Colorado schools, prisons among active COVID-19 outbreaks

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DENVER (AP) — Health officials in Colorado have reported a record-breaking 274 active coronavirus outbreaks this week at schools, restaurants, churches and other facilities across the state.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said the previous record high mark was set last week with 236 active outbreaks, and before that there were more than 200 in early June, The Denver Post reported.

Department health officials have said an outbreak is when two or more cases are linked to the same location or event within two weeks. An outbreak is considered over when four weeks have passed with no new cases.

The largest ongoing outbreaks are predominantly concentrated in universities and prisons, officials said. There are about 1,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases at the University of Colorado Boulder, 676 cases at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in Denver, 635 cases and three deaths at the Sterling Correctional Facility and 375 cases at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

The university outbreaks include previously reported cases linked to fraternities, dormitories and athletic teams, officials said.

Colorado tied the record of 967 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases on Monday, increasing concerns over hospital capacity in the coming weeks as the state's test positivity rate surpassed the 5% benchmark, officials said. There have been 119 new outbreaks in October, averaging 11 cases and one death each.

In March, each outbreak averaged more than 40 cases and seven deaths, which health officials claim in part was because they were in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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