, there may have been more than 4,000 cases per day, but they weren’t found because so few people were tested, Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said at an event Monday.
Polis urged Coloradans to focus on wearing masks, avoiding close contact with others and washing their hands. He didn’t signal support for additional statewide restrictions, saying counties with high numbers of new cases are crafting their own mitigation plans.
Denver and Adams County have seen the highest level of spread in recent days, as restrictions on student gatherings in Boulder County helped bring cases down.
The COVID-19 update started off a news conference about donations to support the restaurant industry and ideas to facilitate outdoor dining in the winter. Polis urged Coloradans to support their local restaurants, while also suggesting they put off group gatherings for a few weeks to allow cases to come down.
“This is an area of individual responsibility,” he said.
This content was originally published here.