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Coronavirus deaths at Colorado nursing homes continue to grow; outbreaks at jails, prisons, meat plants worsen

The state is reporting 634 deaths among nursing home and senior care center residents, representing 61% of the state's total fatalities

The Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, where there have been 18 confirmed coronavirus deaths and there are four other fatalities that is considered linked to the disease. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Coronavirus-linked deaths among residents of Colorado nursing homes and senior care centers continue to drive fatalities in the state, reaching 634 through Wednesday afternoon. 

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

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That represents 61% of the 1,032 total deaths in Colorado attributed to the disease and compares with 529 deaths as of one week ago. 

More than 2,300 residents of the facilities have confirmed or probable infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 

Staff members at nursing homes and senior care centers have also seen high rates of infection. More than 1,800 had confirmed or probable cases. At least one staffer has died. 

Gov. Jared Polis has made protecting the facilities from the disease one of his top priorities. He has enacted a host of policies aimed at keeping the virus from entering and spreading through them. 

Yet the number of deaths and infections continue to rise, underscoring the difficulty of protecting the facilities from the disease.

MORE: See a chart of all the affected nursing homes and how many infections and deaths they’ve had.

Some of the hardest hit nursing homes and senior care centers include:

  • The Cherry Creek Nursing Center in Aurora, where there have been 26 confirmed coronavirus deaths and there are six other fatalities that are considered probably linked to the disease.
  • The Eben Ezer Lutheran Care Center in Morgan County, where there have been 19 confirmed coronavirus deaths and there is one other fatality that is considered linked to the disease

Other hard-hit facilities include the Harvard Square Retirement Community in Denver, where 14 residents have died from coronavirus. The Holly Heights health care facility in Denver has reported 12 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and two more fatalities that are suspected of being tied to the disease.

There have been 10 confirmed deaths from the coronavirus at Columbine Manor Care Center in Salida and two other fatalities are considered likely linked to the disease.

Seven residents have died from the coronavirus at Broomfield Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, one of the state’s largest nursing homes. 

The Colorado National Guard was sent in to test asymptomatic residents and staff at the facility as a preemptive measure before any cases were identified there. It has now become one of the hardest-hit nursing homes in the state. 

Other outbreaks worsen

Outbreaks of the disease at Colorado prisons and jails are also on the rise.

The Sterling Correctional Facility, a 2,500-inmate prison in northeast Colorado, has 440 inmates who have tested positive. Two inmates have died from the virus

The Crowley County Correctional Facility, a private prison east of Pueblo, has seen 37 inmates test positive for coronavirus.

MORE: Coronavirus outbreak revealed at private Colorado prison; second inmate death reported

The disease also has been detected among prisoners in jails in Denver, Weld, Jefferson and Douglas counties. 

At Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, also known as the downtown jail, at least 183 inmates have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Jefferson County’s jail has had 22 confirmed and eight probable inmate coronavirus cases. One inmate with a confirmed case has died. 

Denver’s Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, also known as the downtown jail, photographed on March 18, 2019. At least 183 inmates at the facility have tested positive for the coronavirus. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

Outbreaks of the virus are also being tracked at a host of Colorado businesses. Among them are a pizza restaurant in Telluride, a bakery for Whole Foods in Arapahoe County, and a City Market in Summit County.  

The food-related sites on the outbreak list include:

  • JBS meat-packing plant in Weld County, 321 cases and seven deaths
  • Leprino Foods in Fort Morgan, 87 cases
  • Cargill Meat Solutions, Morgan County, 75 cases and three deaths
  • Co Premium, meat plant in Denver, 14 cases
  • King Soopers Bakery in Denver, 31 cases and one death
  • Leprino Foods in Greeley, 21 cases
  • Empire Meats, a Denver processing plant, 20 cases
  • Custom Made Meals, Adams County, 20 cases
  • City Market, Summit County, 17 cases
  • Prairie Dog Treats/Antlers, a dog food company in Montrose, 11 cases 
  • Del Monte, Adams County, 17 cases
  • DPI Speciality Foods, Adams County, nine cases and one death
  • Colorado Mushroom Farm, Alamosa, 18 cases
  • Green Chef-Hello Fresh, Arapahoe County, 14 cases
  • Costco Wholesale, Arapahoe County, six cases
  • Culinaire Foods, frozen food company in Denver County, 14 cases
  • Aurora Organic Dairy, Weld County, seven cases and one death
  • Rocky Mountain Bakehouse, Arapahoe County, eight cases
  • Carniceria Sonora, grocery in Montrose County, seven cases
  • Brown Dog Pizza, San Miguel County, four cases
  • Anheuser-Busch distribution center, Adams County, five cases
  • Chick-fil-A, Adams County, two cases
  • Safeway Distribution Center, Denver, six cases and one death
  • Walmart, Arapahoe County, 14 cases and three deaths

Colorado receives 100 doses of experimental drug

State officials also announced Wednesday that they received an initial shipment of the experimental antiviral drug, remdesivir — enough to treat 100 people.

The drug, sent by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and which has shown early promise, was given to eight hospital systems across the state. 

The supply was distributed in proportion to the number of coronavirus cases at each hospital system, according to a news release from the state health department. 

Remdesivir has been associated with faster recovery of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization for those patients, and pharmaceutical lab Gilead Sciences plans to produce 607,000 vials of the drug in the next six weeks. 

Rising Sun