COVID-19 and Where It's Spreading Fastest in Colorado Right Now

The emergency entrance at Denver Health.
The emergency entrance at Denver Health. Google Maps
A breakdown of the latest data on the COVID-19 outbreak in Colorado indicates that the spread of the novel coronavirus appears to be slowing in the state as a whole. But there are still plenty of places where the infection continues to roar through the populace, including far from the beaten path.

The most recent figures from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, updated around 4 p.m. on April 9, show the state's COVID-19 death toll topping 200 for the first time:
6,202 cases (including positive tests and presumptive-positives)
1,221 hospitalized
56 counties
31,180 people tested
54 outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health-care facilities
226 deaths 
The CDPHE also offers county-by-county information about positive cases and deaths. Here are the ten in Colorado with the highest number of fatalities so far — and predictably, Denver leads the pack.
Denver — 38 deaths (1,031 cases)
Weld — 36 deaths (614 cases)
El Paso — 32 deaths (534 cases)
Jefferson — 25 deaths (660 cases)
Arapahoe — 24 deaths (877 cases)
Adams — 16 deaths (475 cases)
Douglas — 10 deaths (270 cases)
Larimer — 9 deaths (174 cases)
Boulder — 7 deaths (217 cases)
Eagle — 5 deaths (394 cases)
These figures don't offer an indication of where these counties fall on the virus's curve. However, an online tool created by the New York Times adds another layer to the CDPHE's stats, revealing how quickly the cases in each county are doubling — a crucial indicator of the pandemic's progress, as Governor Jared Polis has noted in several updates about the COVID-19 fight. And the results offer some surprises.

Right now, for example, Morgan County, on Colorado's eastern plains, appears to have the most virulent outbreak in the state. No deaths have been recorded there yet, but the current caseload sits at 44 and the pace may be quickening beyond estimates that cases will double every three days: On April 8, the Morgan County count was 23.

Several counties in Colorado remain officially untouched by COVID-19, but even remote places aren't immune. On April 8, ten Colorado counties registered zero cases: Bent, Cheyenne, Conejos, Dolores, Gilpin, Jackson, Kiowa, Prowers, Sedgwick and San Juan. A day later, two had fallen off the list, with Gilpin and Prowers counties recording their first positives.

Other Colorado counties have so few cases that the Times tool isn't able to offer a doubling rate. They include Elbert (ten cases), Delta (six), Custer, Washington and Yuma (two apiece), and Crowley, Las Animas and Rio Blanco (one each).

In Colorado's biggest cities, the rate of doubling has slowed considerably. Cases are currently doubling in Denver County every 11.5 days; in El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, it's every 12.5 days, according to the Times tool. But many other areas near metro Denver are seeing the doubling of cases in under ten days, including Arapahoe, Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Farther afield, other hot spots are cooling down. Pitkin County's doubling rate is now at 39 days. Gunnison County, which imposed strict stay-at-home measures before the rest of the state, is now at every 34 days, and officials there have kept a no-visitors policy for the entire county.

Here's the doubling rate in select Colorado counties, using the Times tool:

Morgan County: Doubling every 3 days (44 cases)
Montrose County: Doubling every 6.5 days (38 cases)
Summit County: Doubling every 7 days (57 cases)
Arapahoe County: Doubling every 7.5 days (877 cases)
Mesa County: Doubling every 7.5 days (32 cases)
Weld County: Doubling every 8 days (614 cases)
Broomfield County: Doubling every 8 days (61 cases)
Adams County: Doubling every 9 days (475 cases)
Teller County: Doubling every 9 days (12 cases)
Jefferson County: Doubling every 9.5 days (660 cases)
Boulder county: Doubling every 9.5 days (217 cases)
La Plata County: Doubling every 10.5 days (37 cases)
Denver County: Doubling every 11.5 days (1,031 cases)
Pueblo County: Doubling every 11.5 days (48 cases)
El Paso County: Doubling every 12.5 days (534 cases)
Douglas County: Doubling every 12.5 days (270 cases)
Larimer County: Doubling every 15 days (174 cases)
Chaffee County: Doubling every 16 days (26 cases)
Routt County: Doubling every 18 days
Eagle County: Doubling every 23 days (393 cases)
Gunnison County: Doubling every 34 days (99 cases)
Garfield County: Doubling every 34.5 days (50 cases)
Pitkin County: Doubling every 73.5 days (39 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