Welcome Me to the COVID Club

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Since March 2020, I've reported on the impact of COVID-19 in Colorado from practically every angle but one — the experience of actually contracting the disease.

I was able to scratch that one off my list on October 2, when I tested positive, four days after my wife. She doesn't know for certain how she caught the virus — perhaps at a family gathering with an out-of-town guest whose case was confirmed on the same day as hers, or maybe at the school where she serves as principal, whose adherence to safety protocols prevented it from ending up on the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's outbreaks list. And since the CDPHE is no longer publicly posting about outbreaks at schools, that record remains unblemished.

My wife got sicker than I did: Early on, she would grow winded walking from one room to another, and even after getting the all-clear for a return to work (she's still in the five-day post-infection masking period), climbing a flight of stairs remains difficult. In contrast, I had a couple of days where I felt like I had a really bad cold — coughing, runny nose. But now my only issue is the terrible taste in my mouth from Paxlovid, the anti-viral medication I was prescribed. My doctor says only about 10 percent of Paxlovid takers experience that side effect, so I guess that should make me feel special.

I'm incredibly grateful to have gotten COVID-19 after the development of vaccines and improved treatment; two members of our extended family who died from the malady weren't as fortunate. But I'm also living proof that the virus is far from done with us — and there's plenty of other evidence along these lines. In the past week, I've heard anecdotal accounts of multiple people in my circle becoming infected, employees having to work remotely because of spreads at their businesses, and in-person meetings being switched to Zoom since so many attendees are contagious.

Because of home testing, many of these illnesses aren't being reported to the state health department, including mine — unless someone at the agency wants to count this post as verification. Yet the state health department is still recording thousands of cases every week.

Here are the latest numbers from the CDPHE in major categories, updated after 4 p.m. October 5. They're juxtaposed with data from our previous COVID-19 roundup, which drew from September 28 stats.

1,657,512 cases (up 4,823 from September 28)
68,938 hospitalized (up 151 from September 28)
13,334 deaths among cases (up 34 from September 28)
14,033 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 34 from September 28)
9,812 outbreaks (up 46 from September 28)

Four takeaways:

• The new-case count of 4,823 for the week ending October 5 is down modestly from the 5,237 recorded for the week ending September 28, and daily totals remain in the high hundreds and generally consistent. The 743 documented on October 4 compare to 728 on September 27.

• Contradictions abound in hospitalization data. The number of people admitted with COVID grew by 151 from September 28 to October 5  based on the overall total, but a separate stat calculates the number of individuals hospitalized for the disease during the week of October 4 at 185, up from 171 on September 27.

• Deaths among those with COVID-19 and fatalities directly caused by the disease both totaled 34 on October 5. The first stat represents a decrease from the previous week's 47, while the second is up slightly from 33 on September 28.

• The state's seven-day-average positivity rate has risen as well, moving from 5.55 percent on September 28 to 5.69 percent on October 5. Meanwhile, samples sequenced by the CDPHE during the week of September 18 were dominated by Omicron 5 (90 percent) and two variations on Omicron 4 (8.57 percent), with a trace tied to a relatively new strain, Omicron BF.7.

The eighteen new or tweaked outbreak listings shared by the CDPHE in its October 5 report represent a big drop from the forty on September 28. They're dominated by health-care facilities that specialize in senior care — among the handful of sites for which the department is still publicly sharing outbreak information. The only exceptions are two group homes and a state prison.

Here are the eighteen new or tweaked outbreaks identified by the CDPHE on October 5, including 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, and whether they pertain to residents, staff members or attendees.

1. Assured Senior Living 10 (23E900): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Jefferson County, 9/29/2022
2. Boulder Canyon Health and Rehabilitation (020339): October 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Boulder County, 10/3/2022
3. Chateau at Sharmar Assisted Living (2306N1): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 9/30/2022
4. Flatirons Health & Rehab, LLC (02H512): October 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Boulder County, 9/30/2022
5. Four Mile Correctional Center: September 2022, State Prison, Fremont County, 9/30/2022
6. Gardens at St Elizabeth (230426): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 9/29/2022
7. Grand River Health Care Center (020899): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Garfield County, 9/29/2022
8. Jackson Creek Senior Living (23H946): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 9/29/2022
9. Life Care Center of Evergreen (020490): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Jefferson County, 9/7/2022
10. Mesa Vista of Boulder (020380): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Boulder County, 9/28/2022
11. Montage Hills (0204T9): October 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Arapahoe County, 10/3/2022
12. Paonia Care and Rehabilitation Center (021199): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Delta County, 9/29/2022
13. Powell House (05R242), Healthcare, RCFDD Group Home, Alamosa County, 9/28/2022
14. Shalom Park (0204NU): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Arapahoe County, 9/19/2022
15. The Center at Centerplace, LLC (02Z779): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Weld County, 9/27/2022
16. The Rehabilitation Center at Sandalwood (020465): September 2022, Healthcare, Nursing Facility, Jefferson County, 9/27/2022
17. The Retreat at Sunny Vista (23Q180): September 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 10/3/2022
18. Vista House (05081P): September 2022, Healthcare, RCFDD Group Home, Garfield County, 9/21/2022
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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

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