Colorado’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and a public health agency has warned its constituents that they should consider taking precautions again.
San Juan Basin Public Health, which serves La Plata and Arculeta counties, urged residents to make sure they are up to date on their vaccines and boosters, and to consider masking in public if they develop severe COVID-19. Are at high risk of 19.
The virus concentration in Durango’s wastewater has more than doubled in 16 days, the last seen in early February, the department said in a news release.
While fewer people are vulnerable to serious illness than ever before, it’s still a good idea to take some precautions as cases rise, said Talia Quandlessi, MD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health.
“Because of the potential long-term consequences, preventing infection is still really important,” she said.
Data from the state’s Wastewater Monitoring Dashboard showed virus levels compared to late December, when the Omicron version was starting in Boulder, Broomfield and the Platt/Central System, which serves Denver and much of eastern Jefferson County. Is.
Quandelsey said the wastewater figures make it clear that infections are on the rise, but it is not accurate enough to say that Durango now has the same number of people infected as it was in February.
Because infected people release the virus in their stool even when they don’t have symptoms, testing wastewater suggests infection in people who are not tested. But it’s also a “snapshot,” and can be skewed as people move in and out of a community, she said.
“It’s useful to use that as a proxy that more people are getting infected,” she said.
Statewide, cases rose by nearly 31% over the previous week, with 7,299 new COVID-19 infections confirmed in the week ending Sunday.
The percentage of tests coming back positive also kept increasing. Colorado’s positivity rate averaged 7.45% for the week ended Tuesday. While it is not as bad as the worst in January, it indicates that the state may not have a complete picture of how widespread the virus is.
Active outbreaks in Colorado nursing homes and assisted living facilities, which have been bellwethers in previous waves, rose from 33 to 98. This wiped out almost a month and a half of progress. However, the outbreak decreased in schools and remained relatively stable in other settings.
There was a slight increase in the hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 in Colorado, however, from 110 last week to 116 on Tuesday. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates hospitalization data once a week, which makes it difficult to see patterns.
Colorado is fortunate that hospitalizations are not increasing as rapidly as they are in some northeastern states, Quandlessi said. It is not clear whether this is due to some difference in who is getting infected – if the virus happened to kill uninfected people or has not been promoted in some places – or if it may reflect that BA.2.12 The .1 version is more prevalent there.
It is clear that BA.2.12.1 is more contagious than its cousin variant, but there is not yet much data on whether it is more severe or better able to evade the immune system, she said.
Colorado still ranks low under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new COVID-19 framework, which emphasizes hospitalization. However, much of New York and New England is at a moderate or high level.
“It’s really suggesting that people are getting sick, and sick enough to go to the hospital, in some of these places,” Quandlessi said.
Nationwide cases are at their end-July levels, according to data compiled by The New York Times. Barring 12 states, the number of hospitalizations has increased in all the states, but so far it has reached the level of early July. Admissions to intensive care units for the virus remain near an all-time low, although they have ticked up in recent days.
On Wednesday, the American Hospital Association and other health trade groups called on the US Department of Health and Human Services to reinstate the COVID-19 public health emergency. The emergency declaration gives health care providers more flexibility, and allows people covered by Medicaid to remain enrolled without having to prove their eligibility again.
“We understand that Americans are disappointed by the pandemic and its resulting public health measures. Health care providers and other health care infrastructure across the country have also been exhausted,” the letter said. “However, we have learned that COVID-19 and its variants take full advantage when we let our guard down.”