COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- All of the data sources that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) uses to track COVID-19 transmission in our state, are currently trending upward.
On Thursday, CDPHE held a press conference to address the rise in cases, and explain new variants that are popping up around our state.
According to CDPHE data, Colorado's seven-day moving average number of cases is now over 1,500 on average a day.
There is also an uptick in percent positivity, now sitting at 8.68 percent statewide.
Hospitalizations are also increasing. The state health department says COVID-19 hospitalizations are up to 144 this week, compared to 116 last week.
"To put it in perspective, of course, though, we know that the numbers continue to be relatively low compared to what we've seen in previous waves," said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, State Epidemiologist. "But, of course, still have that upward trajectory."
CDPHE says these increases are caused by Omicron subvariants, especially the BA.2.12.1, which is estimated to be 25 percent more transmissible than BA.2.
"CDC nowcast modeling is estimating about 48 percent of what's circulating in the U.S. is BA.2.12.1, and that's about 44 percent in Region 8, which is the region that includes Colorado," said Dr. Herlihy. "Our Colorado-specific data is showing us about 40 percent right now."
There's also been sporadic detection of BA.4 and BA.5 in Colorado, which are two other subvariants of Omicron.
"We believe that these variants, which are circulating mostly at higher levels in South Africa and then also increasing in some European countries right now, are also probably more likely to be more transmissible the BA.2 subvariants that have been circulating," said Dr. Herlihy. "There's also some limited data suggesting that there could be a greater degree of immune escape associated with BA.4 and BA.5."
Dr. Herlihy also says there is limited data suggesting there could be a greater degree of immune escape associated with BA.4 and BA.5. Immune escape refers to the ability of the virus to infect someone who's been previously infected or someone who's vaccinated.
CDPHE says as they monitor these new variants, there is a range of possibilities when it comes to the number of hospitalizations expected before this wave hits its peak around mid-June.
While none of the current predictions have hospitalizations anywhere near the Omicron peak that happened in the winter of 2022, these predictions could indicate a strain on Colorado's medical system in the coming weeks.
Eight free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests are available to be mailed to all Americans by clicking here.
CDPHE encourages all Coloradans to report at-home test results to their website.
"Testing is not just for people who are feeling symptomatic," said Scott Bookman, COVID-19 Incident Commander. "It is also for people who have been exposed. It is also an important tool before gatherings. As we get into graduation season, it's a good opportunity to do testing before graduation parties. It's certainly a good tool to do testing before you visit with people who are vulnerable."
Watch Thursday's update here.