Just because something is well known doesn't mean the realities of COVID-19 are unknown there — and many of Colorado's most famous locations and entities prove that as they become novel coronavirus outbreak sites.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment defines an outbreak as two or more COVID-19 cases among residents, staffers or other people connected to a specific location are confirmed within a fourteen-day period, or two or more cases of respiratory illness with an onset of symptoms within a fourteen-day period are paired with at least one additional COVID-19 diagnosis. The vast majority of businesses and facilities identified as outbreaks remain open while working with the department to monitor symptoms and prevent future infections.
The CDPHE's most recent outbreak report, released on December 9, lists 2,527 total outbreaks since the start of the pandemic: 1,294 under active investigation, including 217 that were publicly identified that week, and 1,233 considered resolved.
Here are ten recognizable people, places and things that all made the most recent Colorado outbreak list, in alphabetical order.
Declared an outbreak on: July 21
Current stats: 34 positive staff cases, 4 probable staff cases
Currently, five Colorado casinos are dealing with outbreaks: two in Teller County (Triple Crown Casino and Wildwood Casino, both of which have two positive staff cases) and three in Gilpin County, including Monarch Casino, with fourteen positive staff cases, and Maverick Gaming, with seven positive staff cases and one probable staff case. But Ameristar, located in Black Hawk, is the largest casino in the state, with more than 1,500 gaming machines and at least 25 table games.
Declared an outbreak on: August 29
Current stats: 40 positive staff cases
Owned by Colorado's richest man, Phil Anschutz, the Broadmoor is the pride of Colorado Springs, and it's on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's registry as one of the country's most historic hotels. Among its renowned guests was former president George W. Bush, who is said to have quit drinking after waking up at the Broadmoor with a hangover in 1986.
Declared an outbreak on: October 30
Current stats: 18 positive staff cases
Sports teams of every description have been hit by COVID-19, including the Colorado Rapids, which has suffered two outbreaks to date, and the Colorado Rockies. But the Broncos have had the most prominent cases (team executives John Elway and Joe Ellis were both infected last month) and suffered the biggest public embarrassment, when the NFL ruled all of the quarterbacks ineligible for a game against the New Orleans Saints because of virus-related safety protocols. A converted wide receiver wound up calling signals in the game, with Denver on the short end of a 31-3 score.
Denver International Airport/United Ramp Services
Declared an outbreak on: August 18
Current stats: 17 positive staff cases
DIA's profile is instantly identifiable — and while the airport as a whole has skirted outbreak status to date, the struggles of the ramp services unit for United Airlines, a carrier with one of the most sprawling operations at the facility, have dragged on for nearly four months.
Denver Public Library
Declared an outbreak on: November 11
Current stats: 5 positive staff cases
The main branch of the Denver Public Library, at 10 West Fourteenth Avenue Plaza off Broadway, is as striking a structure as the Mile High City has to offer. But its beauty hasn't kept the pandemic from its door.
JBS Greeley Beef Plant
Declared an outbreak on: April 3 and November 11
Current stats: 53 positive staff cases
Meat-processing plants and slaughterhouses were some of the earliest places to suffer from widespread outbreaks, with the one at JBS in Greeley getting national attention. The first outbreak, in April, resulted in a stunning 292 positive staff cases and six deaths among workers. The plant was declared an outbreak again last month, and the case count is rising once again. Meanwhile, other spinoffs of the operation have wound up on the list, too. JBS's corporate offices have had two outbreaks — one in May that resulted in five positive staff cases and one probable staff case, and another in October that's caused 49 positive staff cases and is still active. Even the internship program had an outbreak in July, with ten members testing positive before that spread ran its course.
MolsonCoors Golden Brewery
Declared an outbreak on: October 16
Current stats: 15 positive staff cases, 1 probable staff case
Over the years, Coors's advertising campaigns have gone through plenty of permutations. But glamour shots of the Golden brewery have been a favorite for decades — which explains why so many visitors to the region make a tour of the operation a must. Other breweries have had outbreaks, too, including the giant Anheuser-Busch enterprise in Larimer County, which has 18 positive staff cases at present.
Nestle Purina Pet Care
Declared an outbreak on: July 13 and November 16
Current stats: 28 positive staff cases, 10 probable staff cases
Every day, thousands upon thousands of Denver-area commuters drive past the Purina plant, located just off Interstate 70 at 4555 York Street — and the smell of Dog Chow permeates the entire area. COVID doesn't smell, though, and thus far, the plant has experienced two outbreaks. The first, in July, led to ten positive staff cases; the latest is much more widespread.
Declared an outbreak on: November 12
Current stats: 3 positive staff cases
Even without the help of author Stephen King, whose horror classic The Shining was inspired by it, Estes Park's Stanley Hotel would be among the most notable hotels in the U.S. It notched another infamous achievement last month, when it became an outbreak site.
St. Regis Aspen Resort
Declared an outbreak on: November 25
Current stats: 5 positive staff cases
The epitome of Aspen allure, the St. Regis is a subsidiary of Marriott International that's become a financial trendsetter: In 2018, the resort raised $18 million via the offering of digital tokens traded on blockchain. But no amount of money can guarantee that COVID-19 won't eventually check in.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.