No COVID-19 variant found in tests at Loveland nursing home

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Pharmacist Nick Britt administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a staff member at Columbine West Health & Rehab Facility in Fort Collins, Colo. on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.

State health officials found no evidence of the highly contagious U.K. coronavirus variant at North Shore Health and Rehabilitation Center Monday.

The state tested four samples, two from residents and two from staff, after a large spike in COVID-19 cases at the Loveland nursing home. 

Yvonne Myers, director of health systems for Columbine Health, which owns North Shore, said CDPHE had no explanation for the precipitous jump in positive COVID cases at the center, which went from 38 to 110 within a few days. 

Of the 110 cases, 75 were staff members. Only four positive results were being tested for the additional variant with the presumption that if the variant is present in those tests, it will be in the rest. 

Due to the high number of cases among North Shore staff, COVID-negative patients were moved to nearby Columbine West or Centre Avenue facilities for care.

The U.K. variant, first identified in the United Kingdom, showed up in the U.S. in late December in Elbert County. 9News reported that two other cases were found last week. The third confirmed case was discovered at the Veterans Community Living Center at Fitzsimons operated by the Colorado Department of Human Services.  

While not more deadly than the disease that has spread across the nation, the variant is considered to be more contagious than previously identified strains.

Pat Ferrier is a senior reporter covering business, health care and growth issues in Northern Colorado. Contact her at patferrier@coloradoan.com. Please support her work and that of other Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.