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New Statewide Modeling Report Projects Continued Increase of Cases

Level of immunity in Colorado projected to prevent high wave

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado School of Public Health released an updated statewide modeling report estimating approximately 1 in 375 Coloradans are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2. While that number is low compared to previous times in the pandemic, the state is experiencing a slight increase in COVID-19 cases due to the increasing prevalence of BA.2 subvariants. Over the past month, BA.2 has become the dominant variant in the United States and Colorado, and there are now signs that SARS-CoV-2 infections may be increasing in Colorado as percent positivity and detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater have ticked upwards in recent weeks.

Hospitalizations in Colorado are starting to show a slight increase. This aligns with the modeling report’s projection that BA.2 may cause an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the next three months, though the peak is expected to be considerably lower than prior peaks.  

“We continue to believe there is a high level of community immunity and protection from severe disease in Colorado due to vaccination and prior infection, and this should help protect Colorado from a surge of severe illness,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist. “However, the spread of the BA.2 variant may cause an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the next few months.”

The report also considers the potential impact of future variants on case and hospitalization rates. The severity of a future surge driven by a new variant depends on characteristics of the variant such as how easily it spreads from person to person, whether it causes milder disease or more severe disease, and how much protection people who are vaccinated or previously infected have against the new variant.   

The best protection against all variants of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated with all recommended doses of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone, regardless of vaccine status, who experiences symptoms should get tested immediately and isolate while waiting for test results.

If someone in Colorado tests positive for COVID-19, they might be eligible for therapeutic treatment. These treatments work best when they are administered as soon as possible. CDPHE has the latest information on therapeutics and what might work for those that test positive for COVID-19 (and are at risk for getting very sick) on our website. People who test positive should notify people they’ve been in close contact with, especially those who are at high risk of severe illness, so they can take steps to protect themselves and the people they are in contact with.

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group that works with the state on modeling projections. The group includes modeling scientists at ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.