Coronavirus

COVID in Colorado: Spread Extreme in 61 Counties

Pueblo County was among seventeen Colorado counties with a two-week cumulative incidence rate of more than 1,000 on November 21.
Pueblo County was among seventeen Colorado counties with a two-week cumulative incidence rate of more than 1,000 on November 21. YouTube
Last week, the Jefferson County Board of Health urged Governor Jared Polis to take more forceful action to weaken the latest spike of COVID-19 infections in Colorado, such as implementing a statewide face-covering order for all indoor public spaces — a suggestion he shows no sign of accepting. The board also "requested the flexibility for local jurisdictions to implement mitigation procedures in certain settings, such as a vaccination passport program, in lieu of universal masking requirements." The latter prospect prompted an alert about potential orders from the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation regarding a Jeffco board of health meeting scheduled for 11 a.m. today, November 22.

The virus situation in Jefferson County is undeniably serious. The COVID-19 dial dashboard maintained by the Colorado Department of Public Health, updated after 4 p.m. yesterday, November 21, reveals that Jeffco has a two-week cumulative incidence rate for the disease of 722.1 per 100,000 people. That puts the county well into Level Red on the dial — a status that would have resulted in stay-at-home orders and more during the period in 2020 when COVID restrictions were at their height.

And Jefferson County isn't alone. At present, 61 of Colorado's 64 counties are at Level Red by two-week cumulative incidence rate, including the entire metro Denver area. The county total is larger than the one around this same time last year, when the largest viral wave to date was gathering strength.

Note that on November 17, 2020, as documented in this post, 52 Colorado counties were at Level Red.


The current dial standard for the two-week cumulative incidence rate has five color codes: Level Green (fewer than 25 cases), Level Blue (25-75 cases), Level Yellow (75-175 cases), Level Orange (175 to 300 cases) and Level Red (more than 300 cases). As of the 21st, three counties were at Level Green, with fewer than eight cases in the last two weeks: Hinsdale, Jackson and San Juan. None are at levels Blue or Yellow, and while two others, Lincoln and Sedgwick counties, appear to be at Level Orange on the color-coded map, their incidence rates are both in Level Red range, at 318 and 332.1, respectively.

Many other counties have considerably higher rates. Indeed, seventeen are above 1,000, well over three times the Level Red threshold, topped by Cheyenne County, whose two-week cumulative incidence rate comes in at 1,950.7.

Compared to these Colorado places, Jefferson County doesn't look as if it's doing too badly in terms of COVID-19 spread. But that's absolutely not the case.

Continue to see the 61 Colorado counties currently at Level Red on the CDPHE's COVID-19 dial, listed in ascending order. The twelve counties with local public-health orders in place are asterisked; the others don't have indoor mask orders or other mitigation procedures in place.


4. Lincoln County — 318
5. Sedgwick County — 332.1
6. Elbert County — 401
7. Costilla County — 430.3
8. Ouray County — 450.7
9. Gunnison County — 454.5
10. Grand County — 464.7
11. Pitkin County* — 495.3
12. Lake County — 512.3
13. Boulder County* — 516.8
14. Garfield County — 520.1
15. Clear Creek County* — 553.7
16. Dolores County — 555.3
17. Broomfield County — 584.1
18. Yuma County — 600.1
19. Denver County* — 620.7
20. Park County — 625.2
21. Arapahoe County* — 637.2
22. Douglas County — 638.8
23. Phillips County — 640.6
24. San Miguel County* — 657.3
25. Conejos County — 658.7
26. Logan County — 658.7
27. Eagle County — 663.4
28. Gilpin County — 672.5
29. Moffat County — 699.9
30. Teller County — 702.3
31. Jefferson County* — 722.1
32. Larimer County* — 727
33. Washington County — 745.5
34. Crowley County — 752.8
35. Adams County* — 760.5
36. Delta County — 776.7
37. El Paso County — 778.9
38. Prowers County — 790.7
39. Weld County — 796.5
40. Morgan County — 807.5
41. Summit County* — 876.9
42. Kiowa County — 889.8
43. Routt County — 901.7
44. Custer County — 933.6
45. Saguache County — 951
46. Huerfano County — 955.2
47. La Plata County — 975.8
48. Montezuma County — 1024.9
49. Kit Carson County — 1031.5
50. Montrose County — 1079.1
51. Pueblo County* — 1084.1
52. Chaffee County* — 1117.1
53. Mesa County — 1118.6
54. Baca County — 1122
55. Alamosa County — 1151.3
56. Las Animas County — 1167.7
57. Bent County — 1234.8
58. Rio Blanco County — 1300.9
59. Fremont County — 1339.8
60. Archuleta County — 1346.5
61. Rio Grand — 1393.9
62. Otero County — 1419.1
63. Mineral County — 1744.2
64. Cheyenne County — 1950.7
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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