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DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado’s reopening nightlife relieved the post-lockdown blues, but it did have a cost. Bars and restaurants doubled since May as a percentage of Colorado total COVID-19 outbreak sources and now stand as the state’s second largest.

Inpatient health care facilities still chart the most outbreaks, but most of that comes from COVID-19’s first two months, when non-essential businesses were closed and hospitals had big gluts of patients.

Since reopening, bars and restaurants topped most weeks as source of new outbreaks – defined as two or more confirmed cases in the same place within a two-week window.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment launched a new coronavirus tracking site on Sept. 10. The data – gathered from labs, hospitals and health officials – breaks down Colorado coronavirus statistics by demographics, county, hospital and other information. 

CDPHE lists 13 subgroups of outbreak source “setting type,” from agricultural/food supply to homeless shelters to retail grocery stores.

The state declared 646 total outbreaks between March and the present. Of them, 70% come from five sources – inpatient healthcare facilities, agricultural and food supply, retail grocery, manufacturing and construction, and bars/restaurants/entertainment.

Of that 646, 33% came from inpatient healthcare facilities, 12% from bars and restaurants, and 11% from manufacturing and construction.

Bars and restaurants grew faster and larger than other outbreak source

Gov. Jared Polis allowed Colorado’s eateries and taverns to open on May 25 at 50% capacity. Since then, the share of outbreaks from these places has grown faster than other categories.

In early June, bars and restaurants only represented 6% of the state’s total outbreak sources. By September, that percentage doubled.

This is greater growth than any other category. Since opening, CDPHE has clocked 72 new outbreaks from bars and restaurants, an average of 5.5 per week.

This doesn’t just outpace the new outbreaks from other big categories such as manufacturing and construction, which averaged 4 new outbreaks per week since May 31. It also outpaces inpatient healthcare facilities, which only added 3.5 new outbreaks per week.

Bars and restaurants are the largest source of new outbreaks two months running

Weekly tracking data shows how as inpatient healthcare facilities got their outbreaks under control and nightlife came back online, they switched places as Colorado’s dominant outbreak source.

Inpatient healthcare facilities were the biggest source by far for 12 of the pandemic’s first 14 weeks.

During the week of May 31, there was a shift. More outbreaks started coming from construction and manufacturing, and for one week in May they were the biggest source of new outbreaks.

In ten of the 12 weeks since then, bars and restaurants were the biggest source. They were the single largest source of coronavirus outbreak for both July and August. Inpatient healthcare facilities took second place both months.

The trend breaks in September, which may be good or bad news. So far, September data shows school and daycare outbreaks as 22% – the largest source in the state, beating bars and restaurants for the first time.