Why Colorado COVID 19 Cases Are Being Undercounted

The latest COVID-19 statistics from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show a continuing decline in cases across the state. But the CDPHE acknowledges that the official total almost certainly undercounts the actual number of infections, since many of them are no longer being reported to authorities.

That’s why the department personnel is relying more heavily than ever on wastewater monitoring to trace the course of COVID-19 — which is how it discovered that a new mutation of the disease has invaded the state.

Here are the current COVID stats in major categories, as updated by the CDPHE after 4 pm August 10, along with information from our previous COVID roundup, which highlighted August 3 data:

1,610,922 cases (up 8,541 from August 3)
67,028 hospitalized (up 140 from August 3)
13,068 deaths among cases (up 50 from August 3)
13,758 deaths due to COVID-19 (up 129 from July 27)
9,566 outbreaks (up 40 from August 3)

The 8,541 cases counted over the past seven days is just over half of the 16,080 counted the week ending July 27 and also lower than the 9,607 tallied for the week ending August 3. But the numbers are less reliable than they once were, since many people who develop COVID-19 symptoms rely on at-home tests rather than getting tested at sites that report to the state health department, and don’t report the results.

A recent example of this phenomenon’s impact: The presence of the Omicron subvariant known as BA.2.75 was confirmed in Larimer and Morgan counties last week thanks to wastewater surveillance, not positive tests. Earlier this week, Kristen Stewart, a spokesperson for Colorado’s joint-information center, touted this technique, which “does not rely on people getting tested. … We may not have a clinical sample of this case sequenced because of the prevalence of at -home rapid tests, or even the possibility that someone has COVID-19 and has not taken a test. This is why it is so important to look at all the data sources holistically.”

Three other takeaways from the updated numbers:

• Hospitalization figures are also trending downward: The 140 new admissions for the week of August 10 compared to 468 on August 3. Likewise, the number of people receiving care went from 268 on August 2 to 243 on August 9.

• Fatality amounts are less consistent. The fifty deaths among cases of COVID-19 on August 10 was eight fewer than during the previous week. However, deaths directly attributable to the disease jumped from 100 to 129 over the same span.

• The state’s seven-day-average positivity rate of 7.38 percent is down significantly from 9.08 percent on August 3. Meanwhile, revised COVID-19 samples sequenced by the agency during the week of July 10, the most recent for which information is available, show that variants of Omicron continue to rule. According to the department’s breakdown, 79.09 percent of cases were traced to Omicron 5, 10.58 percent to Omicron 4, 8.65 percent to Omicron 3, and 0.96 percent to Omicron 1.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 remained steady. The 41 reported by the CDPHE on August 10 precisely matched the count from a week earlier, remaining on the high side despite reporting changes instituted by the CDPHE in July that exempted most businesses, schools and events. Once again, the majority of entries are health-care facilities that specialize in senior care. Exceptions include five child-care centers and an overnight camp in Archuleta County.

Here are the 41 new or tweaked outbreaks identified by the CDPHE on August 10, complete with information about categories, county of origin, and the date when the spread was officially recognized. Note that the department no longer provides information about the overall number of infections or deaths and whether they pertain to residents, staff members or attendees.

1. Arvada Care and Rehabilitation Center (020415): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Jefferson County, 8/3/2022
2. Brookdale El Camino (2306MT): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 7/12/2022
3. Canon Lodge Care Center (020676): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Fremont County, 8/9/2022
4. Castle Peak Assisted Living (23Q262): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Eagle County, 7/8/2022
5. Cedars Healthcare Center (020449): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Jefferson County, 8/4/2022
6. Center Avenue Health and Rehab (02R209): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Larimer County, 8/1/2022
7. Cheyenne Manor (020214): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Cheyenne County, 7/26/2022
8. Clermont Park Assisted Living (230463): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 8/8/2022
9. Columbine Commons Health and Rehab LLC (02L578): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Weld County, 7/25/2022
10. Crowley County Nursing Center (020248): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Crowley County, 7/19/2022
11. Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center (020170): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Morgan County, 8/1/2022
12. Good Samaritan Society — Simla (020597): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Elbert County, 8/4/2022
13. Harmony Home — Holly (23V260): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Logan County, 8/3/2022
14. Heritage Park Assisted Living (23088B), Healthcare, Assisted Living, Garfield County, 8/1/2022
15. Heritage Park Preschool, Child Care Center, Routt County, 7/27/2022
16. High Desert Assisted Living — House 2 LLC (23G929): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Mesa County, 8/1/2022
17. HighPointe Assisted Living & Memory Care (23M205): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Denver County, 8/4/2022
18. KinderCare Learning Center — Oakridge: August 2022, Child Care Center, Larimer County, 8/8/2022
19. La Villa Grande Care Center (021161): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Mesa County, 7/29/2022
20. Legend of Broomfield Assisted Living & Memory Care (23Z782): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Broomfield County, 7/27/2022
21. Liberty Heights Assisted Living (230558): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 8/8/2022
22. Life Care Center of Stonegate (02C450): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Douglas County, 8/8/2022
23. Loveland House Assisted Living (230344): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 8/5/2022
24. Martin House (050160): August 2022, Healthcare, RCFDD, Group Home, Kit Carson County, 8/3/2022
25. Mesa Vista Assisted Living Residence (23082E): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Garfield County, 7/29/2022
26. Modena Cherry Creek (23P249): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Arapahoe County, 8/3/2022
27. Morningstar of Fort Collins (23A846): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Larimer County, 7/25/2022
28. Primrose Retirement Community of Pueblo (23Z405): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Pueblo County, 7/29/2022
29. Primrose School at Lowry: August 2022, Child Care Center, Denver County, 8/9/2022
30. Pueblo Center — Genesis (020662): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Pueblo County, 8/8/2022
31. Smiling Faces Academy: July 2022, Child Care Center, Boulder County, 8/8/2022
32. Sonlight Camp, Overnight Camp, Archuleta County, 7/29/2022
33. Southeast Colorado Hospital Long Term Care Facility (020223): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Baca County, 8/3/2022
34. Stonecreek of Flying Horse (23P651): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, El Paso County, 8/3/2022
35. Sunrise at Flatirons (23R708): July 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Broomfield County, 8/1/2022
36. Sunrise of Westminster (23R753): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Adams County, 8/3/2022
37. The Goddard School of Northfield: July 2022, Child Care Center, Denver County, 8/5/2022
38. The Retreat At Palisade (2311QG): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Mesa County, 7/29/2022
39. The Villas at Sunny Acres Assisted Living (23U240): August 2022, Healthcare, Assisted Living, Adams County, 8/1/2022
40. Vista Grande Inn (021213): August 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Montezuma County, 7/29/2022
41. Washington County Nursing Home (020162): July 2022, Healthcare, Skilled Nursing, Washington County, 8/1/2022

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