By Jamie Leary

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – While the total number of cases across the state continue to increase, it’s not nearly as many per day, and more importantly, a month after Colorado transitioned to safer-at-home,” the number of hospitalizations remain low.

“For the 10 days prior to April 25 we were averaging about 90 patients a day in the hospital who were COVID positive and maybe another 10 of those who were patients under investigation so roughly 100 patients a day,” said Dr. Joseph Forrester, a pulmonary and critical care specialist.

Dr. Joseph Forrester (credit: CBS)

Forrester oversees services at several hospitals including the Medical Center of Aurora, which saw a particularly high volume of positive cases towards the end of March into April.

Today, that number is 40. As far as a spike related to lifting restrictions goes?

“We haven’t seen it yet. We’ve seen the last couple days a slight increase, but that could just be a daily fluctuation,” said Forrester.

Since the state began tracking hospitalizations, the numbers have decreased by nearly 50% from April, where it hit a peak at 888 COVID positive hospitalizations.

(credit: CBS)

Forrester says while it’s good news, healthcare workers are cautiously optimistic. Symptoms can take weeks to develop and with more businesses set to open across the state Wednesday, it’s important to maintain physical distance.

“There’s always a delay between when someone is exposed and when they actually come down with the infection and so that delay is usually 10 days to two weeks,” he said. “So if we open up today, then it’s usually 10 days to two weeks from now when we see an uptick, potentially, in cases. So the concern is, as we open up society, will we have an uptick in cases? Will there be more exposure? Because it’s clearly apparent that people who congregate have an increased risk and professions that congregate.”

Many of the cases still in the ICU, Forrester says, are essential workers highlighting the continued need for social distancing.

(credit: CBS)

“For myself, I see people who have not been able to quarantine, who still have to work and those are the individuals who seem to be still having COVID infections.”

Forrester says he believes we need to reopen the state in some capacity, but says people need to continue to take the virus seriously.

“…and whether we have little surges or increased outbreaks sporadically, no one knows but there’s certainly that concern until we have a vaccine.”

For the latest data on COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state, click here.

Jamie Leary

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