Colorado health officials on Saturday revised the state’s coronavirus fatality numbers, decreasing by two the number of people who have died from complications of the COVID-19 respiratory disease.
On Friday, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported a statewide total of 674 deaths as it tallied older cases that had not yet been added to the state database.
But that number dropped to 672 on Saturday, with health officials saying that when they entered old data into the system, there were 29 duplicates, which now have been removed.
The state health department announced Thursday that COVID-19 fatalities would be higher as officials tally previously unreported deaths. Deaths related to the new coronavirus were expected to jump by 130 this past week as officials review death certificate data for unreported cases, health officials said, noting that these deaths did not all occur this past week, but were only just now entered into the state’s database.
Of Colorado’s 672 total deaths, 106 are considered “probable” coronavirus deaths, which include people who did not have a lab-confirmed positive test result, but their death certificate lists the cause of death as “COVID-19” or equivalent, the public health department said.
There have been 2,410 people hospitalized since the outbreak was first confirmed in the state last month, but only 834 people were in Colorado hospitals with symptoms of the illness as of Saturday afternoon, state data shows. At least 57 people since Friday either went home or were transferred to a lower level of care, like a rehabilitation facility.
Nearly 13,000 people have tested positive for or are believed to have COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory illness causes by the virus — though health officials have said between 65,000 and 75,000 people in Colorado likely have had the disease.
More than 3,500 people were tested on Friday, the second straight day of substantially increased numbers as officials hurriedly implement more extensive testing around the state.
A day after Weld County officials drew a strong rebuke from Gov. Jared Polis over their plan to allow all businesses to reopen in defiance of the state’s “safer-at-home” guidance, state health officials announced they ramped up testing in that county, which has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths in the state.
The testing began Friday and will run through Tuesday. Officials are conducting 300 tests a day for any Weld County resident with symptoms of COVID-19, the Colorado State Emergency Operations Center said in a news release. Testing at Island Grove Park opens every day 10 a.m. and ends when 300 people have been tested.
The majority of tests will be administered through drive-up lanes, the news release said. No appointment or doctor’s note is necessary, and identification is not required but is recommended for patient intake forms.
Polis said Friday that the National Guard tested 900 people at three nursing homes around the state as health officials try and contain concerning levels of outbreaks at senior living facilities. There were 20 positive or presumed positive test results, officials said, with some results still pending.
There have been 141 outbreaks at contained facilities such as nursing homes, long-term care facilities, factories and jails — seven more than announced the previous day. Deaths at senior living facilities accounted for 64% of the state’s total fatalities related to COVID-19, based on data released Wednesday. But on Saturday, state health officials — who’ve been adding older deaths to the state database this week — said fatalities at such facilities only account for 40% of overall COVID-19 deaths.
The state health department announces new totals daily of coronavirus deaths and confirmed cases based on what’s reported up from Colorado’s counties; though the deaths and positive test results may be announced on a particular day, they may have occurred any time in the past and are just now being reported to the state.
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