COVID-19 outbreaks keep rising in Colorado nursing homes; hospitalizations trending down
The number of COVID-19 outbreaks in Colorado rose over the last week by the smallest amount since they started trending up again in March, but clusters in nursing homes continued to increase.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 870 active outbreaks as of Wednesday afternoon, which was 11 more than at the same time last week. The number of outbreaks has been rising since the end of March, and has reached a level last seen in mid-February.
The slowing in new outbreaks comes as the number of statewide coronavirus hospitalizations fell for a fourth day, and new cases continued to trend down. About 50 fewer people were hospitalized for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 than were on Saturday, though it’s too early to be sure the numbers will continue to fall.
The state defines an outbreak as two or more COVID-19 cases linked to the same place or event. Four weeks have to pass with no new cases before the health department considers an outbreak over.
Nursing homes saw the largest increase, with 14 new outbreaks. Assisted living facilities were close behind, with 11, and K-12 schools followed, with seven.
While the current outbreaks in long-term care facilities are smaller than during the fall wave, they’ve still infected 230 residents and 474 staff members. Six residents have died.
No deaths have been linked to the school outbreaks, which have infected 2,917 students and 287 staff members.
The overall COVID-19 picture varies significantly around the state. Hospitalizations are declining or stable in most counties, but rose at least half of the days in the last two weeks in Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Mesa and Pueblo counties.
While cases are down overall, five counties — Alamosa, Baca, Conejos, Dolores and Sedgwick — had numbers that would have pushed them toward Level Orange or Level Red, if the state still enforced its dial framework.
Alamosa, Conejos and Sedgwick also had rates of test positivity that would put them in orange or red, as did Adams, El Paso, Gilpin, Jackson and Prowers counties.
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