Colorado COVID-19 surge an urgent warning for California - Los Angeles Times
Nov 22, 2021 3 mins, 31 secs
Optimistically, new weekly coronavirus cases have become stable statewide; the vaccination rate is higher than in many other states, and there are few signs right now of a big winter surge.

In Colorado, 62.8% of all residents are fully vaccinated, almost identical to California’s 62.7%, according to the U.S.

While Los Angeles County has about six hospitalized COVID-19 patients for every 100,000 residents, Colorado has 27 — a rate not seen in L.A.

In California, health officials estimate that unvaccinated people are seven times likelier to get the coronavirus, 12 times likelier to require hospitalization and nearly 17 times more likely to die.

And in Colorado, 80% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated.

“The burden of the unvaccinated on our healthcare system is truly extraordinary,” Scott Bookman, the Colorado public health department’s COVID-19 incident commander, told reporters in a news briefing.

The surge in Colorado demonstrates how vaccination levels that are good but not exceptional can’t erase the threat of the coronavirus — especially given the continued dominance of the highly transmissible Delta variant, said Dr.

“In fact, one of the striking things this week is that even our most vaccinated state, Vermont, is starting to see an uptick, a surge, of cases,” Bibbins-Domingo said.

“And we are seeing the most growth in hospitalizations and, sadly, COVID deaths, in those parts of the state where we have low vaccination coverage,” Elizabeth Carlton, an environmental epidemiologist and associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, said in an interview.

California’s coronavirus cases top 5 million as hospitalizations continue to drop.

Under the best-case scenarios — if many people get booster shots, counteracting waning immunity — coronavirus cases could remain relatively stable or decline.

cases may be almost as high as the cases we experienced last January,” said Dr.

Still, overall, it’s different from last November, which might portend a milder winter surge in California.

The state’s weekly case rate has declined since the beginning of the month, from 112 cases weekly for every 100,000 residents to 102.

By contrast, during the same span last year — the beginning of a deadly surge — California’s cases rose from 79 to 183 for every 100,000 residents.

Much of Colorado has declined to reinstitute indoor mask mandates since the Delta surge hit, while some of California’s more densely populated areas — including Los Angeles County and much of the San Francisco Bay Area — reinstituted mask orders by mid-summer.

regulators opened COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, expanding the campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising cases.

The disparate approaches may help explain why Colorado’s Delta surge hasn’t ended, while California’s cases have declined significantly.

Colorado is fast approaching its record high in hospitalizations, in which as many as 1,847 COVID-19 patients were being treated on a single day last winter.

By comparison, COVID-19 hospitalizations in California are only about 15% of the peak reported in early January.

The milestone comes as officials urge more residents to get the shots, part of the effort to ward off a feared coronavirus resurgence this winter.

“Hospital capacity is extremely tight,” Jan Malcolm, the Minnesota Department of Health commissioner, said in a statement.

David Scrase, the state’s acting secretary for its Department of Health, said in a news briefing.

In every single facet of care, we are seeing extremely high volumes of patients presenting with influenza-like or COVID-like illness,” Barbara Charles, vice president of San Juan Health Partners, said in a statement.

In California, while COVID-19 hospitalizations have stabilized, they have still flattened at a relatively high rate compared to previous lulls.

Before the summer Delta surge, there were as few as two COVID-19 patients hospitalized for every 100,000 residents; the rate rose to 21 during the summer peak, but since has stabilized at a rate of eight.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said

Even in highly vaccinated San Francisco, health officials have detected a recent uptick in coronavirus cases

But assuming that booster uptake is sufficient, even if hospitalizations rise following an increase in cases, computer models suggest “hospitalizations won’t go up to the degree that our healthcare system would be overwhelmed,” Dr

Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s director of health, said in a news briefing

Gavin Newsom has said he expects California will see increased pressure from COVID-19 this winter


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