Select Page

COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado schools more than doubled in a week, and new clusters continued to appear in the state’s nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Data on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website Thursday that was reported by The Denver Post showed the number of outbreaks in schools had remained roughly level, and fewer were reported in long-term care facilities, child care centers and most other settings.

That data had shown 99 outbreaks statewide — a substantial decrease compared to the previous week. But updated state data on Friday showed there were actually 242 active outbreaks. A spokeswoman for the state health department said the agency didn’t post incomplete data, and it wasn’t clear why reporters found only a subset of this week’s outbreak data.

The state defines an outbreak as five or more cases linked to the same location or event. Long-term care facilities are an exception, and must report an outbreak after two cases. An outbreak is considered active until four weeks have passed with no new cases linked to it.

The incomplete data had shown outbreaks in long-term care facilities had fallen by more than 50%, from 73 last week to 35 on Wednesday. But the actual number actually increased to 92 outbreaks, affecting 247 residents and 297 staff members.

Increases in outbreaks in long-term care facilities are concerning because their residents accounted for a disproportionate share of COVID-19 deaths in previous waves of the virus. So far, 12 residents have died in the currently active outbreaks.

The updated data also showed small increases in the number of outbreaks tied to child care centers, correctional facilities and homeless shelters.

Last week, the state reported 15 outbreaks in Colorado’s K-12 schools. This week’s updated data showed 42 outbreaks, affecting 354 students and 47 staff members.

While most school outbreaks involved 10 or fewer cases, several schools reported larger clusters:

Outbreak data provides a limited picture of COVID-19 activity in schools, because it only includes buildings with five or more cases, and only if those cases share a clear link, such as a common class, after-school activity or bus route.

Denver Public Schools’ Oakland Elementary isn’t on the state’s list, though the district announced classes there would be remote for the next two weeks because too many teachers have to quarantine.

This content was originally published here.