BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — State health officials attributed a rise in COVID-19 cases to college students on Tuesday. The recent increase in Boulder prompted the county’s health department to recommend a modified quarantine for every student at the University of Colorado’s flagship campus.
Every CU Boulder student is being asked to quarantine for 14 days with exceptions for essential activities like going to class or getting food. Public gatherings, however, should not be happening.
In the last week, six university or college-based outbreaks have been reported to state epidemiologists. Colorado’s top epidemiologist, Dr. Rachel Herlihy, expects that number to double by the end of this week.
Herlihy described the increase among college aged individuals as substantial during a virtual press conference with Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday.
“This is a trend that is also being seen nationwide,” Herlihy said.
Meanwhile, Colorado has moved from a declining hospitalization rate to a stabilized rate with an upward trend.
“This indicates the potential that we could be entering into a growth phase of cases once again in the state,” Herlihy said.
Current social distancing estimates are hovering around 65 percent in Colorado, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Health officials said social distancing adherence has been drifting downward as people become more complacent.
“These are concerning trends,” Polis said. “Not terribly surprising given Labor Day weekend … given colleges resuming.”
Polis is calling on all Coloradans to do their part — especially college students who are tempted to party.
“There’s no such thing as a super-spreader person,” Polis said. “There is such thing as a person at a super-spreader event … that it goes from one person to 50 people or 80 people.”
CU Boulder posted 77 new positive cases reported from Monday for a cumulative total of 385 cases since Aug. 24.
CU administrators said if a student hosts or attends a party that violates public health orders, he or she could be excluded from campus for two weeks and placed on probation. Repeat offenders could face suspension for at least one semester.
University and public health officials in Boulder County are planning a virtual press conference for Wednesday morning to talk about the spike in cases and the modified quarantine recommendation for every CU student.