Virus Outbreak Colorado Schools

Students head into the building for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic at Garden Place Elementary School Monday, Aug. 23, 2021, in north Denver. All students, visitors and staff are required to wear face coverings while in Denver Public Schools regardless of vaccination status with the start of the school year.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Nearly 3,000 Colorado K-12 students have been infected with COVID-19 in recent outbreaks, new state data shows, as clusters in schools continue to grow.

The number of student infections within the state's 199 school clusters has grown by more than a third since Sept. 29. At that point, 2,240 K-12 children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 in association with the 170 outbreaks that were active then. By Wednesday, that number had grown to 2,997. That's also a 16% increase from Oct. 6, when outbreak data was last updated.

Staff infections from the clusters have grown from 331 on Sept. 29 to 415 last week and 456 cases now. Student cases have grown more than eightfold since Sept. 1, along with a nearly 10-fold spike among staff.

The data does not detail how many students or staff are symptomatic. Nor does it provide information on how many of either group have been hospitalized. Gov. Jared Polis told reporters Wednesday that 19 people under the age of 18 are currently hospitalized in Colorado with COVID-19. Children are less susceptible to severe illness, hospitalization and death than older people.

The outbreaks have grown as students return to school and Colorado experiences an overall spike in cases and hospitalizations. The highest rates of infection amid this fifth pandemic wave is among children and teenagers, officials have said. Juveniles under the age of 12 are currently still not authorized to be vaccinated.

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