By Ryan Mayer

(CBS4)- Despite good progress on vaccinations in the state, Colorado is seeing the highest number of hospitalizations due to COVID since February. Both the 7-day rolling average of new hospitalizations and number of new hospital admissions are up according to the state’s data. The arrival and distribution of the vaccine has given hope that we may be nearing the end of the pandemic, but given the current numbers, it’s clear there is still some way to go. Still, CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida is optimistic about the progress that he’s seeing.

“Interesting, you know, it seems like we’re always using the race analogy,” said Hnida in his weekly interview on CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida. “When we talk about this, you know, vaccinations versus cases and variants. We are still in the race, we’re going to win this race.”

READ MORE: Red Rocks Offers More COVID Vaccines, Incentives To Concertgoers

Though he is confident that the race will be won, Hnida is concerned by the rise in hospitalization rates, particularly among young people. While younger people aren’t normally considered “at risk” for severe symptoms from COVID, Dr. Hnida notes that even if the person doesn’t experience severe symptoms, they’re still at risk for a long bout with the illness.

READ MORE: Colorado Kids & Teens Excited To Get Vaccinated At Rocky Mountain Hospital For Children

“Even if a younger person does not wind up getting a severe case of COVID, they are more likely to become a COVID long hauler. People who continue to have symptoms for months and months and months after having even a mild illness. So this is a big concern,” said Hnida.

About half of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, but Hnida points out that there is still a ways to go before the people of the state are fully protected.

MORE NEWS: COVID In Colorado: Unvaccinated Kids Should Continue Health Practices, Health Experts Say

“I don’t think we can say that well, we are declaring that today we are pandemic free. We are done. We’re not,” said Hnida. “We’re going to get there. And I actually believe that, you know, 4 to 6 weeks from now, we’re going to be in a good place.”

Ryan Mayer