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The number of COVID-19 cases at Larimer and Weld county nursing homes continues to grow along with the death toll.
New data released Wednesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment shows outbreaks at three Larimer County nursing homes with 28 positive cases and 28 probable cases. Two other facilities in the county have one case, which is not considered to be an outbreak, according to the state’s definition.
The state defines an outbreak as two or more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a facility or group (but not households) within 14 days.
The majority of cases remain at North Shore Health and Rehab in Loveland, the first facility to report a positive case and the first death from coronavirus in Larimer County.
According to the state, North Shore now has 22 confirmed cases among patients and another 20 probable resident cases. Fourteen residents have died, according to the state data. Seven of the deaths have lab-confirmed ties to COVID-19, while seven others are listed as probably related to coronavirus.
Nine staff members at North Shore have tested positive for coronavirus, while another nine cases among staff members are listed as probable.
Yvonne Myers, health systems director at Columbine Health Systems, which owns North Shore, disputed the state’s data Wednesday evening.
Myers said six residents have died, 18 have tested positive and nine employees have tested positive; 28 tested negative. She said it was unclear what the state considered “probable” positive cases or deaths.
According to data released last week by the state, the facility had 17 confirmed resident cases, six probable resident cases, seven confirmed employee cases and seven probable employee cases. Only one death had a confirmed link to COVID-19 last week with two other deaths listed as probably related.
The virus has been contained in one unit of North Shore. “Today is day 44 for North Shore,” Myers said. “We feel like that facility is over the hump. We’ve done a lot of good, hard work there.”
Myers said she will be asking the state for clarification on its data.
Last week, she said the average age of the residents who died from the virus was 92.
Columbine’s Lemay Avenue Health and Rehab center has two positive cases and five probable cases among residents but no reported deaths, according to the state. State data shows one confirmed employee case with another 11 listed as probable.
Myers said there have been two positive and 18 negative tests at the Lemay facility.
Sister facility, Columbine Commons in Weld County, has two positive cases and six probable cases among residents and three confirmed staff cases, according to the state data.
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Nursing homes house a particularly vulnerable population of older adults often with underlying health conditions. Weld County nursing homes have been hardest hit by the virus, with an outbreak at Centennial Health Care Center in Greeley showing 17 confirmed deaths and two probable deaths among 38 positive or probable cases among residents and 41 similar cases among staff members. It is the largest death toll among Northern Colorado nursing homes.
Statewide, the data indicates 886 cases at 109 facilities with 247 deaths and more than 600 staff who tested positive for coronavirus.
State data also includes outbreaks at meat processing plants and jails.
JBS meat packing plant in Greeley is listed as having 102 employees with the virus with four who have died. Another outbreak has shown up at the Mountain States Rosen lamb processing plant in Weld County with three employees testing positive for coronavirus, according to the state. Three employees have also tested positive at Aurora Organic Dairy in Platteville.
Colorado adds new safeguards for long-term care facilities
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be required to drastically limit visitors and implement new safeguards to protect their residents as Colorado steps back from the statewide stay-at-home order.
Though much of the state will transition to a “safer at home” reality beginning April 27, Gov. Jared Polis said Monday that vulnerable residents should continue to shelter in place to prevent serious infection and death.
Under an amended public health order released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, all long-term care facilities will be required to submit COVID-19 prevention and response plans to the state no later than May 1. The nine-page template is available on the state health department’s website, covid19.colorado.gov/ltcf.
Those facilities, which include residential care facilities, nursing homes and assisted living residences, will also need to:
- Restrict visitors to essential personnel, defined as vendors providing necessary supplies or services to a facility or “individuals necessary for the physical and/or mental well-being of the resident.” Facilities will be required to post signs about their visitation policies, and also should review how they interact with such visitors and revise policies to prevent potential disease transmission.
- Screen all visitors, employees and visitors for symptoms, documenting each screening and providing that documentation upon request to the state health department.
- Limit essential visitors’ movements to a resident’s room. Visitors must wear personal protective equipment, including a gown, gloves and a mask. Physical contact with the resident will be limited, and visitors must limit surfaces touched within a facility. Only two essential visitors per resident will be allowed at a time.
- Require all residents and employees to wear a mask or face covering when in public. Employees are required to wear a mask “at all times” when in a long-term care facility.
- Make sure all facility residents have access to needed medical care.
If a facility has a suspected, presumptive or confirmed coronavirus patient, visitation will be restricted further, and the facility must:
- Consult with the county’s public health agency, which would be Larimer County Department of Health and Environment for facilities located in Larimer County
- Notify the state health department
- Keep a log of visitors and staff interacting with the isolated patient(s) and be able to identify staff who interacted with them and their environment
- Restrict all group activities within the facility
- Provide another way for those who would normally visit the facility to communicate, such as phone or video conferencing
- Assign staff to be primary contacts for families calling into the facility and regularly call families to update them
- Offer a phone line with a voice recording update of the facility’s operating status, including when it’s safe to resume visitation. That recording should be updated at set times.
Larimer County nursing home cases
North Shore Health and Rehab Facility, 1365 W. 29th St., Loveland: 42 residents who tested positive or who are listed as probable; seven deaths from COVID-19, another seven likely died of COVID-19; seven employees tested positive; seven employees are listed as probable
Residence at Oakridge:, 4750 Wheaton Drive, Fort Collins; seven residents positive or probable; six staff positive or probable
Lemay Avenue Health and Rehab, 4824 S. Lemay Ave., Fort Collins: seven residents positive or probable; 12 staff positive or probable
Sierra Vista, 821 Duffield Court, Loveland, one resident*
Brookdale, 2895 N. Empire Ave., Loveland, one resident*
* Larimer County health department
Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Coloradoan reporter Sarah Kyle contributed to this report.
Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at email@example.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.
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