DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Hospital Association announced Tuesday a data entry error is the cause for a reported increase in coronavirus hospitalizations. Read more on the new information.

The number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Colorado continues to decrease since mid-April.

Epidemiologists are looking at hospitalization data as an indicator of how COVID-19 is spreading. There is also the question of how recent protests over the death of George Floyd and the gradual reopening of businesses will impact the spread of the virus.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued the following statement to CBS4:

“Whenever people gather in large numbers, there is a potential for spread. It will take some time to know anything about the impact of these gatherings, though, as there is about a two-week lag from when people are exposed to when cases are reported to public health. We will be monitoring our data to see if there are any spikes in the 2 weeks following the demonstrations and will tease out as much as we can.”

According to CDPHE, most modeling data indicates a second peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations could come in mid-August when students return to school. In most modeling scenarios, officials at CDPHE said they expect the next peak to be larger than the peak in April.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with D.C.-based radio station WTOP that widespread protests across the country could increase the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the James Brady Briefing Room April 10, 2020 at the White House in Washington, DC. According to Johns Hopkins University, New York state has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country outside of the United States.

Dr. Anthony Fauci (credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“It is a perfect set-up for the spread of the virus in the sense of creating these blips that might turn into some surges,” Fauci said. “So I get very concerned.”

Since the pandemic began, CDPHE reports 1,292 people have died due to COVID-19 in Colorado and 4,859 people have been hospitalized. The state has tested 219,331 people with the goal of administering 10,000 tests per day.

Colorado health officials say they are preparing for a possible surge in cases by expanding testing, developing an online symptom tracking tool, and establishing alternative care sites to accommodate patients if hospitals cannot. CDPHE encourages everyone who was present at the protests to monitor themselves for symptoms and seek testing after about 7 days if they believe they may have been exposed.

Officials say some people may not become infected for up to 14 days after their exposure. For that reason, people who believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 should minimize their contact with others for 14 days, even if they test negative on day 7.

Additional Resources

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is releasing new coronavirus data each day at 4 p.m. at Health officials are tracking the total number of confirmed cases, people tested, deaths and outbreaks. Confirmed cases are also classified by county, age, sex, race and ethnicity.

CDPHE also launched a website listing the most recent hospital data, including the number of patients currently hospitalized and patients transferred or discharged within 24 hours: