Denver COVID-19 Status Update - Jan. 13, 2023

Published on January 13, 2023

The latest COVID-19 variant, XBB.1.5 SARS-CoV-2 or the “Kraken,” is spreading in the United States and in other places in the world. Early research shows that this variant spreads more easily from person to person. XBB.1.5 made up an estimated 40.5% of US cases in the week ending Dec. 31st (up from 20% the previous week) and up to 75% of confirmed cases in the Northeast, though transmission remains low in Colorado. Epidemiologists at the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) are monitoring for the variant in our community.  

There is currently no evidence that XBB.1.5 causes more severe disease and the Omicron booster provides protection against this variant. It’s important to remember that while new variants can evade existing immunity enough to infect people and spread, we still have significant protection against severe disease compared to when we had no immunity. Staying up to date on your vaccines, including the Omicron booster is the most important thing you can do. Masking, improving ventilation, rapid testing, and staying home when sick can all limit the opportunity of XBB.1.5 to spread. These are also helpful prevention measures for RSV and flu too! So, keep calm, get boosted, ramp up precautions, and carry on.  

Resources for FREE COVID-19 Testing 

 While the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) announced all state-run COVID-19 community testing sites have closed, there are still plenty of options for free testing. The federal government is once again providing free COVID-19, at-home testing kits to all homes in the USA and free testing kits are available at most Denver recreation centers. At-home test kits are also available for purchase on retail sites like Amazon, CVS, Walmart and Walgreens. In-person and drive-thru testing is available at pharmacies and drug stores like Walgreens, CVS, King Soopers and Safeway. 

As a reminder, face coverings are a good option for anyone looking for an extra level of protection from respiratory infections. DDPHE continues to urge everyone to be mindful and take precautions when going about their winter routines. Effective treatment for COVID-19 is available if it is administered within five to seven days of symptom onset. Practice good hygiene habits, and if you feel sick, stay home and get tested. More information and resources are available at  

Denver County Current CDC Level: Low/Green  

Denver County Current Status  

*Numbers represent data as of Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2023, and are subject to change.                 

Denver residents 6 months and older initiating vaccination – 1st dose received: 87%                

Denver residents 6 months and older completing vaccination – Fully vaccinated: 79%              

Denver residents 5 and older receiving booster dose- after initial vaccine series: 53%              

Denver one-week cumulative incidence rate (7-day average of cases per 100,000 population)  

As of 1/18/23: 32.0 per 100,000         

Denver one-week average positivity rate*  

As of 1/18/23:  7.4%            


Persons hospitalized with COVID-19 in Denver County: 20 (as of 1/18/23)                 

Case Summary  

Cumulative Denver positive cases: 223,231 (as of 1/19/23)               

Cumulative Denver deaths from COVID-19: 1,536 (as of 1/19/23)