Colorado’s COVID, flu, RSV hospitalizations keep falling

Hospitalizations for COVID-19, flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, continued to fall in Colorado this week, and so far there’s no sign of a new wave of illnesses in the making.

Nationwide, COVID-19 hospitalizations peaked in the first week of January. The XBB.1.5 variant is close to establishing dominance nationally, causing an estimated 49% of new cases, but it doesn’t seem to be driving a new surge.

Public health officials are watching the variants, but right now there’s no sign that XBB.1.5 will be able to reverse the declining trajectory in Colorado, said Beth Carlton, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at the Colorado School of Public Health.

That said, the virus is still hospitalizing about three times as many people as flu, and it’s a good idea to get a booster if you haven’t had one recently, she said.

“We’re clearly out of this crisis level of COVID… but it does remain a disease that puts people in the hospital,” she said.

This week’s COVID-19 metrics suggested the virus isn’t spreading as widely in Colorado as it was at the start of the year.

As of Wednesday afternoon:

  • 185 people were hospitalized statewide with COVID-19, down from 196 a week earlier
  • Viral concentrations were trending down in 32 wastewater utilities, trending up in seven and stable in 19
  • 7.5% of tests came back positive over the last seven days, up slightly from 7.4% a week earlier
  • The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had recorded 2,061 new cases in the week ending Sunday, down from 2,734
  • No Colorado counties were considered “high risk,” based on cases and hospitalizations, which was also the case last week
  • 35 counties had “substantial” or “high” transmission, based on cases and test positivity, down from 44 last week

Influenza activity is decreasing nationwide, and dropped to “low” levels in Colorado in the week ending Jan. 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state reported 43 new hospitalizations with flu in the week ending Saturday, which was the lowest level since October.

Hospitalizations of people with RSV in Colorado remained steady, with 48 new admissions in the week ending Saturday. That’s about one-seventh of what they were at the peak in November.

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