CSU Fraternity House And Student Athletes Are Among New Colorado Coronavirus Outbreaks

Canvas Stadium Colorado State University CSU
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Canvas Stadium at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, May 27, 2020.

Both a fraternity house and a group of student athletes at Colorado State University are among the new COVID-19 outbreaks reported this week by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. 

A spokesperson with CSU confirmed that seven residents of the Kappa Sigma fraternity house tested positive for COVID-19. One of the fraternity brothers had close contact with a CSU staff member who contracted the disease.

At least eight student athletes have also tested positive for the disease, and an additional nine athletes are suspected of having COVID-19 and are awaiting test results.

The CSU football team announced Wednesday night that they were suspending "team activities" after eight players tested positive for COVID-19. The school now plans to test all football players by the beginning of next week.

CSU Athletic Director Joe Parker said in a statement that the school would be cautious with its approach to the virus.

"We will always put the health and safety of our student-athletes and community first, " Parker said. "And while we are disappointed to see this spread occur within our program, we remain encouraged for the continued collaboration we have experienced with our University's Pandemic Preparedness Team, local, county, and state health officials."

CDPHE reported both outbreaks in its weekly outbreak list released Wednesday. The athletics outbreak was first detected on July 21 and fraternity outbreak on July 23.

"The university has a public health office that immediately conducted robust contact tracing for these positive cases,” a CSU spokesperson wrote in an email. "The university also works closely and quickly with county health departments when positive cases are identified that impact our community. We took immediate steps to quarantine and isolate individuals who were impacted by these positive cases."

CSU, like most other major colleges and universities in the state, plans to reopen for in-person learning in the fall. While the university will be automatically notified by the Larimer County health department of positive cases among students within its on-campus housing, fraternities and sororities reside in off-campus houses that are not overseen by the university. 

The outbreaks at CSU come during a time of upheaval for education institutions across the state as they weigh whether or not to resume in-person learning in the fall.

Most public school districts have said they plan to reopen at least partially for in-person learning, spurring, in some cases, a backlash from parents and teachers concerned about COVID-19 outbreaks. Denver Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, announced Wednesday that it would delay in-person learning for most students through at least mid-October.

While college athletic programs are planning to resume in the fall, the fate of high school sports in Colorado is still being determined. The Colorado High School Activities Association submitted a plan to resume all sports for the 2020-2021 season, but is awaiting approval from the state health department and the governor. The details of that plan have not been released.

While awaiting a final decision on the fall sports season, some high school sports programs have resumed summer practices. Even with distancing procedures in place, not all have managed to avoid the coronavirus. 

The Colorado Academy, a private school in Lakewood, had to shut down its summer athletic camps temporarily in early July after 27 COVID-19 cases were linked to the camp.

The Poudre School District in Fort Collins also shut down its summer programs until the end of July after two students at two different schools tested positive for COVID-19. This week, the state reported cases among three staff members in the football program at Fleming High School in Logan County.

Large events have also come under scrutiny this week after a concert and rodeo in Weld County on Sunday drew more than 2,000 people, greatly exceeding the state’s limits on large events.

Though it is too soon to tell if the concert will lead to an outbreak of COVID-19, a family bible camp held by the Colorado Springs-based Andrew Wommack Ministries also violated the state’s capacity limits and has now been linked to at least 39 cases among staff and attendees, according to CDPHE. 

New COVID-19 outbreaks for the week of July 29

There were 17 new outbreaks reported by CDPHE this week.

The agency defines an outbreak as two or more cases detected in a two-week period within a facility or surrounding an event.

In addition to the fraternity house and the football team, the other outbreaks included three elder care facilities, three restaurants, two offices, two childcare centers, a horseshoeing company, a garbage collection company, a dentist, a manufacturing facility and a construction site.

Note: Though the CSU athletics outbreak was reported this week, it occurred last week and is not included in this list.

NameDate outbreak confirmedType of facilityCountyCOVID-19 Cases
Alpine Living Center 07/24/20 Elder CareAdams6 residents positive, 5 staff positive
AmeriGas07/24/20 OfficeLarimer5 staff positive, 1 staff probable
Be Quick Horseshoeing07/27/20 Animal ServiceLarimer2 staff positive
Bethesda Lutheran Caley07/27/20 Elder CareArapahoe3 residents positive, 1 staff positive, 1 staff probable
Bunting Disposal07/28/20Garbage CollectionWeld2 staff positive
Center at Northridge07/28/20Elder CareAdams4 residents positive
Cradle to Crayons07/28/20Child CareJefferson2 staff positive, 1 staff probable, 2 attendees
CSU Kappa Sigma Fraternity07/23/20Fraternity HousingLarimer7 residents positive, 1 CSU employee positive
Fleming football 07/24/20Youth Sports TeamLogan3 staff positive
Gunnison McDonalds07/23/20RestaurantGunnison3 staff positive, 3 staff probable
Jabil Healthcare07/28/20OfficeEl Paso6 staff positive
Kids Corner07/27/20Child Care CenterEl Paso2 staff positive
Q3 Contracting Inc/Primoris Services Corporation07/24/20Construction SiteAdams3 staff positive
Quickrete07/28/20ManufacturingAdams6 staff positive, 1 staff probable
Smile Dentistry07/27/20DentistEl Paso5 staff positive
Starbucks07/23/20RestuarantLarimer3 staff positive, 1 staff probable
Wendy's07/28/20RestaurantDouglas3 staff positive