Colorado Counties Face Reopening Rollback As Coronavirus Cases Grow, New Outbreaks Occur

July 22, 2020
Fort Collins Ace Hardware Lawn Mowers Face MaskFort Collins Ace Hardware Lawn Mowers Face MaskHart Van Denburg/CPR News
The economy has come back to life in Fort Collins, but variances from state coronavirus restrictions are now in jeopardy in Larimer and other Colorado counties experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19

An increase in new cases of COVID-19, partly driven by a series of retail and restaurant outbreaks, has put reopening and large gatherings in Larimer and other Colorado counties at risk.

Larimer led the state in new coronavirus outbreaks this week with five facilities reporting two or more COVID-19 cases within a short period. The outbreaks occurred at two restaurants, two stores and a dental office.

The virus also found its way to the Colorado State Penitentiary in Cañon City, where 24 inmates and seven staff members have now tested positive.

The increase in outbreaks along with a general rise in new cases led the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue a warning to Larimer County over its continued variance from the state public health order.

The variance, granted to Larimer in May, allows the county to have higher capacity than the state order allows in restaurants and some salons and stores. It also allows larger events up to 50 people, whereas the state order limits events to 10 people. In response to the warning, Larimer County issued a draft mitigation plan Monday, which includes intensive contact tracing and the use of an outbreak response team.

Along with Larimer County, the state health department has granted 42 other counties — two-thirds of the state — additional privileges through public health variances since May. The variances range from allowing the opening of some facilities — like zoos, movie theaters or churches — to allowing special events. Each variance can be rescinded if COVID-19 conditions worsen.

Larimer is just one of 15 counties in Colorado to receive a warning from CDPHE this week. The other counties at risk of losing their variances are Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Chaffee, Custer, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Garfield, Grand, Mineral, Pitkin and Prowers. Pueblo is also preparing a mitigation plan to try and avoid a reversal of their variance.

If COVID-19 conditions continue to worsen in any of those counties, they could be required to revert to all of the regulations included under the statewide safer at home order.

The state continues to report high numbers of new outbreaks of COVID-19 with a total of 23 facilities reporting new outbreaks this week. The new outbreaks occurred in five offices, three restaurants, three nursing homes, three jails, two stores, a police department, an oil and gas company, a hotel, a concrete company, a casino, a dental office and a warehouse. 

New outbreaks for the week of July 22:

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/20/20
Facility: All Copy Products
Type: Office
County: Denver
COVID-19 cases: 17 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/18/20
Facility: Alpine Bank - Carbondale
Type: Office
County: Garfield
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Ameristar Casinos
Type: Casino
County: Gilpin
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/18/20
Facility: Arrowhead Correctional Facility
Type: Jail
County: Fremont
COVID-19 cases: 2 residents positive, 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Associates in Periodontics
Type: Dentist
County: Larimer
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/16/20
Facility: Avant Garde Aleworks
Type: Restaurant
County: Larimer
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/20/20
Facility: Black Cat Restaurant
Type: Restaurant
County: Boulder
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Boulder County Jail
Type: Jail
County: Boulder
COVID-19 cases: 2 residents positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: City of Englewood Police Department
Type: Law Enforcement
County: Arapahoe
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/20/20
Facility: City of Woodland Park
Type: Office
County: Teller
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive, 2 staff probable

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/15/20
Facility: Colorado State Penitentiary
Type: Prison 
County: Fremont
COVID-19 cases: 24 residents positive, 7 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Crossfire LLC
Type: Oil and Gas
County: La Plata
COVID-19 cases: 4 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/16/20
Facility: Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Type: Hotel
County: Grand
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/15/20
Facility: Elms Haven Center
Type: Nursing Home
County: Adams
COVID-19 cases: 2 residents positive, 1 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/16/20
Facility: Ground Control Concrete
Type: Construction
County: Eagle
COVID-19 cases: 4 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Hobby Lobby
Type: Store
County: Larimer
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/17/20
Facility: Parker Driver License Office
Type: Office
County: Douglas
COVID-19 cases: 5 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/20/20
Facility: Riverdale Rehab and Care Community of Brighton 
Type: Office
County: Adams
COVID-19 cases: 2 residents positive, 1 staff suspected

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/20/20
Facility: Sedgwick County Memorial Nursing Home
Type: Nursing Home
County: Sedgwick
COVID-19 cases: 4 residents positive, 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/16/20
Facility: Target Distribution Warehouse
Type: Warehouse
County: Pueblo
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Tony’s Restaurant Lounge
Type: Restaurant
County: Larimer
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/21/20
Facility: Walmart
Type: Store
County: Larimer
COVID-19 cases: 3 staff positive

Date outbreak confirmed: 07/15/20
Facility: Westone Laboratories
Type: Office
County: El Paso
COVID-19 cases: 2 staff positive

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