By Danielle Chavira

DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado leaders are sounding the alarm about rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis and health experts announced the state has the 5th highest number of COVID cases in the country.

“As of Nov. 2, today, we have 1,254 Coloradans that are currently hospitalized. That is the highest number that we’ve seen in Colorado since Dec. 20. So the highest number that we have seen so far this year,” said state epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy.

(credit: UCHealth)

When asked why Colorado is seeing such an uptick in cases compared to many other stated, he and other state officials believe it is a direct result of those who are unvaccinated, adding that COVID-19 seeks those people out.

“I want to make sure you understand this 80% of the people hospitalized are unvaccinated. That 80% comes from about 20% of the population. So, the effect is even far greater than that,” Polis said. “The Delta variant is brutally effective at seeking out the unvaccinated.”

READ MORE: As Hospitalizations Rise, Colorado Orders Halt on Most Cosmetic Procedures

In addition to several public health orders issued in recent days, Polis emphasized the state’s push to make monoclonal antibody treatment more available.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched mobile units in Colorado Springs, Evans and Pueblo on Monday.

“I want to point out specifically Pueblo County, where really in the last week or so we have seen this pretty rapid increase or acceleration in their cases, and one of the things that we are seeing in Pueblo is an increase in cases among adults. We know that the vaccination rates there are lower than they are overall in the state, and that does concern me that there could be an increased risk of increasing hospitalizations and public housing,” Herlihy said.

CDPHE expects to expand that campaign.

Danielle Chavira