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A test tube containing a patient sample awaiting testing for the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Colorado health officials on Friday warned that the state could set a new record for coronavirus hospitalizations as soon as Nov. 10 with the disease continuing its rapid spread.

As of Friday, 663 people were hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19, the highest level since May 4. Hospitalizations have been steadily rising since Oct. 17.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


The state’s peak coronavirus hospitalizations count was reached on April 14 at 888 after the pandemic first took hold in Colorado.

“There is a small window to improve transmission control over the next few weeks,” Dr. Jonathan Samet, dean of the Colorado School of Public Health, said in a written statement. “To limit increasing infections and avoid peaks that could strain healthcare capacity over the next three months, a substantial increase in transmission control is needed.”

If the trend isn’t abated, Colorado could surpass its intensive-care unit capacity in January, or even as soon December if people gather over the holidays and don’t abide by mask-wearing and social-distancing guidelines, health officials warn.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says its modeling shows that approximately one out of every 219 Coloradans are currently infectious with COVID-19. The state’s “R-naught” value is thought to be 1.6, meaning that each person who contracts coronavirus is spreading it to 1.6 others.

“This implies that the probability of encountering an infected person in the population is higher than it was at any point this summer,” an agency news release said.

Colorado’s daily case count is higher than it’s been at any time during the pandemic. Over the past seven days about 7% of people tested have tested positive for COVID-19.

To combat the increase in cases, some counties have enacted additional restrictions to limit people’s movement and try to halt gatherings. Denver and Pitkin counties, for instance, now mandate that people not get together in groups larger than five.

Statewide, CDPHE last week ordered gatherings to be limited to 10 people from no more than two separate households.

Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar this week enacted a two-week curfew started Friday in an attempt to slow coronavirus’ spread. Puebloans are barred from leaving their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills in on breaking news coverage....