Coronavirus

Colorado's COVID Numbers Still High Despite Outbreaks Changes

Colorado Children's Academy Downtown in Colorado Springs may be among the last child-care centers to be identified by the state health department as a COVID-19 outbreak site.
Colorado Children's Academy Downtown in Colorado Springs may be among the last child-care centers to be identified by the state health department as a COVID-19 outbreak site. Google Maps
Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment took a step toward "normalizing" its approach to COVID-19 by exempting K-12 schools and the overwhelming majority of other sites from its weekly outbreaks roster. But even as she argued that this move made sense given current understanding about how the disease spreads, Ginger Stringer, the epidemiology response program manager in the CDPHE's communicable-disease branch, acknowledged that "our case rates are still high."

Stringer's observation about case counts is borne out by the latest statistics from the department — and numbers related to hospitalizations, deaths and more are following suit.

Here are the current COVID numbers in major categories, as updated by the CDPHE after 4 p.m. July 20, along with information from our previous COVID roundup, which drew from June 29 data:

1,576,694 cases (up 43,493 from June 29)
66,118 hospitalized (up 1,489 from June 29)
64 counties (unchanged from June 29)
12,922 deaths among cases (up 156 from June 29)
13,295 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 108 from June 29)
9,404 outbreaks (up 71 from June 29)

Four takeaways

• The 43,493 new cases recorded during the 21 days ending July 20 average out to 14,497 per week — higher than the 13,112 registered on June 22. Moreover, the total almost certainly represents only a small slice of the overall cases; these days, as Stringer acknowledges, most Coloradans confirm their infections with home kits on a private basis rather than taking more medically accurate tests whose results are then shared with the CDPHE.

• New hospitalization stats are up, too. The 1,489 calculated on July 20 works out to a weekly average of 496, compared to 375 on June 29. Daily admissions over the past week generally vacillated from a low of around fifty to a high of slightly above 100, and 304 confirmed COVID patients were hospitalized during the week of July 19 — a number similar to those over the past month or so.

• Figures related to fatalities have flagged to a small but significant degree. Deaths among cases of COVID-19 averaged 52 for each of the past three weeks, down from 62 on June 29, with deaths from COVID-19 averaging just over 34 per week.

• The state's seven-day-average positivity rate of 11.16 percent is down slightly from 11.62 percent on June 29, but still more than twice as high as the 5 percent mark the CDPHE prefers not to surpass. COVID-19 samples sequenced by the agency during the week of June 26, the most recent for which information is available, show that variants of Omicron continue to rule. According to the department's breakdown, 63.63 percent of cases were traced to Omicron 5, 21.82 percent to Omicron 3, 10.91 percent to Omicron 4, and 3.64 percent to Omicron 1.

The CDPHE's outbreaks changes caused the number of incidents under active investigation by the department to plummet from 573 on June 29 to 369 in the survey shared on July 20. Moreover, new or tweaked outbreaks on the roster tumbled from 62 on June 29 to 37 on July 20 — and entries that aren't considered high-risk settings, such as nursing homes and other medical facilities that cater to senior care, will likely be vanishing soon. Probable examples include child-care centers and summer camps, which account for six new outbreaks each.

Beyond omitting most types of outbreaks, the CDPHE has cut way back on details provided about facilities that continue to be monitored. The department is no longer revealing the number of residents, staffers or attendees who've been infected, or even if deaths have been linked to a site. As a result, the public can no longer determine the severity of an outbreak at a given place — whether there are two cases (the minimum to qualify) or fifty.

Continue to see the 37 new or tweaked outbreaks identified by the CDPHE on July 20, complete with information about categories, county of origin, and the date when the spread was officially recognized.

1. Allison Care Center (020406): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Jefferson County, 7/8/2022
2. AltaVita Memory Care Center (23H130): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Boulder County, 7/14/2022
3. Aspen Leaf Assisted Living Residence Limon Inc (23S688), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Lincoln County, 7/14/2022
4. Avid 4 Adventure Mt. Evans, Overnight Camp, Jefferson County, 7/15/2022
5. Balfour at Littleton (23M124): June 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 7/11/2022
6. Bent County Healthcare Center (020246): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Bent County, 7/15/2022
7. Brookdale Meridian Lakewood (020475), Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Jefferson County, 7/18/2022
8. Cadence Aurora (23048J): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 7/12/022
9. Camp Chief Ouray, Overnight Camp, Grand County, 7/14/2022
10. Camp Santa Maria, Overnight Camp, Park County, 6/6/2022
11. Castle Rock Assisted Living II (23J544), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Douglas County, 7/15/2022
12. Cheley Colorado Camps, Overnight Camp, Larimer County, 6/13/2022
13. Colorado Children's Academy Downtown, Child Care Center, El Paso County, 7/14/2022
14. Crestmoor Health and Rehabilitation Center (020497): June 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Denver County, 6/30/2022
15. Denver North Care Center (020444): June 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Denver County, 6/13/2022
16. Family Star Montessori School — Northwest: July 2022, Child Care Center, Denver County, 6/28/2022
17. Garden Square at Westlake (2303C0): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Weld County, 7/13/2022
18. Garden Square of Greeley (2303DK): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Weld County, 7/19/2022
19. Geneva Glen Camp, Overnight Camp, Jefferson County, 7/15/2022
20. Grand Avenue Group Home (050815), Healthcare, Group Home, Garfield County, 7/12/2022
21. Heidi's Chateau (2311S4): July 2022 Healthcare - Assisted Living Montrose 7/11/2022
22. Liberty Heights Skilled Nursing Center (020501): June 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, El Paso County, 6/27/2022
23. Lincoln Health Care Center (020167): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Lincoln County, 7/13/2022
24. Longmont Smart Home (05R712): July 2022, Healthcare, Group Home, Boulder County, 7/12/2022
25. Mesa County Work Release/Community Corrections: June 2022, Correctional, Mesa County, 7/5/2022
26. Montessori Academy of Colorado: June 2022, Child Care Center, Denver County, 7/14/2022
27. New Mercer Commons (23036U): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 7/15/2022
28. New Visions RTF (2304H3), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 7/12/2022
29. Patriot School Age Center, Child Care Center, El Paso County, 7/14/2022
30. Pearl Assisted Living (23A936), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Elbert County, 7/15/2022
31. Prestige Care Center of Fort Collins (020367): June 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Larimer County, 6/30/2022
32. Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp, Overnight Camp, Custer County, 7/4/2022
33. Solange at South Forrest (23E526): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Douglas County, 7/11/2022
34. Stonecreek of Littleton (23N524): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 6/28/2022
35. Sunflower Montessori Childcare: July 2022, Child Care Center, Jefferson County, 7/15/2022
36. Terry Lake Assisted Living (23Q699): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 7/11/2022
37. The Wonder Academy, Child Care Center, Denver County, 6/4/2022
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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