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Statewide COVID-19 Modeling Report Shows Slow, Upward Trend Driven by a New Omicron Subvariant

Potential testing demand well within state’s current capacity

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Colorado School of Public Health released an updated statewide modeling report which indicates COVID-19 transmission is on a relatively slow upward trend in Colorado as indicated by percent positivity, wastewater concentration, and hospitalizations. Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 is increasing in predominance and is likely driving the rise with its increased transmissibility over BA.2. This modeling report outlines a broad range of potential scenarios, as considerable uncertainty remains  about  BA.2.12.1.

Projections indicate potential for the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 reaching 500 or higher by mid-June.  This may place some strain on health care systems, but not nearly to the degree experienced during prior surges, because Colorado continues to experience high levels of protection from the most severe outcomes due to vaccinations and previous infections.

Additionally, the report estimates that under the worst case scenario, testing demand will peak at 45-50,000 daily test encounters which is significantly less than during the last surge and within the state’s current testing capacity. 

“While there is still uncertainty around the behavior of omicron subvariants, this latest modeling report provides us with several possible outcomes over the coming months,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. “We are also monitoring trends in multiple states on the East Coast where BA.2.12.1 arrived before we detected it in Colorado, as many of our recent COVID-19 trends have followed closely behind these states in recent months.”

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 here. 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.