DENVER — More than 220 new active COVID-19 outbreaks have been reported in Colorado since last week, according to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). This comes amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations that have resulted in increased restrictions for multiple counties.
The newest outbreaks have been reported everywhere from schools to restaurants to nursing homes to the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, where a previous and now resolved outbreak led to the deaths of six employees and led to 292 positive tests.
Two cases of the novel coronavirus constitute an outbreak, and the numbers are cumulative, meaning if an entity has a certain number of cases, that doesn't mean all those people were sick at once.
For an outbreak to be resolved, CDPHE said 28 days must pass with no new illnesses.
Keep reading for a list of the outbreaks by category. See a map of the outbreaks by location below.
Schools and childcare facilities
As many school districts move classes online, Wednesday's CDPHE outbreak list shows that there are 165 active outbreaks at K-12 schools across Colorado.
While no staff or attendee deaths have been tied to school outbreaks per the data, 227 staff members at K-12 school have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as 510 students.
See the full list of outbreaks at K-12 schools below.
Colleges and universities continue to have some of the largest active COVID-19 outbreaks in the state, though the increase in cases from earlier this fall has slowed.
According to the data, 1,900 students at the University of Colorado Boulder have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak there began in September, and 1,094 students have tested positive for the virus at Colorado State University since early October.
See the full list of college and university outbreaks below.
There are also 65 active outbreaks at Colorado child care facilities, according to the CDPHE's data. This has led to 181 cases among staff and 62 among attendees.
See a list of those outbreaks below.
The recent surge in cases has led the state to close indoor dining at restaurants in 15 counties. Out of the 958 active outbreaks in the state, 78 are at restaurants, according to CDPHE's data.
These have resulted in 320 positive cases of COVID-19 among restaurant employees, and 15 confirmed cases among attendees, according to the data.
No deaths have been associated with restaurant outbreaks per CDPHE's latest numbers.
See all the restaurant outbreaks below.
There are 19 active COVID-19 outbreaks at Colorado grocery stores. According to CDPHE's data, four of them are at Whole Foods locations, six are at King Soopers and two are at Walmarts.
See the list of grocery store outbreaks below.
As Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) has repeatedly told people to avoid social gatherings with anyone outside their household, 14 outbreaks tied with social gatherings have been reported across the state.
This includes a wedding in Alamosa County, where 17 people tested positive for COVID-19.
Read the list of outbreaks related to social gatherings below.
Senior living, skilled nursing and assisted care facilities
Dozens of assisted care, skilled nursing and senior living facilities have active outbreaks, CDPHE data shows.
"Back in the spring, we saw big spikes [in Colorado] like we saw throughout the country. Over the summer, we did see a flattening out of that curve, and recently, as we’ve started to see community-based spread, we're seeing those cases start to increase in care settings as well," said Doug Farmer, President of the Colorado Health Care Association, which advocates for nursing homes and senior care centers across the state.
"There is a direct correlation between general community spread and spread into nursing homes," he said.
A statewide public health order outlining the guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and response in nursing homes and similar facilities calls for new testing guidelines starting at the end of this week.
"[It[ will require weekly testing for all staff members in nursing homes and also require testing for any residents that have left care center for any reason over the past two weeks," Farmer explained. "If there is an outbreak, at that point everyone gets tested."
Sara Spaulding is preparing for the new testing requirements.
Under compassionate care guidelines, she and her sister are still able to visit their parents in an assisted living home, due to their declining health and the sisters' involvement in their care.
Already, Spaulding said during each visit she must pass a temperature test, symptom and exposure check, and use hand sanitizer and wear a mask. She recently learned about the new testing guidelines requiring a weekly negative COVID test now, too.
Their challenge is now getting both a test and results within a week, every week.
"My sister and I are scrambling to figure out where we need to go to get those tests, and what it's going to cost," she said. "But more importantly we're struggling with a place to get the tests on a regular basis – without an appointment."
"I checked online Monday and the earliest appointment was Thanksgiving Day," she explained Wednesday night.
"I managed to find a place in Denver and get my test done. So I'm waiting on my results, as we speak, hoping I can get in on Friday."
Spaulding has shared updates about her parents throughout the pandemic. Her biggest concern is how isolation, including less access to family, is contributing to her parents' declining condition.
"We just want to be with our family members with what time they have left. You know 90 years old, God bless them. Every minute is precious," she said.
"We're heading into Thanksgiving and Christmas... without them, their presence. They’ve got great-grandchildren who cant see them. It's just heartbreaking and we're protecting them to death is what we’re doing."
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