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COVID-19: Colorado's Next Virus Time Bombs?
Photo by CDC on Unsplash

COVID-19: Colorado's Next Virus Time Bombs?

During recent press conferences discussing Colorado's response to COVID-19, Governor Jared Polis has cited jails and prisons as likely virus hotbeds because of the group living conditions in such settings — a risk underscored by a judge's May 11 ruling that inmates in the Weld County Jail were not adequately protected from infection. Multiple detention centers are among the state's 190 current outbreaks, including the Sterling Correctional Facility, the site of a recent contact-tracing horror story.

Nonetheless, the amount of testing at prisons within the Colorado Department of Corrections system remains woefully low with just a handful of exceptions, including Sterling, where a second inmate has now died from the novel coronavirus.

CDOC just launched a data dashboard to track COVID-19 cases, and updated information reveals the following:

1,823 tested
368 positives
365 active
1 recovered
2 deaths 

In late April, there were approximately 16,000 people incarcerated in Colorado, so the 1,823 inmate tests indicate that the state's prison system has a higher percentage of testees than does the state's overall population. Then again, prisons are clearly high-risk environments for COVID-19, and of the 23 facilities included on the dashboard (among them the Youth Offender System, an umbrella term for multiple centers), nine have not conducted a single test — and eleven list fewer than ten.

The biggest exception to this rule is Sterling Correctional, where 1,415 tests have resulted in the discovery of 329 positive cases. Of those, 327 are active, with only the two resulting in deaths no longer counted.

The second-highest testing rate is at the Crowley County Correctional Facility, where 299 tests revealed 37 active cases.

But while the Denver Detention Center, which is run by the City and County of Denver, had 86 inmates who'd tested positive, the 76 tests conducted at the state-run Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center found only one positive case.

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The takeaway: Months after the rise of the pandemic in Colorado, a group that's among the most likely to be infected in the state remains largely untested. Many more outbreaks could be brewing within the Department of Corrections, but right now, we simply don't know.

Here's the latest data for the DOC centers:

Arkansas Valley Correctional Facility
Tested: 4
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Arrowhead Correctional Facility
Tested: 7
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Bent County Correctional Facility
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Buena Vista Correctional Facility
Tested: 6
Positive: 1
Active: 0
Recovered: 1
Deaths: 0

Centennial Correctional Facility
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Colorado Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Colorado State Penitentiary
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Colorado State Penitentiary II
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Crowley County Correctional Facility
Tested: 299
Positive: 37
Active: 37
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Delta Correctional Facility
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Denver Reception & Diagnostic Center
Tested: 76
Positive: 1
Active: 1
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Denver Women's Correctional Facility
Tested: 2
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Four Mile Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Fremont Correctional Facility
Tested: 5
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

La Vista Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Limon Correctional Facility
Tested: 1
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Rifle Correctional Center
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

San Carlos Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Skyline Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Sterling Correctional Facility
Tested: 1,415
Positive: 329
Active: 327
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 2

Trinidad Correctional Facility
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

Youthful Offender System
Tested: 0
Positive: 0
Active: 0
Recovered: 0
Deaths: 0

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