Declining transmission control in the Colorado SARS-CoV-2 model and rapidly increasing hospitalizations signal Colorado is at a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic

Oct. 23, 2020 – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado School of Public Health released a new modeling report based on recent data showing hospitalizations from SARS-CoV-2 are increasing rapidly across the state. To avoid increasing infections and strain on hospitals over the next three months, a substantial increase in transmission control will be needed. 

The Colorado modeling report uses a new “transmission control” indicator to describe the collective impact of all policies and behaviors designed to mitigate the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Transmission control captures ALL behavioral and policy changes in response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic including mask wearing, physical distancing, improved ventilation, working from home, contact tracing (including both isolation and quarantine), moving activities outside, and any seasonal impact. This approach has the advantage of requiring fewer assumptions and increasing accuracy for the Colorado model. In technical terms, the transmission control parameter describes the percent decrease in effective contacts between infected and susceptible individuals compared to pre-pandemic behavior.

Transmission control levels under about 79% will lead to increasing infections and an effective reproductive number greater than 1; and if contact rates are reduced and transmission control is above 79%, infections will decrease. 

The latest modeling provides projections based on COVID-19 hospital census data through October 19, 2020. The models are based on Colorado data and assumptions based on the current state of the science.

Key findings from the report:

  • We are at a critical moment. If Colorado remains on the current trajectory, we will likely exceed the April peak in hospitalizations for COVID-19 by mid-November, which exceeded 900 in one day. Increases in contacts over the holidays will accelerate growth in cases and intensive care unit hospital capacity may be exceeded in December or January.
  • The effective reproductive number is approximately 1.5 (ranging with statistical uncertainty from 1.16 to 1.85).
  • Approximately 1 in 292 Coloradans are currently infectious. This estimate is generated from the model and assumes that not all infectious residents are captured by state surveillance systems.
  • Hospitalizations are rapidly increasing. Avoiding challenging peaks in infections and hospital demand over the next three months will require a substantial increase in transmission control. 
  • The window to improve transmission control is over the next several weeks to assure that critical care capacity is not stressed. The magnitude and timing of reductions in transmission will determine the severity of COVID-19 in Colorado in the months ahead. 

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group that works with the state on modeling projections. The group includes modeling scientists at the ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University. 

All previous modeling reports are available on the Colorado School of Public Health’s COVID-19 website. 

The state will continue to review data and model findings as the pandemic continues to inform policy decisions. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

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La disminución del control de la transmisión en el modelo SARS-CoV-2 de Colorado y el rápido aumento de las hospitalizaciones indican que Colorado se encuentra en un momento crítico en la pandemia del COVID-19

REMOTO, 23 de octubre: El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE, por sus siglas en inglés) y la Escuela de Salud Pública de Colorado publicaron un nuevo reporte de modelos basado en datos recientes que muestran que las hospitalizaciones de SARS-CoV-2 están aumentando rápidamente en todo el estado. Para evitar el aumento de infecciones y la tensión en los hospitales durante los próximos tres meses, se necesitará un aumento sustancial en el control de la transmisión.  

El reporte de modelo de Colorado utiliza un nuevo indicador de “control de transmisión” para describir el impacto colectivo de todas las políticas y comportamientos en la propagación del SARS-CoV-2. El control de transmisión captura TODOS los cambios de comportamiento y políticas diseñadas para mitigar la pandemia SARS-CoV-2, incluido el uso de tapabocas, el distanciamiento físico, la ventilación optimizada, el trabajo desde casa, el rastreo de contactos (incluido el aislamiento y la cuarentena), el mover las actividades al aire libre y cualquier impacto estacional. Este enfoque tiene la ventaja de requerir menos suposiciones y aumentar la precisión para el modelo de Colorado. En términos técnicos, el parámetro de control de transmisión describe la disminución porcentual de los contactos efectivos entre las personas infectadas y susceptibles en comparación con el comportamiento pre-pandémico.

Los niveles de control de la transmisión por debajo del 79% conducirán a un aumento de las infecciones y a un número reproductivo efectivo superior a 1; y si se reducen las tasas de contacto y el control de la transmisión es superior al 79%, las infecciones disminuirán.

El último modelo  proporciona proyecciones basadas en los datos del censo hospitalario del COVID-19 hasta el 19 de octubre de 2020. Los modelos se basan en datos y suposiciones de Colorado basados en el estado actual de la ciencia.

Principales conclusiones del reporte:

  • Estamos en un momento crítico. Si Colorado permanece en la trayectoria actual, es probable que superemos el pico de abril en hospitalizaciones para el COVID-19 a mediados de noviembre, que sobrepasaron los 900 en un solo día. El aumento de los contactos durante las vacaciones acelerará el incremento de los casos y la capacidad de las unidades de cuidados intensivos de los hospitales podrá excederse en diciembre o enero.
  • El número reproductivo efectivo es de aproximadamente 1.5 (que oscila con la incertidumbre estadística de 1.16 a 1.85).
  •  Aproximadamente 1 de cada 292 habitantes de Colorado están actualmente infectados. Este estimado se genera a partir del modelo y supone que no todos los residentes infectados son capturados por los sistemas de vigilancia estatales.
  •  Las hospitalizaciones están aumentando rápidamente. Evitar picos desafiantes de infecciones y demanda hospitalaria durante los próximos tres meses requerirá un aumento sustancial en el control de la transmisión.
  • La ventana de oportunidad para mejorar el control de la transmisión es durante las próximas semanas para asegurar que la capacidad de cuidados críticos no se vea estresada. La magnitud y el momento de las reducciones en la transmisión determinarán la gravedad del COVID-19 en Colorado en los próximos meses.

La Escuela de Salud Pública de Colorado (ColoradoSPH) reunió a un grupo de expertos que trabaja con el estado en proyecciones de modelos. El grupo incluye científicos de modelos del ColoradoSPH y la Escuela de Medicina de la Universidad de Colorado en el CU Anschutz Medical Campus, así como expertos de la Universidad de Colorado en Boulder, la Universidad de Colorado en Denver y la Universidad Estatal de Colorado.

Todos los anteriores reportes de modelo están disponibles en el sitio web del COVID-19 de la Escuela de Salud Pública de Colorado.

El estado seguirá revisando los datos y los resultados modelo, a medida que la pandemia siga determinando las decisiones políticas. Continúe manteniéndose informado visitando covid19.colorado.gov.

Declining transmission control in the Colorado SARS-CoV-2 model and rapidly increasing hospitalizations signal Colorado is at a critical moment in the COVID-19 pandemic

Colorado finalizes guidance for ski areas and resorts

State reviewed feedback from community members and organization from across the state

Oct. 19, 2020 – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) finalized its guidance for ski areas and resorts today. The guidance goes into effect immediately. After releasing a draft of the guidance on Oct. 14, the state reviewed feedback from community members and organizations from across the state, and incorporated feedback into the finalized guidance.

Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas also present unique challenges for controlling virus transmission. A successful ski season will require a strong partnership between ski areas, local governments, local businesses, and the state. 

These guidelines draw from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines including:

  • Physical distancing of at least 6 feet between parties.
  • Wearing masks to the maximum extent possible.
  • Health screening and symptom tracking.
  • Isolating and quarantining, as required.

Also established are some new baseline standards to create common expectations for mountain-specific activities such as:

  • Isolation housing to create opportunities for visiting guests to safely isolate and quarantine themselves in the event that they test positive or need to quarantine during their stay and cannot travel.
  • Ensuring safe employee housing environments.
  • Limiting ski school cohorts/groups to no more than 10 people.
  • Prioritizing the immediate safety and sheltering needs of guests and staff due to extreme weather events when in conflict with these COVID-19 guidelines.

“Outdoor activities like skiing and snowboarding can be lower risk if done with proper precautions, both on and off the slopes,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We have to proceed carefully and be willing to evolve if necessary. We’ve been grateful for the cooperation of ski and resort areas. Our top priority is the safety of Coloradans and ensuring the health care systems in these areas aren’t overrun.” 

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El estado finaliza la guía para las áreas y centros de esquí

El estado revisó los comentarios de miembros de la comunidad y organizaciones de todo el estado

REMOTO, (19 de oct, 2020): El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE, por sus siglas en inglés) hoy finalizó su guía para áreas y centros de esquí. La guía entra en vigencia inmediatamente. Después de emitir un borrador de la guía  el día 14 de octubre, el estado revisó los comentarios de miembros de la comunidad y de organizaciones de todo el estado, e incorporó sus comentarios en la guía final.

 Las áreas de esquí son un motor vital de la economía de Colorado. Durante la pandemia del COVID-19, estas áreas también son retos únicos para el control de la transmisión del virus.  Una temporada de esquí exitosa requerirá una fuerte alianza entre las áreas de esquí, los gobiernos locales, los negocios locales y el estado.

Estas directrices se basan en las directrices existentes y conocidas para el COVID-19 que incluyen:

?        El distanciamiento físico de al menos 6 pies entre las personas.
?        El uso de tapabocas en la mayor medida posible.
?        Las evaluaciones de salud y el rastreo de síntomas.
?        El aislamiento y la cuarentena, como se requiera.

También están establecidos los nuevos estándares base para crear expectativas comunes para las actividades específicas de montaña, tales como:

?        Tener vivienda para el aislamiento, con el fin de proveer oportunidad para que los visitantes puedan aislarse y hacer cuarentena de manera segura, en caso de que tengan pruebas positivas o necesiten estar en cuarentena durante su estadía y no puedan viajar.
?        Asegurar ambientes de vivienda seguros para empleados.
?        Limitar grupos fijos y grupos normales en las escuelas de esquí, que no sean de más de 10 personas.
?        Priorizar la seguridad y la necesidad de refugio inmediatos para los visitantes y el personal en caso de condiciones climáticas extremas, cuando estén en conflicto con estas directrices para el COVID-19.

“Las actividades al aire libre como es el esquí y el snowboarding pueden ser de menor riesgo si se realizan con las precauciones apropiadas, tanto en las pistas de esquí como fuera de ellas”, dijo Jill Hunsaker Ryan, directora ejecutiva del CDPHE. “Tenemos que proceder con sumo cuidado y estar disponibles para proceder más allá, si es necesario. Estamos muy agradecidos por la cooperación de las áreas y centros de esquí. Nuestra principal prioridad es la seguridad de los habitantes de Colorado y de asegurar que los sistemas de atención médica en estas áreas no sean rebasados.”

Colorado finalizes guidance for ski areas and resorts

State seeks feedback on guidance for ski areas and resorts

Oct. 14, 2020 – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is seeking feedback on newly drafted ski guidance. Stakeholders and the public should submit feedback by Friday, Oct. 16 at 10 a.m. MT. The guidelines draw from existing and well-known COVID-19 guidelines for industries, establish some new baseline standards to create common expectations for mountain-specific activities, and support the local planning and implementation of area-specific plans critical to success. A robust work group of local government officials, Local Public Health Agencies, industry partners, and subject matter experts at the state helped develop this draft. 

“Ski areas are a vital driver of the Colorado economy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these areas also present unique challenges for controlling virus transmission. A successful ski season will require a strong partnership between ski areas, local governments, local businesses, and the state,” said Jill Hunsaker Ryan, executive director, CDPHE. “We can use what we’ve learned in the pandemic so far to mitigate risk in ski areas.” 

These guidelines demonstrate that: 

  • Ski areas should work closely with their local public health agency (LPHA) to develop an area-specific plan and submit it to the LPHA and CDPHE for approval. 
  • Ski areas will need to ensure safe employee housing arrangements that mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
  • Protocols for crowd management, mask and face-covering mandates, and physical distancing requirements need to be included in the area-specific plans. 
  • Each ski area must work with their local community to develop community-wide plans to ensure lodging guests can safely isolate and quarantine themselves in the event they test positive during their stay. 

Read the full draft guidance

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El estado busca opiniones sobre la guía para las estaciones y áreas de esquí

Al comenzar la temporada de esquí, el estado está publicando una guía  para la apertura y la seguridad

REMOTO, (14 de octubre, 2020): El Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE, por sus siglas en inglés) está buscando opiniones sobre el nuevo esbozo de la guía para el  esquí. El público y las partes interesadas deben enviar sus opiniones (en inglés) antes del viernes 16 de octubre a las 10 a.m. (hora de la montaña). Las directrices se basan en guías existentes y conocidas del COVID 19 para las industrias, establecen algunos nuevos estándares de referencia para crear expectativas comunes para las actividades específicas de montaña, y apoyan la planificación local y la implementación de planes críticos para el éxito en áreas específicas. Un sólido grupo de trabajo conformado por oficiales gubernamentales locales, Agencias de Salud Pública locales, socios industriales y expertos en el tema en el estado, ayudaron a desarrollar este esbozo.

“Las áreas de esquí son un motor principal en la economía de Colorado. Durante la pandemia del COVID-19, estas áreas también presentan retos únicos para controlar la transmisión del virus. Una temporada de esquí exitosa requerirá una colaboración sólida entre las áreas de esquí, los gobiernos locales, los negocios locales y el estado,” dijo Jill Hunsaker Ryan, directora ejecutiva de CDPHE. “Podemos usar lo que hemos aprendido hasta ahora en la pandemia para mitigar el riesgo en las áreas de esquí”.

Estas directrices demuestran que:

  • Las áreas de esquí deben trabajar de cerca con las agencias locales de salud pública (LPHA, por sus siglas en inglés) para desarrollar un plan específico para el área y enviarlo a LPHA y CDPHE para su aprobación.
  •  Las áreas de esquí necesitarán asegurar arreglos de vivienda para sus empleados que sean seguros y así mitigar la propagación del COVID-19.
  •  Los protocolos para el control de multitudes, los mandatos para el uso de tapabocas y protectores faciales, y los requisitos para mantener la distancia física necesitan ser incluidos en los planes para áreas específicas. 
  • Cada área de esquí debe trabajar con su comunidad local para desarrollar planes comunitarios para asegurar que los huéspedes en los alojamientos se puedan aislar de manera segura y permanecer en cuarentena en caso de resultar positivos durante su estadía.

Lea el esbozo completo de la guía (en inglés).  

State seeks feedback on guidance for ski areas and resorts

State of Colorado delivers 1.6 Million KN95 masks to Colorado schools

Phase 2 initiated to continue deliveries until Thanksgiving if school districts and private schools opt-in

Centennial, Colo – Oct. 8, 2020: The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) delivered more than 1.6 million KN95 masks to Colorado schools in the last 10 weeks. School districts, BOCES, charter schools, and private schools  can now opt-in to continue receiving KN95 masks until Thanksgiving for staff working directly with students. 

The initial 10-week program was announced on July 16 by Gov. Jared Polis. The program provides Colorado educators with medical-grade masks. This offer includes staff members who work directly with students at any K-12 public school, including a charter school, as well as any private school, BOCES or  facility school. 

The governor is providing continued access to KN95 masks for teaching staff to schools that choose to opt-in to a second phase of receiving masks until Thanksgiving.  Schools are required to complete an online opt-in form located on the Colorado Department of Education’s website no later than October 19, 2020.

Shipments of masks will end automatically for all school districts or schools that do not choose to complete the opt-in form. Shipments of masks will continue weekly for school districts and schools completing the opt-in form by October 19. 

A School PPE Hotline is available at 720-230-6913 or email dhsem_ppe@state.co.us

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El estado de Colorado envía 1.6 millones de tapabocas KN95 a las escuelas de Colorado

Se ha iniciado la fase 2 para continuar los envíos hasta el Día de Acción de Gracias si los distritos escolares y escuelas privadas optan por recibirlos

Centennial, Colo – 8 de octubre, 2020: El Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia del Estado de Colorado (SEOC, por sus siglas en inglés) entregó más de 1.6 millones de tapabocas KN95 a las escuelas de Colorado en las últimas 10 semanas. Los distritos escolares, BOCES, escuelas subvencionadas y escuelas privadas pueden ahora inscribirse para continuar recibiendo los tapabocas KN95 hasta el Día de Acción de Gracias, para el personal que trabaja directamente con los estudiantes.

El programa inicial de 10 semanas fue anunciado el 16 de julio por el Gobernador Jared Polis. El programa provee a los educadores de Colorado, tapabocas de grado médico. Esta oferta incluye al personal que trabaja directamente con los estudiantes de cualquier escuela pública de los grados K-12, incluyendo a las escuelas subvencionadas, así como a las escuelas privadas, BOCES o centros escolares.

El gobernador está proveyendo acceso continuo a los tapabocas KN95 para el personal de enseñanza de escuelas que hayan elegido optar por recibir tapabocas en la segunda fase y hasta el Día de Acción de Gracias. Se requiere que las escuelas completen un formulario en línea para optar participar localizado en el sitio web del Departamento de Educación de Colorado, a más tardar el 19 de octubre, 2020.

Los envíos de tapabocas terminarán automáticamente para todos los distritos escolares que no hayan elegido completar el formulario para optar por participar. Los envíos de tapabocas continuarán semanalmente para los distritos escolares y escuelas que hayan completado los formularios para participar a más tardar el 19 de octubre.

State of Colorado delivers 1.6 Million KN95 masks to Colorado schools

State of Colorado begins deconstruction of two alternative COVID care sites

Centennial, Colo. – Oct. 6, 2020: On October 5, the State of Colorado began deconstruction of two alternative care sites. The Ranch Complex in Loveland and the Western Memory Care Center in Grand Junction will complete deconstruction around mid-November. 

At this time, with a 3.41 seven-day average percent positivity rate, the state feels like it is  safe to close these two sites. Three alternative care sites remain available and ready to operate at the Colorado Convention Center, St. Mary Corwin and St. Anthony 84th Avenue sites.  

Deconstruction of the two sites saves the state money while ensuring we still have the necessary capacity to respond to a surge. The state will transfer equipment from the two sites to the Colorado Convention Center for use within the three remaining sites. 

On April 10, Governor Jared Polis announced that alternative care sites were standing up to “help protect our ability to treat the most seriously sick by allowing hospitals to move less serious cases to the convention center and therefore make critical care available for those who need it most.”  At that time our seven-day positivity rate was 19.66 percent. 

In the early days of the pandemic, Colorado saw rapid infection growth and modeling data indicated that we were on pace to far exceed the capacity of our healthcare system. It was critical to build capacity outside of our hospitals to ensure that Coloradans would be able to have the care that they needed if we exceeded institutional capacity.  

The need to use the alternative care facilities was mitigated by the Stay at Home order and Coloradans’ commitment to helping slow the spread of COVID-19. Throughout this time we partnered with our hospitals and healthcare system to increase hospital capacity and ventilators. Colorado doctors have also become more experienced in treating COVID-19 patients in ways that result in better outcomes, shorter lengths of stay and less demand for ventilators.  

State of Colorado begins deconstruction of two alternative COVID care sites

State of Colorado releases guidance for organized sports

Organized youth recreational and adult amateur leagues, club sports, interscholastic, and other organization-sponsored athletics sports must adhere to state and local orders. 

Sept. 16, 2020 – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) today released guidance for organized sports including organized youth recreational and adult amateur leagues, club sports, interscholastic, and other organization-sponsored athletics. The guidance includes information for each phase of the State’s new dial framework, released yesterday and addresses key topics like facility considerations, spectators, as well as tournaments, transportation, and travel. 

Participating in sports, in any capacity during this pandemic, holds an inherent risk of possible infection for participants and risk of transmission to other individuals, such as their household members. Stakeholders must consider the risks and benefits of participation in their plans for resuming organized sports.

Adherence to public health guidelines is essential to minimize risk and disruptions to athletic activities. In addition, The risk of COVID-19 spread can be different depending on the type of activity which is based on:

  • Number of people a player or coach interacts with;
  • Type of physical interaction;
  • Length of time of the close interaction;
  • Sharing of equipment across multiple players;
  • Environment of play (e.g. indoors, outdoors); and
  • Layers of protection that are in place, including:
  • face coverings, 
  • physical distancing, 
  • hand hygiene, 
  • cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces, etc. 

Physical exertion, including sports, involves forced exhalation, which may increase the risk of transmission, similar to that seen in singing or playing certain musical instruments. Therefore,increased physical distancing of participants and spectators beyond a minimum of 6 feet is reasonable. Infection control measures applied collectively, such as screening, physical distancing of coaches and spectators, hand hygiene, and facial coverings where appropriate are especially important given that many sports involve close contact of individuals at various times during training or competition.

Teams that desire to practice and compete without disruption are strongly advised to take these recommendations seriously. Athletes, teams, and organizations should hold each other accountable to follow guidelines and ensure compliance with infection control measures during and beyond play. Behaviors and decisions of participants outside the sports setting may impact the ability of the entire team to participate in training or competition if a single athlete or coach becomes exposed or ill. 

These guidelines can be applied to other settings where physical activity and forced exhalation occur, and parks and recreation staff (or their equivalent) and state sporting governing bodies are encouraged to enforce these guidelines. 

Sports settings such as professional or collegiate entities should adhere to the specific guidelines for their governing body and specifications in public health orders. Sports with school age kids need to follow the school case investigation/outbreak guidance.  

The full guidance is available online.  Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

State of Colorado releases guidance for organized sports

State launches outbreak map on COVID-19 website

The state has launched an official outbreak data map on covid19.colorado.gov that displays the location of all confirmed outbreaks reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and will be updated each Wednesday with information from the weekly outbreak surveillance report. The map will provide further consistency, accuracy, and transparency around COVID-19 outbreak data.

The map displays locations of active outbreaks using symbology based on the outbreak setting, and resolved outbreaks are shown using a gray marker. Users can click on each active or resolved outbreak to view additional details, including the date the outbreak was determined to be an outbreak, the date it was resolved if applicable, and the number of confirmed and probable cases and deaths. Additional  outbreak data and visualizations of that data can be found on CDPHE’s data page by clicking on “Outbreaks.” A full list of outbreak locations is available here.

The CDPHE is committed to transparency and to empowering the public and our partners through access to COVID-19 data and information. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov

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El estado publica un mapa de brotes en el sitio web de COVID-19

REMOTO, 10 de septiembre de 2020 – El estado ha publicado un mapa oficial de datos de brotes en la página covid19.colorado.gov, el cual demuestra la ubicación de todos los brotes confirmados que se han reportado al Departamento de Salud Pública y Medio Ambiente de Colorado (CDPHE, por sus siglas en inglés) y se actualizará cada día miércoles con información proveniente del informe semanal de vigilancia de brotes. El mapa proporcionará mayor coherencia, precisión y transparencia en relación con los datos de brotes del COVID-19.

El mapa indica las ubicaciones de los brotes activos utilizando una leyenda de símbolos basados en el tipo de entorno en que ocurrió el brote. Los brotes concluidos se indican con color gris. Los usuarios pueden hacer clic en cada brote activo o concluido para ver detalles adicionales, incluyendo la fecha en la cual se determinó que era un brote, la fecha en que el brote se dio por terminado, si aplica, y el número de casos confirmados y probables, además del número de fallecimientos. Puede encontrar datos adicionales de brotes y gráficos de esos datos en la página de datos del CDPHE al hacer clic en la palabra “Outbreaks” (Brotes). Puede encontrar una lista completa con las ubicaciones de los brotes aquí.  

El CDPHE está comprometido con la transparencia y el empoderamiento del público y de nuestros colaboradores mediante acceso a los datos e información sobre el COVID-19. 

Manténgase informado en: covid19.colorado.gov

State launches outbreak map on COVID-19 website

SEOC: State delivers KN95 masks to Colorado schools

Centennial, Colo. – The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) has delivered 672,750 KN95 masks to Colorado schools. Four of 10 shipments are complete.  On July 16, Gov. Jared Polis announced that Colorado will provide educators with medical-grade masks. This offer includes staff members who work directly with students at any K-12 public school, private school, charter, BOCES, district and facility school. 

The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) worked with the SEOC to coordinate the delivery to Colorado schools for a 10-week supply of KN95 masks — one mask per week — for every staff member who works directly with students. 

Representatives from the Colorado SEOC called school districts, BOCES, charters, facility schools and private schools to coordinate delivery, confirm physical addresses and numbers of staff people who need the masks. The initial delivery of KN95 masks began on Aug. 17, 2020. Masks will be delivered once a week for 10 weeks. 

Charter schools and non-Catholic private schools pick up their supply of masks in the district where they are located. Masks for staff members at Catholic schools will be delivered to each diocese. For more information, visit the KN95 Masks for Colorado Schools webpage.

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El estado entrega mascarillas KN95 a las escuelas de Colorado

Centennial, CO – El Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia de Colorado (SEOC, por sus siglas en inglés) ha entregado 672,750 mascarillas KN95 a las escuelas del estado. Ya se han completado 4 de 10 cargamentos. El 16 de julio, el Gob. Jared Polis anunció que Colorado les proporcionará mascarillas de grado médico a los maestros y miembros del personal que trabajan directamente con los estudiantes en cualquier escuela pública K-12, privada, chárter, BOCES (juntas de cooperativas de servicios educativos), de distrito y de servicios de educación especial (Facility School).

El Departamento de Educación de Colorado colaboró con el SEOC para coordinar la entrega de un suministro de mascarillas KN95 para 10 semanas a las escuelas del estado, es decir, una mascarilla por semana para cada miembro del personal que trabaja directamente con los estudiantes. 

Representantes del SEOC de Colorado se comunicaron con los distritos escolares, escuelas chárter, privadas, BOCES y de servicios de educación especial (Facility School) para coordinar la entrega, confirmar las direcciones físicas y el número de miembros del personal que necesitarán mascarillas. La entrega inicial de las mascarillas KN95 comenzó el 17 de agosto de 2020 y se entregarán una vez a la semana durante 10 semanas. 

Las escuelas chárter y privadas no católicas recogerán el suministro de mascarillas en el distrito escolar donde están ubicadas. Las mascarillas para los miembros del personal de las escuelas católicas se entregarán a cada diócesis. Para obtener más información, consulte la página web del programa de mascarillas KN95 para escuelas de Colorado

SEOC: State delivers KN95 masks to Colorado schools

Guidance released to help local public health agencies and schools navigate opening for fall 2020

Districts will continue to work with local public health agencies on school plans appropriate for their communities

DENVER, July 20, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Education, released new guidance for the fall opening of schools today. The group presented slides during a media availability earlier today. The guidance will help local public health agencies work with districts and schools to ensure the safest learning environment possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The guidance provides specific recommendations schools should consider based on the level of COVID-19 in their communities.

Additionally, the guidance has age-group specific recommendations on mask-wearing, physical distancing, and keeping students in cohorts. The guidelines are based on current evidence that suggests the risk of COVID-19 transmission between younger children and from younger children to adults is low, so preschools and elementary schools have different guidelines than middle schools and high schools.

“Our top and only priority is to keep Coloradans healthy,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Having students return to the classroom won’t be simple. We will continue to work with school districts across the state, so when ready, schools can have the necessary systems in place to protect our children and ensure that schools can mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We’ll need everyone to take tremendous precautions.” 

“We know the importance of in-person learning and how critical school is to the health, well-being, and academic growth of our students,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “While our goal is to get students back into the classroom where they can be the most supported, we need to prioritize the health and safety of students, their families and staff. With the virus still in our communities, we must continue to follow the guidance of health professionals. These guidelines are designed to help local health agencies and districts make appropriate decisions on health and safety precautions based on the incidence of COVID-19 in their community.”

CDPHE led the creation of the guidance, which is based on the latest science and health recommendations by the American Academy of Pediatrics and others. The guidance incorporates feedback and ideas from a variety of sources, including an advisory committee of education stakeholders and a focus group of doctors, epidemiologists, local public health directors, and superintendents — as well as thousands of written comments from parents, teachers, and community members. 

The guidance is organized by the level of COVID-19 incidence in the community: Stay at Home (high level of COVID-19), Safer at Home (mid-level of COVID-19), and Protect Our Neighbors (lower level of COVID-19).

For example, the guidance for the Safer at Home phase emphasizes keeping students with the same group (or cohort) in their primary classroom throughout the week to prevent full school closure if a COVID-19 case is identified. In this scenario, only four teachers would rotate into one specific classroom per day.

This guidance, CDE’s toolkit for the 2020-21 school year, and guidance from local public health agencies will provide districts with the information they need to start the school year safely and in a way that makes sense for their local communities. 

Executive or Public Health orders can supersede the guidance. Local public health agencies, local governments, school districts, BOCES, and charters can choose to enact stricter guidance than the state. Except where there is a public health order or other legal requirement, these are recommendations and best practices for local public health agencies to consider as they advise the school districts in their area. Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

Guidance released to help local public health agencies and schools navigate opening for fall 2020

New modeling data from the Colorado School of Public Health shows decline in social distancing and increasing hospitalizations

If Colorado continues on its estimated trajectory, ICU capacity may be exceeded in early September

DENVER, July 16, 2020: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment received additional modeling results from an expert group of public health scientists. The current projection based on recent hospitalization trends is a stark contrast to previous reports, showing a sharp curve upward as cases and hospitalizations have increased over the last few weeks. The modeling team estimates that this is due to a decline in social distancing in Colorado in May and June. 

Governor Jared Polis and State Epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, presented the information from the latest Colorado model report today. All modeling reports are available on the Colorado School of Public Health’s COVID-19 website. 

The latest modeling report provides projections based on COVID-19 hospital census data to characterize the current status of the COVID-19 epidemic in Colorado, and the collective impact of efforts to reduce the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also provides projections based on various policy scenarios around social distancing, mask-wearing, and case detection and containment. The models are based on Colorado data and assumptions.

Key findings from the report:

  • COVID-19 hospitalizations have been increasing since late June. 
  • The estimated effective reproductive number has increased over the past two weeks and is now at the highest estimated value since late March. Social distancing has declined since May.
  • Collectively, these data indicate that the trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Colorado has changed over the past two months, from a curve of declining infections in May to a curve of increasing infections (see Figure 3 in the report). The most recent model results suggest the rate of increase has changed from slow growth to a more rapid increase in cases. NOTE: There is still uncertainty about the rate of increase. The estimates will be more certain as we track the rate of increase over the next week.
  • If Colorado remains on the current estimated trajectory, it is expected that intensive care unit (ICU) capacity will be exceeded in early September. If social distancing continues to decline, Colorado could exceed hospital capacity in late August. Under these scenarios, without additional interventions or changes in social distancing, demand could greatly exceed hospital capacity. 
  • If social distancing is increased or other interventions to reduce transmission are implemented, the projected growth in infections and hospital demand is slower and, depending on the efficacy of these interventions, ICU capacity is reached in the fall or not at all.

The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group that works with the state on modeling projections. The group includes modeling scientists at the ColoradoSPH and the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, and Colorado State University. 

The state will continue to review data and model findings as the pandemic continues to inform future policy decisions.  Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

New modeling data from the Colorado School of Public Health shows decline in social distancing and increasing hospitalizations