Deaths in Colorado caused by COVID-19 rise by 4 as hospitalizations reach new post-peak low

After two straight days with no new deaths caused by COVID-19 reported to Colorado’s health department, the state’s tally inched up by four Monday, while the number of fatalities among people who had the coronavirus — even if it didn’t directly kill them — rose by 13.

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The deaths announced by Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment each day did not necessarily occur in the past 24 hours, as there can be a lag of days or even weeks in reporting them to the state. That’s particularly true for those whose death certificates show they died from the COVID-19 respiratory disease.

State health officials recently began reporting the number of people who died who had been infected by the virus, and not necessarily killed by it, as well as those whose deaths have been directly attributed to COVID-19.

As of Monday, 1,458 people with the coronavirus had died in Colorado and 1,185 deaths were directly caused by COVID-19.

Hospitalizations of coronavirus patients continue to drop, with 272 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado, the lowest level since March 26 — a new low from the state’s mid-April peak, when more than 200 people were being hospitalized with the virus every day.

All told, 4,372 people have been hospitalized for COVID-19 since the virus was first confirmed in the state in early March. And 30 coronavirus patients have been discharged or transferred to a lower level of care in the last 24 hours.

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State data also shows that 318 of Colorado’s 1,093 available ventilators are in use, and that none of the hospitals surveyed expected shortages of personal protective equipment or intensive care unit beds in the next week. Four facilities did expect staffing shortages.

Private facilities and the state-run lab tested 5,069 people on Sunday, a drop after several days of high testing levels that brings Colorado’s daily testing rate to 89 tests per 100,000 people per day. That’s much lower than the 152 tests per 100,000 people level that health officials say is needed to understand where the virus is spreading.

To date, 26,577 people have tested positive for or are believed to have COVID-19 in Colorado, though health officials say they believe the true number is much higher.

Officials also have confirmed outbreaks at 282 contained facilities across the state, including nursing homes, jails and factories — one more than the previous day.

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