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Just one new case of COVID-19 was reported in Chaffee County on Thursday, Oct. 29, but it brought to 27 cases in the past week, with 54 over the past two weeks. Statewide, the numbers have risen by more than 1,500 cases.

There are more than 50 local coronavirus tests still awaiting results, which can take two to five days.

The latest cases also include at least 15 inmates at the Buena Vista Correctional Complex (BVCC), and at least 15 staff members, though numbers from that facility have not been updated.

In the Department of Corrections, (DOC) one fatality was reported this week; that of a 58-year-old inmate at the Fremont County Correctional Facility. The unidentified inmate apparently became ill with suspected COVID-19 on Oct. 14, and was transferred to a Cañon City area hospital, then transferred to Littleton Adventist Hospital, where he died on Oct. 27, according to a DOC press release.

Annie Skinner, Public Information Officer for the DOC, said the department has been conducting regular staff testing over the past several months.

“The Department has also been conducting inmate surveillance testing in order to identify and quarantine those who are positive to mitigate the spread of the virus within facilities. The vast majority of inmates that have tested positive,” she said, “have been asymptomatic or have had very mild symptoms.” These facilities are subject to extensive cleaning multiple times per day, Skinner said, and staff and inmates are required to wear masks.

The DOC dashboard as of Oct. 29 showed 223 total positive tests among inmates at BVCC, and 198 cases recovered. For Fremont County’s facility, there are 474 positive cases listed, with 244 listed as recovered. However, the lack of any precise dates with those numbers makes the data unclear as to the spread of the virus among inmates currently.

In the state tracking of COVID-19 cases, a major error is being corrected. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) recently announced it was adding 1,540 positive cases to its database, due to the omission of some 16,000 ‘test encounters’ that were not included in the reports due to what was called ‘a data processing error.’

That error, termed ‘file formatting issues,’ resulted in test results reported since Oct. 1 from the large Kaiser Permanente system not being included in the CDPHE daily reports.

CDPHE and the Office of Information Technology were manually entering some of the data in two batches. The updating of the data was ongoing through next Monday, the department reported. Some totals have been updated, and the department added an ominous-sounding assessment:

“These additional cases are in line with what public health is seeing across the state. The latest modeling report shows that if Colorado remains on the current trajectory, we will likely exceed the April peak in hospitalizations for COVID-19 by mid-November, which exceeded 900 in one day,” the press release stated.

“Increases in contacts over the holidays will accelerate growth in cases and intensive care unit hospital capacity may be exceeded in December or January. To help stop this trend, Coloradans should avoid gatherings, stay home when they’re sick, wear a mask, wash their hands, and physically distance,” the release said.