Coronavirus

Kids Are Superspreaders in New COVID School Outbreaks

A student on the grounds of Lakewood High School, where seventeen attendees have confirmed COVID-19 infections.
A student on the grounds of Lakewood High School, where seventeen attendees have confirmed COVID-19 infections. Google Maps
According to the latest report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the number of K-12 schools with newly reported COVID-19 outbreaks has doubled in a week, and the vast majority of cases are among students, with staffers suffering far fewer infections.

Three Jefferson County schools with outbreaks serve as prime examples. The CDPHE's October 27 survey shows that Conifer High School has one staff case and eleven attendee cases to date, Drake Middle School counts sixteen attendee cases and no staff cases, and Lakewood High School is sitting at seventeen attendee cases and no staff cases.

Vaccination levels could play a role in this scenario. In Colorado, 75 percent of teachers were inoculated against the disease by early March, with the numbers growing steadily since then. But children younger than twelve are currently ineligible for immunization, and while federal approval of Pfizer shots for five-to-eleven-year-olds means that situation should change in the coming days, there are big questions about parental buy-in. Twelve-to-seventeen-year-olds have had the inoculation option in Colorado for months now, but at an October 13 press conference, Governor Jared Polis complained that only about 60 percent of them had gotten vaccinated by then.

Prior to June 1, state health officials declared an outbreak if two or more COVID-19 cases among residents, staffers, attendees and others were tied to a particular setting within a fourteen-day period. Now, this standard only applies to health-care or correctional facilities. An outbreak anywhere else requires at least five confirmed or probable cases over two weeks.


The October 27 data reveals that 572 outbreaks are currently under active investigation — a substantial leap from the 527 listed the previous week. Of those, 91 represent new or tweaked entries, the highest total since May 19 (before the rule change), when 107 outbreaks were added. And 55 of the new locations on the roster have had at least one previous outbreak.

The October 20 outbreaks roundup noted seventeen new or tweaked citations for K-12 schools. On October 27, that number was 34. While new child-care centers were added on October 20, four appeared on the October 27 list.

The 34 K-12 school outbreaks knocked last week's top category, health care, into second place. On October 27, the CDPHE cited an additional 33 health-related businesses, down from 39 on October 20, with thirty of them specializing in senior care; five fatalities are noted.

There are also revelations about COVID spread at seven prisons, jails or correctional facilities, as well as the El Paso County district attorney's office. There are also new outbreaks at a Costco in Colorado Springs, a McDonald's in Peyton and the JBS beef plant in Greeley, at which hundreds of people were infected and six people died in two prior outbreaks. The most recent JBS outbreak was declared after six more staff cases.


Here are the 91 new or tweaked active outbreaks identified by the CDPHE in its October 27 report, including the date when the outbreak was cited and the people impacted:

1. 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office: October 2021, Law Enforcement Administration, El Paso County, 10/25/2021, 5 staff cases
2. Adams County Sheriff's Detention Facility: October 2021, Jail, Adams County, 10/21/2021, 96 resident cases
3. Advantage Treatment Center — Alamosa: October 2021, Correctional, Alamosa County, 10/21/2021, 5 resident cases
4. Arbors of San Marino (2304MO): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Adams County, 10/25/2021, 4 resident cases
5. Barone Middle School: October 2021, School, K-12, Rio Blanco County, 10/25/2021, 6 attendee
6. Bent County Healthcare Center (020246): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Bent County, 10/15/2021, 2 staff cases
7. Beth Eden Baptist School, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/26/2021, 3 staff cases, 8 attendee cases
8. Bright Futures Psychiatry Active Healthcare — Outpatient, Behavioral Health Center, El Paso County, 10/21/2021, 6 resident cases, 1 staff case
9. Brookdale Broadmoor (2305CK): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 10/20/2021, 2 resident cases
10. Castle Pines Academy, Child Care Center, Douglas County, 10/21/2021, 4 staff cases, 3 attendee cases
11. Centre Avenue Health and Rehab (02R209): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Larimer County, 10/26/2021, 2 staff cases
12. City of Cortez Public Works Department, Municipal/Local Government, Montezuma County, 10/22/2021, 7 staff cases
13. Colorado Early Colleges — Parker: October 2021, School, K-12, Douglas County, 10/26/2021, 1 staff case, 5 attendee cases
14. Colpar's HobbyTown — Aurora, Retailer, Arapahoe County, 10/21/2021, 5 staff cases
15. Conifer High School: October 2021, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/26/2021, 1 staff case, 11 attendee cases
16. Costco Wholesale #1030: October 2021, Retailer, El Paso County, 10/25/2021, 18 staff cases
17. Dakota Ridge High School: October 2021, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/26/2021, 9 attendee cases
18. Dellenbach Subaru, Auto Dealership, Larimer County, 10/26/2021, 8 staff cases
19. Drake Middle School, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/26/2021, 16 attendee cases
20. Elk Creek Elementary School, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/27/2021, 12 attendee cases
21. Flourish Supportive Living at Texas (23C440), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 8/24/2021, 2 resident cases, 2 staff cases
22. Frassati Catholic Academy, School, K-12, Adams County, 10/21/2021, 2 staff cases, 4 attendee cases
23. Free Horizon Montessori K-8, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/25/2021, 10 attendee cases
24. Genesis Hospitality Corporation: October 2021, Non-Food Manufacturer/Warehouse, Larimer County, 10/25/2021, 8 staff cases
25. Global Village Academy — Northglenn: September 2021, School, K-12, Adams County, 10/21/2021, 2 staff cases, 5 attendee cases
26. Golden High School: October 2021, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/26/2021, 8 attendee cases
27. Grand Junction Regional Center House 5, Healthcare, Facility for Developmentally Disabled (Inpatient), Mesa County, 10/22/2021, 2 staff cases
28. Grand Valley High School, School, K-12, Garfield County, 10/19/2021, 1 staff cases, 16 attendee cases
29. Harmony Home — Fort Morgan I (2301CF), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Morgan County, 10/26/2021, 2 resident cases
30. Harmony Home — Fort Morgan II (2301SC), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Morgan County, 10/27/2021, 5 resident cases
31. Harvard Square Retirement Community (230428): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 10/25/2021, 13 resident cases, 5 staff cases, 1 resident death
32. Howbert Elementary School: October 2021, School, K-12, El Paso County, 10/21/2021, 1 staff cases, 14 attendee cases
33. Jaxpointe at Allison Ct (23R663), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 10/21/2021, 6 resident cases, 3 staff cases
34. JBS Greeley Beef Plant: October 2021, Meat Processing/Packaging, Weld County, 10/25/2021, 6 staff cases
35. John Evans Head Start Center: October 2021, Child Care Center, Weld County, 10/21/2021, 4 staff cases, 1 attendee case
36. Juniper Ridge Community School: October 2021, School, K-12, Mesa County, 10/26/2021, 2 staff cases, 11 attendee cases
37. La Vista Correctional Facility: October 2021, State Prison, Pueblo County, 10/26/2021, 5 resident cases, 3 staff cases
38. Lakewood High School: September 2021, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/27/2021, 17 attendee cases
39. Little Sunshine's Playhouse and Preschool of Colorado Springs, School, K-12, El Paso County, 10/26/2021, 4 staff cases, 12 attendee cases
40. Marycrest Assisted Living (2304ST): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 10/22/2021, 2 resident cases, 1 staff case
41. McDonald's — Peyton (Meridian Rd), Restaurant, Fast Food, El Paso County, 10/21/2021, 14 staff cases
42. MeadowView of Greeley (23N615): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Weld County, 10/21/2021, 1 resident case, 1 staff case
43. Meeker Elementary School: October 2021, School, K-12, Rio Blanco County, 10/25/2021, 2 staff cases, 5 attendee cases
44. Mesa Manor Center (021177): September 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Mesa County, 10/15/2021, 4 staff cases
45. Morgan County Sheriff's Office — Detention, Jail, Morgan County, 10/22/2021, 7 resident cases, 1 staff case
46. MorningStar Assisted Living & Memory Care of Boulder (23F542): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Boulder County, 10/25/2021, 2 staff cases
47. North Star, Healthcare, Group Home, Fremont County, 10/20/2021, 4 resident cases, 3 staff cases
48. Northglenn Middle School, School, K-12, Adams County, 10/21/2021, 5 attendee cases
49. Padilla Elementary School, School, K-12, Adams County, 10/26/2021, 1 staff case, 5 attendee cases
50. Peakview School: October 2021, School, K-12, Huerfano County, 10/22/2021, 6 attendee cases
51. Plateau Valley Community School, School, K-12, Mesa County, 10/26/2021, 11 attendee cases
52. Platte Canyon High School, School, K-12, Park County, 10/20/2021, 13 attendee cases
53. Prairie Pines Assisted Living (23A938): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Kiowa County, 10/18/2021, 2 staff cases
54. Prairie Winds Elementary School, School, K-12, Pueblo County, 10/19/2021, 2 staff cases, 16 attendee cases
55. Primrose Retirement Community (23Z405): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 10/26/2021, 3 resident cases, 2 staff cases
56. Pueblo Center — Genesis (020662): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Pueblo County, 10/22/2021, 1 resident case, 3 staff cases, 1 resident death
57. Quality Science Labs, LLC, Office/Indoor Workspace, Park County, 10/20/2021, 7 staff cases
58. Rangely Junior/Senior High School: October 2021, School, K-12, Rio Blanco County, 10/20/2021, 4 staff cases, 10 attendee cases
59. Redlands Middle School, School, K-12, Mesa County, 10/26/2021, 17 attendee cases
60. Ridge Pinehurst LLC, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 10/12/2021, 2 resident cases
61. Rio Grande County Jail, Jail, Rio Grande County, 10/7/2021, 7 resident cases
62. Rio Grande Inn (02I146): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Conejos County, 10/7/2021, 3 staff cases
63. Rocky Mountain Children's Discovery Center: October 2021, Child Care Center, Fremont County, 10/25/2021, 4 staff cases, 3 attendee cases
64. San Carlos Correctional Facility: October 2021, State Prison, Pueblo County, 10/22/2021, 2 resident cases, 9 staff cases
65. School District 49 Transportation, School Administration, El Paso County, 10/21/2021, 8 staff cases
66. Sedgwick County Memorial Nursing Home (020199): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Sedgwick County, 10/25/2021, 2 staff cases
67. Shalom Park (0204NU): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Arapahoe County, 10/21/2021, 1 resident case, 1 staff case
68. Sierra Vista Elementary School, School, K-12, Pueblo County, 10/19/2021, 3 staff cases, 13 attendee cases
69. SIGNIA Call Center — Greeley, Office/Indoor Workspace, Weld County, 10/21/2021, 5 staff cases
70. Skyview Middle School, School, K-12, Pueblo County, 10/19/2021, 4 staff cases, 9 attendee cases
71. SLP Colorado (23Y683), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Douglas County, 10/21/2021, 4 resident cases, 4 staff cases
72. St. Andrews Village — Independent Living: October 2021, Healthcare, Independent Living Facility, Arapahoe County, 10/14/2021, 10 resident cases, 1 staff case, 2 resident deaths
73. St. Mary's Academy: October 2021, School, K-12, Arapahoe County, 10/22/2021, 1 staff case, 4 attendee cases
74. Suites at Clermont Park Care Center (020454): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Denver County, 10/25/2021, 2 staff cases
75. Summit High School: October 2021, School, K-12, Summit County, 10/20/2021, 1 staff case, 12 attendee cases
76. Summit Ridge Middle School: October 2021, School, K-12, Jefferson County, 10/27/2021, 10 attendee cases
77. Sundance Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation (020546): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, El Paso County, 10/25/2021, 5 resident cases
78. Super Rupair, Auto Repair Shop, Boulder County, 10/21/2021, 6 staff cases
79. Super Vacuum Manufacturing Co: October 2021, Non-Food Manufacturer/Warehouse, Larimer County, 10/14/2021, 8 staff cases
80. The Bridge at Greeley (23036H): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Weld County, 10/20/2021, 28 resident cases, 7 staff cases
81. The Center at Center Place (02Z779): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Weld County, 10/20/2021, 5 resident cases, 1 staff case, 1 resident death
82. The Goddard School — Highlands: October 2021, Child Care Center, Denver County, 10/22/2021, 1 staff case, 5 attendee cases
83. The Legacy at Monte Vista (2310NW): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Rio Grande County, 10/20/2021, 2 resident cases
84. The Rehabilitation Center at Sandalwood (020465): October 2021, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Jefferson County, 10/27/2021, 1 resident case, 1 staff case
85. The Retreat at Sunny Vista (23Q180): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 10/25/2021, 1 resident case, 3 staff cases
86. Valley Christian Academy: October 2021, School, K-12, El Paso County, 10/21/2021, 4 staff cases, 6 attendee cases
87. Waneka Park (230322): October 2021, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Boulder County, 10/26/2021, 4 resident cases, 3 staff cases
88. Weld Central Middle School, School, K-12, Weld County, 10/22/2021, 3 staff cases, 17 attendee cases
89. Weld County Jail: October 2021, Jail, Weld County, 10/26/2021, 6 resident cases
90. Westgate Community School: October 2021, School, K-12, Adams County, 10/26/2021, 8 attendee cases
91. William (Bill) Roberts School: October 2021, School, K-12, Denver County, 10/20/2021, 4 staff cases, 14 attendee cases
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts