Coronavirus

How COVID-19 Is Being Tracked in Colorado Now

Outside Centura Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver.
Outside Centura Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver. Google Maps
Monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Colorado is more complicated than ever.

The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment continues to collect information about the proliferation of the virus and its many variants — but as acknowledged by AnneMarie Harper, communications director for the CDPHE's division of Disease Control & Public Health Response, these numbers are getting trickier to interpret.

"We know case data is incomplete," Harper concedes — so to compensate, "we use multiple metrics to help understand the true prevalence of disease in the state."

Among these measures is the positivity rate, despite significant changes in patient behavior. Earlier in the pandemic, the percentage of positive results as compared to the overall amount of examinations helped officials understand if enough testing was being done, and any digit over 5 percent set off alarms. Now, however, "Coloradans have transitioned away from relying on large community testing sites toward testing at home with widely available at-home rapid tests, health-care providers or local retail pharmacies," Harper notes.

As a result, she continues, "the context in which PCR tests are used have changed," requiring the CDPHE to consider them alongside other measures, including "reported cases, wastewater surveillance, outbreaks, variant surveillance, hospitalizations and deaths." Yet she feels the rate remains an important piece of the puzzle: "One of the key strengths of positivity data is that it tends to be a leading indicator, showing early changes in the trajectory of infections. Positivity data also helps us understand whether increases or decreases in case numbers are being driven by testing volume."

As of 4 p.m. on January 11, Colorado's positivity rate stood at 7.9 percent.

Here are other updated CDPHE figures in major categories since the pandemic began:

1,739,744 cases
74,700 hospitalized
13,934 deaths among cases
14,600 deaths due to COVID-19
10,453 outbreaks

And these are the details for the past seven days:

Cases reported this week: 3,204, down 646
Cases reported for previous weeks: 659
Seven-day positivity rate: 7.9 percent
Currently hospitalized: 245, down 36
New hospital admissions: 342, down 176

Three takeaways from the fresh data:

• Weekly case counts are still sliding, going from 3,823 for the week ending January 4 to 3,204 on January 11.

• This week, the CDPHE announced that it would align its fatality figures with those from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists' revised COVID-19-associated death classification guidance. The approach is similar to the one the department has used to determine deaths due to COVID-19, as opposed to the number of people who died with the disease in their system. By that standard, deaths from the disease fell significantly over the past week, going from 46 on January 4 to 18 on January 11.

• Hospitalization statistics are also moving in the right direction. The overall number of people hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 declined from 281 on January 4 to 245 on January 11, and the 342 new admissions for the past seven days was down by 176 from the previous week.

The changing mix of variants in the state indicates how quickly things can change. The Nowcast model maintained by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in Region 8, which encompasses Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, the more transmissible BQ and XBB variants continue to grow in strength. In the latest survey, dated January 7, BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 account for 75.8 percent of infections, with XBB.1.5 going from roughly 2 percent to 6.6 percent in a week.

With such figures in mind, Governor Jared Polis extended the current disaster declaration for COVID-19 on January 8, but removed references to Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), influenza and other respiratory illnesses from the order.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 outbreaks, which are now mainly focused on health-care facilities, including those that specialize in seniors, have generally remained steady. The CDPHE identified 38 new or tweaked outbreak sites on January 11, up one from the previous week.

The latest additions are listed below, along with information about categories, county of origin and the date when the spread was officially recognized. The department no longer provides details regarding the overall number of infections or deaths, or whether they pertain to residents, staff members or attendees, until the outbreaks have been resolved.

1. Ara at Holly Hills (23W361), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Douglas County, 1/10/2023
2. Ardent Health and Rehabilitation Center (020410): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Adams County, 1/5/2023
3. Avamere Transitional Care and Rehabilitation (020399): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Adams County, 11/16/2022
4. Bethesda Gardens Loveland (23F492): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 1/6/2023
5. Brookdale Arvada (23046M): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 1/3/2023
6. Brookdale Greenwood Village Assisted Living (2304MV): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 1/9/2023
7. Cappella of Pueblo West (2306FN): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 1/6/2023
8. Colonial Health and Rehabilitation Center (020564): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, El Paso County, 1/9/2023
9. Columbine Commons Assisted Living (23R659): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Weld County, 12/28/2022
10. Constant Care V Cheyenne (2305T2): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 1/3/2023
11. Cottonwood Inn Rehab and Extended Care Center (02E994): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, La Plata County, 1/4/2023
12. Crossroads at Lakewood (23T750): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 1/9/2023
13. Goshen Assisted Living LLC (23H948), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 1/9/2023
14. Grand River Health Care Center (020899): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Garfield County, 1/5/2023
15. Highline Place (23L199): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 1/6/2023
16. Jacob J And Anne B Walter Memorial Living Center (2301LU): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Sedgwick County, 1/6/2023
17. Karen's House (23A122), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 1/6/2023
18. Katherine and Charles Hover Green Houses, Inc (02F918): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Boulder County, 1/5/2023
19. La Villa Grande Care Center (021161): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Mesa County, 1/3/2023
20. Montage Hills (2304X1): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 1/5/2023
21. Montage Ridge ALR (2304WQ): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 1/2/2023
22. MorningStar at Mountain Shadows (23Y392): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 1/3/2023
23. Palisades at Broadmoor Park (23U762): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 1/2/2023
24. Park Place (050807), Healthcare, RCFDD Group Home, Moffat County, 12/30/2022
25. Primrose Place (23036C): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 1/6/2023
26. Pueblo Regional Center — House G (0506AT): December 2022, Healthcare, Intermediate Care, Pueblo County, 1/4/2023
27. Rock Canyon Respiratory and Rehabilitation Center (020699): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Pueblo County, 12/28/2022
28. Sloan's Lake Rehabilitation Center (02Q649): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Denver County, 1/5/2023
29. Summit Rehabilitation and Care Community (020407): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Arapahoe County, 1/3/2023
30. The Center at Foresight LLC (02V727): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Mesa County, 12/30/2022
31. The Center at Lincoln, LLC (02S302): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Douglas County, 1/3/2023
32. The Gardens at Columbine (2304QP): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 1/6/2023
33. The Legacy at Lamar (23029P), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Prowers County, 12/30/2022
34. The Mezzanine — Assisted Living At Golden West (230379): December 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Boulder County, 1/5/2023
35. University Heights Rehab and Care Community (020447): January 2023, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Arapahoe County, 1/9/2023
36. Vista View Care Center (02R315): December 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Adams County, 12/23/2022
37. Wheat Ridge Regional Center — House M (06Y390), Healthcare, Intermediate Care, Jefferson County, 12/27/2022
38. Whitcomb Terrace (230901): January 2023, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pitkin County, 1/6/2023
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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

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