A coronavirus piñata at a vaccine event in Henderson on Feb. 26, 2021. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

DENVER — Health officials in Colorado say virus outbreaks have increased this week, reaching a total last seen in February, with the most outbreaks reported in schools and nursing homes.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said there were 722 active COVID-19 outbreaks as of Wednesday, The Denver Post reported Thursday.

An outbreak is at least two confirmed cases linked to the same location or event. Outbreaks are declared over after four weeks with no new infections.

Compared with last week, K-12 schools reported 18 more COVID-19 outbreaks and nursing homes reported 13 more outbreaks, health officials said. Manufacturing facilities, offices and restaurants and assisted living facilities also saw an increase in outbreaks.

Long-term care facilities reported 69 active virus outbreaks in Colorado, with 52 of them found since April 1. Nursing home residents were among the first to be offered vaccines, but not everyone took the shot. Some unvaccinated residents may have also moved in since vaccination efforts began.

As of Thursday, about 1.6 million Coloradans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19.


The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Cases and deaths in Colorado.
  • TESTINGHere’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • VACCINE HOTLINE: Get up-to-date information.


Officials said schools reported 90 active virus outbreaks, with majority of them being small. Only seven outbreaks involve 20 or more confirmed COVID-19 cases. It is not immediately clear how many teachers are fully vaccinated.

Health officials also said 613 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infections as of Wednesday, 100 more than a week earlier. But officials warn it is too early to see a pattern. That number dropped to 551 on Thursday.

The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases continued trending down Wednesday, while the percentage of positive tests remained high, indicating the state isn’t detecting some infections.

More than 43% of Colorado’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 25% of the population is fully vaccinated.