New COVID-19 modeling report shows uncertainty for remainder of 2022Oct 10, 2022
COVID-19 hospital demand increased last week, but hospitalizations remain relatively low in comparison with past peaks of COVID-19, about 10% of previous highs. Wastewater concentrations indicate a slow decline in infections statewide, and percent positivity has plateaued. However, there are areas of the state where wastewater data indicate an increase in infections, such as the North Central, South, and San Luis Valley regions.
Model simulations continue to indicate a decline in COVID-19 hospital demand over the next 12 weeks in the absence of a new variant. These projections account for current trends in the new omicron vaccine uptake and are consistent with model simulations by the COVID-19 Forecast Hub, a central repository of forecasts and predictions from more than 50 international research groups in coordination with CDC. At this time, 8.3% of eligible Coloradans have received an omicron dose, more than twice the national average, and Coloradans can increase their protection against COVID-19 and help protect their community by getting an omicron dose as soon as they are eligible. Coloradans can find omicron doses at providers across the state, including 10 community vaccination sites, local public health clinics, primary care offices, mobile vaccine clinics, and many pharmacies.
“This latest modeling report shows multiple potential scenarios and highlights the unpredictability of our upcoming fall and winter respiratory virus season,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist. “The best thing Coloradans can do right now to protect themselves is to get both a flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible and get an omicron dose when they are eligible.”
Other model simulations include a hypothetical variant entering Colorado in late September and show a potential rise in hospital demand by the end of 2022. The increase in hospital demand will be steeper if the new variant is more virulent than current variants.
There are several emerging variants that we are closely monitoring. The BF.1 variant has greater growth potential and increased immune escape compared to the currently dominant BA.5 variant. BQ.1 has recently emerged from BA.5 and has potentially concerning mutations, but its potential growth advantage and immune escape are yet unknown.
The Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) assembled the expert group that works with the state on modeling projections. The group includes modeling scientists from ColoradoSPH at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus and Colorado State University, as well as experts from the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Colorado Denver.
Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.