95.3% of Colorado COVID-19 patients are unvaccinated

Just over 95% of the 9,891 people with COVID-19 who have been hospitalized in Colorado since mid-January were unvaccinated, according to data released by the state health department for the first time Monday.

The data, which further demonstrates the effectiveness of the shots, also shows that 78.7% of the 717 people with COVID-19 who have died in Colorado since April 1 had not received any doses of the three available vaccines.

“Vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19, including the delta variant,” a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in an email. “We encourage all eligible Coloradans to get vaccinated as soon as possible. It is the easiest way to protect our friends, families and communities and to return to the lives we love.”

The agency encourages anyone not fully vaccinated to continue wearing a mask, physically distancing, washing their hands and limiting gatherings.

Nationally and in Colorado, cases of the coronavirus are increasing, particularly in states with low vaccination rates such as Arkansas and Missouri, as the more-transmissible delta variant and other strains become more widespread.

Colorado has experienced a decline in the number of people getting vaccinated in recent weeks. About 62% of all eligible people — everyone 12 and older — are fully vaccinated.

And in Mesa County, which has become a hotspot in Colorado for the delta variant, 88% of the 481 people hospitalized for the virus and 92% of the 8,479 cases so far this year have been among individuals that have not yet received a COVID-19 shot.

Only 42% of that county’s residents are considered fully immunized against the coronavirus, according to Mesa County Public Health.