Colorado to stop reporting most COVID-19 outbreaks
In a major blow to transparency, Gov. Jared Polis' administration is no longer reporting detailed data about COVID-19 outbreaks to the public.
Driving the news: Effective Wednesday, the state will only report outbreaks in high-risk settings, such as nursing homes, child care facilities and prisons, putting COVID-19 in line with tracking for the flu.
- Outbreaks in other settings won't need to be reported to the state, and the information published will no longer include active case counts, county-level data or breakdowns by area.
Why it matters: The outbreak data — posted weekly to a state website — is a key tool for tracking COVID-19 in Colorado, helping the public gauge risk in different settings.
- This decision coincides with the most infectious Omicron variant's quick spread in Colorado.
- It also comes just ahead of the new school year, even though classrooms are the starting point for the most outbreaks.
The big picture: The Democratic governor declared the pandemic emergency "over" last July, and his administration released a plan to "normalize" COVID-19 in February.
- Throughout the pandemic, Polis' administration touted its COVID-19 transparency, saying that Colorado reported more data than nearly all other states.
- Now the administration says this is unnecessary.
What they're saying: Kristen Stewart, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, tells Axios Denver that the state is "prioritizing providing the information that is most useful to the public while aligning with more traditional disease surveillance."
By the numbers: From the start of the pandemic through July 6, Colorado tracked more than 9,300 COVID-19 outbreaks, with nearly 193,000 confirmed cases and 3,200 deaths, an Axios Denver data analysis finds.
- About 3,800 outbreaks — counting more than 100,000 cases and 400 deaths — have occurred since July 8, 2021, when the governor declared the pandemic over.
What to watch: More than 560 outbreaks are currently active with a collective 24,000 cases, we found.
- The majority are at schools, assisted living facilities and jails, but the number reported at workplaces is increasing as more people return to the office.
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