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New confirmed virus cases tied to Colorado retail locations

Spaces for social distancing are marked at Vail’s Gondola One Wednesday, July 1. Signs are prevalent showing proper social distancing practices due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

DENVER (AP) — As nursing home infections decrease, Colorado health officials say more people are contracting COVID-19 in retail locations, such as stores and restaurants.

Outbreaks in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and group homes contributed to a high death toll in March and April, but the state Department of Public Health and Environment reported that there was only one new outbreak in such a facility in the last week of June, The Denver Post reported.

An outbreak is declared when there are two or more confirmed COVID-19 cases in a facility within a 14-day period, officials said. Multiple retailers have experienced outbreaks, including six King Soopers stores, a number of fast food outlets such as McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A, and big box stores such as Walmart, Costco and Home Depot.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

State health department spokesman Ian Dickson argued that the number of outbreaks could reflect a combination of workplaces reopening and increased testing.

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Colorado is currently experiencing a two-week increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, officials said. Democratic Gov. Jared Polis ordered bars and nightclubs to close again this week following the increase.

Six people died from complications caused by COVID-19 since June 24, the state’s smallest increase in deaths since reports began in April, health officials said. Colorado has had 956 virus-related deaths.

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