Colorado is seeing variants of Covid-19, just as the number of cases in the state ticks downward and the number of vaccinated residents increases, according to state health officials.
Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado's epidemiologist, told reporters during a Zoom news conference that scientists have identified a total of 16 Covid-19 variants in the state, 13 of which are known as the United Kingdom's B117 variant. Three are the variant known as L4524 that's been causing infections in California.
Herlihy said that the number of Covid-19 cases in Colorado has been steadily declining after a "little bit of a holiday spike." Similarly, hospitalizations have declined over that same period, she said.
Brigadier Gen. Scott Sherman of Colorado's National Guard, who's honchoing the state's vaccine distribution said 90% of moderate risk, front-line healthcare workers have received both doses of the vaccine, 100% of skilled nursing facilities have received their first doses, he said, with 71% receiving a second.
Thirty-nine percent of Coloradans aged 70 and older have received their first vaccine dose, Sherman said, as they move towards a goal of 70% of those 70 and older getting vaccinated by the end of February.
Sherman said he's hoping 75% or higher of educators can be fully vaccinated by March 5, ahead of spring break, depending on how many teachers are up for taking the vaccine.
Sherman said state health officials are "working hard" on vaccine distribution equity across the state diverse population, and on better transparency regarding that issue.